Tango Argentino > Why do people give Nuevo Tango a hard time?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Juniper Ivy, Feb 7, 2016.

  1. Tango Distance

    Tango Distance Active Member

    In my little area, if there is alternative music it is generally just a single tanda's worth, and the songs are unrelated. Maybe they feel they have to cram in a Blues song, a ukulele song, and a soft pop hit in a short amount of time and can't afford to anger the Tango community pillars more than 10 minutes worth!
  2. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Any style will. Except Salon.
  3. Omar Maderna

    Omar Maderna Member

    Nuevo gets so much hate cause it is so forgiving for incompetent leaders, and it lends itself to people thinking tango is about collecting "moves" and executing them in an effort to become a better dancer. Tango Nuevo is cool, but I think unless it is learned on a strong foundation of understanding salon and/or "milonguero" principles, it can create a bog of boring dancers who don't know how to embrace, who don't know floorcraft, who don't understand the music, and who don't understand how to -actually- feel the partner to lead.

    So I think some people hate it because it does a disservice to people who are not going to try to discover what is beyond Tango Nuevo by co-opting the tango name. Missé does a pretty good job explaining this in a youtube interview i saw (forget exactly where); to paraphrase, he says he respects nuevo, but it is its own thing, and its not really tango.

    I started with tango nuevo, and I am eternally grateful that it introduced me to tango, but it really is limiting in terms of connection and musicality in ways I did not fully understand until I got deep into this ****, and studying music and history. I still have a lot to learn.

    A helpful parallel to draw in order to understand the hate Nuevo gets is the relationship between American Ballroom Tango and Tango proper (which for this argument I include Nuevo, Salon, and Milonguero).

    If you love Nuevo, as I once did, and you see a video of Ballroom tango, you would never think that those dancers are connected, are feeling the music, are appreciating and respecting tango's history and culture. Ballroom Tango is sort of the most egregious form of cultural appropriation, taking the name of a dance and of a culture, redefining (both sanitizing and mutilating) tango under alien system of aesthetics (northern european or wherever).

    A Nuevo dancer will laugh at them, and would hate it if that is all that people thought of when they heard the word, "Tango". Likewise, salon and milonguero dancers hate it that Nuevo is what people think of when they think of "Argentine Tango" - it feels disrespectful, as Ballroom Tango so clearly co-opts/appropriates a cultural artifact of a people; and now that I've been in this dance longer, I understand why many tango dancers feel this way.
  4. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi Omar, I try not to judge on any sort of tango around, as far as those stylists should celebrate it with passion, love and intensity. For me tango is a wide family and the borders blur into nuevo, neo, contact, standard, american, canyengue, orillero, fantasía, stage, club, salón, confitería, centro, ...
  5. Omar Maderna

    Omar Maderna Member

    Hi opendoor,

    ok, i have no idea what a lot of those names of styles mean. (neo, contact, standard, orillero, club, confiteria, centro) Can you explain them to me?

    But really, man? You really think American Ballroom Tango is/should be called tango? I do not see it, like at all. I have a physical, visceral negative reaction when I watch it, and I ask to myself, "When will it stop?" It is like seeing something you love twisted, degenerated, mutated, and exploited for the sake of making some money. I respect the people who put their time and heart into it, I don't wanna hurt nobody's feelings or nothing, I just know when I see it danced, it literally makes me want to vomit.

    I think as humans we can't help but judge, and there isn't anything wrong with judging, as long as you don't let it turn you into a butthole. I always judge people's styles, their dance, in an effort to figure out whether it would be fun dancing with them.

    I think most dancers are like this, but i also get that some people honestly don't judge (like buddhist monks) and dance with everybody equally.

    I agree people ought to do what they love, but like where do we draw the line?

    Respectfully and sincerely yours,

    Omar Maderna
  6. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Reminds me of a joke from the world of painters
    "I decided to commit suicide if by 30 I was not a 2nd Picasso. At 29 though I realized that Picasso was an overestimated fraud."

    Otherwise, no and no.
    As for collecting moves, the late Orlando Paiva stated he created 160+ moves. Quite a collection, uh?
    As for unforgiveness, with other styles, at worst the lady will do nothing.
  7. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I tried not to type milonguero style, or close embrace, or apilado, not to open another can of worms. Neo = Naveira, Frumboli; Contacttango = Crossover of Neo and Contactimpro; Orillero = Canyengue with figures; Club = Milonguero style with figures (the prevailling style in sports clubs in BsAs of the 50s); Confiteria = how the decent guys used to dance in the Cafés of BsAs; Estilo del centro = of downtown BsAs; ..
    Being polite: both styles got a common ancestor (being unpolite: ballroom tango influcenced argentine tango in the beginnings to a higher degree than it was the other way round). By the way, the ballroomers currently discuss something similar.
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  8. Omar Maderna

    Omar Maderna Member

    I am sorry, I do not understand your painter joke and how it relates to the discussion.

    Orlando Paiva dances beautifully! (I just looked him up on youtube, thank you for this name.) But I don't see what his stating that he created 160+ moves has to do with my assertion that nuevo lends itself to the move-collecting mindset. IMO Nuevo leads people to think of tango in moves, not in walking and connection and the other stuff that is necessary in order to make the union look and feel profound (my opinion, of course).

    I disagree that at worst the lady will do nothing; she could compensate for his lack of leading, and that can lead to the erosion of roles that make fundamentally distinguish tango as a dance.

    Thank you again for showing me that name, super cool!
  9. itwillhappen

    itwillhappen Active Member

    Someone who's dancing Contact Improvisation might think that Tango Argentino consists of quite restrictive limitations, just to allow even untalented bums an easy and stable chest connection while walking counterclockwise through a room with minimal effort. ;)
  10. Omar Maderna

    Omar Maderna Member

    Damn those post-modern, free-verse writin', ayahuasca-drinking contact improvisationalists!!!
    itwillhappen likes this.
  11. Omar Maderna

    Omar Maderna Member

    Thanks for your explanations, it gives me more of an idea... though I still do not think i understand differences between many of these. :) My job to research!

    I do not understand why you said, Being polite and Being unpolite... ? Are you stating these phrases in order to soften the imagined blow on your part that your knowledge is about to bestow on me? Please do not worry about hurting my feelings! Being corrected and proved wrong is a distinguishing honor among colleagues and civilized people in pursuit of wisdom and true knowledge. :)

    It is definitely a worthy point to recognize the incredible influence that European culture had in developing the dance known as Argentine Tango that we know and love today, I do not dispute this.

    What I dispute is the name "Tango" and who gets to "own" it; Ballroom style with heads tilted back and rose in mouth, or Argentine tango with heads and neck relaxed. I merely suggest that because of elements in that dance that I find ugly and so far outside the realm of tango dance as I understand it, and many other people of the culture -from where it originated[whom i think should have a say]-, i think it is something else. That is all.

    Why did you say "Agreed" in response to "... where do we draw the line?"

  12. Omar Maderna

    Omar Maderna Member

    Also, thank you opendoor for that link to that interesting conversation in ballroom.

    opendoor likes this.
  13. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Do I think it should be called tango? No.

    However, that is what it's called (American tango or Ballroom tango), so in the US, we just deal with it.
    Omar Maderna and raindance like this.
  14. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Around where I frequent, neotango typically refers to the music (alternative music that was written for tango), and nuevo (or tango nuevo) typically refers to the dance.
    opendoor likes this.
  15. oldtangoguy

    oldtangoguy Active Member

    Yay. Essentially ALL of the nuevo "moves" can be danced small and generally in a close embrace. Even a soltata which remains within the leader's frame can be extremely small. Certainly back sacadas, colgadas, volcadas, and even linear boleos, can be kept within the leader's frame. I think that some of the complaints are simply because nuevo breaks the rules, it's not the way tango is supposed to be danced.
  16. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I feel the same way when I see someone abuse English grammar.

    As for the original question, there is value in Nuevo as it brings in people who are attracted to that music. Hopefully, they eventually learn to enjoy traditional music as well. The fact is, some people are wired to appreciate learning and perfecting the nuances of the dance, and others just want to be flashy and show off moves and can't be bothered with learning connection and technique because they think it's boring. I guess then the question is, is it better to have those people in the dance, paying their class and milonga fees, or not at all? After all, it costs money to run a studio/venue. In some cases, they are valued members of the community. In others, they're a menace. But is it truly the music to blame, or the person? Are there no traditional tango dancers who are obnoxious floor hogs?

    I enjoy nuevo as its own thing. I like the music. Every once in a while, I like to cut loose and do a big, showy dance as long as there's room and I have a good leader. However, I was taught the traditional way first and have that foundation to draw upon. I generally do prefer a quiet, introspective dance where the world melts away and it's just my partner and me creating something beautiful together. When I dance with someone who does not have that foundation, I don't enjoy it as much. I do feel traditional tango music is better to dance to, but I like a mix during the evening--even if it's more heavily weighted toward traditional.
  17. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I feel guilty at once, please help me with the grammar !!
  18. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Why the cap, by the way?
  19. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Regarding grammar... all non native English users are exempt for grammar "abuse" in my book.
    Just this weekend I was speaking with a woman from Germany who apologized for her lack of English vocabulary. (Not at all I assured her. And her English was quite good, much better than I've even done in any of the languages I've studied.) As I continue to try to learn some small bits of other languages, I find that I am still limited to a knowledge that won't even allow basic conversations even after hundreds of hours of study.

    And regarding why Nuevo dancers often have a bad reputation...
    I had the chance to go through old (30s-60s) issues of Dance magazine, and there was a one page item of jitterbugs who only want you to watch them do their tricks and if you got in their way and were injured, well, too bad.
    Maybe there were fox trotters, waltzers, etc who also hogged the dance floor, but there you go.
    tangotime likes this.
  20. ArbeeNYC

    ArbeeNYC Member

    What exactly is a "nuevo" tanda? At some milongas locally, there are separate rooms for "nuevo" but they play everything but tango music.

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