Below are a few of my favorite video clips, some gorgeous, some goofy. (Just a sampling, or this page would circle the planet.) I didn’t duplicate the clips I like in Greg’s Favorite Tango Dancers & Instructors or in The Development of Tango. Note: links are shown in red. – Gery
Fernanda Ghi & Guillermo Merlo
Fernanda Ghi and Guillermo Merlo are one of my all time fave couples – absolute sweethearts and romantically exotic performers. He looks a bit like Antonio Banderas, she looks like a cross between Audrey Hepburn and Penelope Cruz – heck, they don’t even have to move and you can’t take your eyes off them. Fernanda sometimes does this little tush wiggle thing that looks just like a cat getting ready to pounce, purrfect. (I took that photo.)
This snippet shows what can be done with a scarf as an all-purpose accessory: Fernanda Ghi & Guillermo Merlo – Nora’s Tango Week 2008. And I just absolutely love this milonga – major tush wiggling: Fernanda Ghi & Guillermo Merlo - Tango Celebration 2010 - 8.
Carlos Gavito & Marcela Duran
No one call pull off a one-second-shy-of-an-orgasm expression like Marcela, and no man ever had quite the same sexual intensity as Gavito. One night when we were hanging out at Il Bistro after a Forever Tango performance, he told me (could be just a story, but it’s a good one) that when Marcela auditioned with him, the dancing was so hot they ended up on the floor. He told her they could be dancers or lovers, but not both, and she had to choose. Thank God she chose dance. This is what the vertical expression of a horizontal desire looks like when it stays vertical against all odds. Talk about get a room: Carlos Gavito & Marcela Duran – A Evaristo Carriego.
Jorge Nel & Milena
No one can hold a candle to Jorge Nel when it comes to milonga, as far as I’m concerned. He is so frisky, so inventive with his choreography, and his sense of humor has everyone smiling. I don’t know what the Spanish equivalent is of joie de vivre, but he has it in spades, and his partner is no slouch either in the perky fancy footwork department: Jorge Nel & Milena – Portland Valentango 2010.
Dani “El Flaco” Garcia & Luna Palacios
Okay, I lied. Someone can indeed hold a candle to Jorge, and that is Dani Garcia, another old master. (His nickname is El Flaco – means skinny, lean, lanky – very apt description.) Michelle Badion and I hung out with him and Carlos Gavito one very late evening in Buenos Aires (girls’ night out for many nights woohoo). He told us that the chest connection was the most important thing in the dance; when he asked me onto the floor later I made sure I was the human equivalent of superglue. Here he is with Luna Palacios doing a kick-ass milonga that sounds muy latino: Dani Garcia & Luna Palacios. She’s no slouch either, wicked footwork. Just another tanguera I wannabe.
Pedro “El Indio” Benavente
If there were such a thing as tango currency, El Indio’s profile would be on the gold coin. Cheekbones for days, long dark curly hair, to-die-for dance shoes with wicked heels – he has this gaucho look and strong style that I love to watch. It just doesn’t get any better eye-candy-wise. I took that photo (in 1999; they have different partners now).
El Indio does an al fresco tango show (part lecture, part dance) on Sundays in San Telmo Square in Buenos Aires. He and his partner can take absolutely huge steps, so their performances are very dynamic, bordering on wild, but they are still in a strong tango embrace. Wish I still had that much energy. Greg and I took a lesson from him when we were there in 2008 (and workshops a decade earlier in Seattle). Here he and his partner are dancing a parody of show tango: Pedro “El Indio” Benavente at Plaza Dorrego, Bs As – April 2008.
Los Hermanos Macana
You wouldn’t think watching two guys (brothers, actually) would be so entertaining. Note how they switch off on the lead, and do really remarkable moves. Synchronization is impressive, too. I especially like Los Hermanos Macana Tango New York Times Square.
Michelle Badion & Vladimir Pino
Michelle Badion and her partner Vladimir Pino ruined some perfectly good tango shoes dancing in the sheet fountain by the Seattle Opera House, but the effect was worth it, I think. Big watery sweeps under the changing lights look great. I took this Fountain Tango video on Michelle’s iPhone.
Michelle has produced 18 Tango Cabarets in Seattle since 1999, featuring internationally famous dancers and some impressive local talent. A couple of numbers that I’m hoping to link to soon are quite funny, some are jaw-droppers, and one even made me get all teary-eyed. The MC of the cabaret in 2009 (Everything I Need to Know I Learned at the Milonga) was author Robert Fulghum (of Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten fame), who got hooked on Argentine tango awhile back and has a book about tango coming out soon (see Tango Books). He met his new wife, Willow Bader, through Michelle (another tango romance!) – Willow’s fabulous artwork graces many of Michelle’s cabaret posters (see Tango Art). I’ve done the graphic design for several of her posters, and taken a few of the pix. Don’t miss any of Michelle’s cabarets!
Greg’s daughter Sara has been dancing Argentine tango since her teens. She now teaches Argentine tango, ballroom dances, and yoga. (She is currently in Buenos Aires teaching West Coast Swing.) Here she is dancing at Seattle City Hall: Sara Thomsen – Tango Music Video – Team Awesome Seattle.
Tango En Vie, Sara’s dance troupe in Seattle, Washington, just released a tango film short set in Seattle’s lovely old Union Street Train Station. A masterpiece, and I’d hate to think I’m biased. See for yourself: The Train Station. Sara choreographed and directed this piece. Isn’t that a fantastic photo? I did not take it; will tell you who did as soon as I find out.
(And here’s a station tango for real: Tango at the Central train station of Antwerp.)
Greg Thomsen & Patty Leverett
Sooner or later everyone who dances tango wants to try it on top of a bar or a table or – in this case – some rock art in chi chi Kirkland, Washington. The crazy people – in this case – are my handsome husband and his fabulous performance partner (who actually lives in Kirkland). Check out their impromptu footwork risking life and ankles: Greg Thomsen & Patty Leverett – Tango On The Rocks, 2011.
I love this street tango, the denim miniskirt, the graffiti on the walls, the sexual intensity, and that they pulled it off in the daylight. I used to wear a skirt that short, back when both my legs took up the space of one of my legs now. I really like the raw power they bring to this piece. Get a room. Gallo Ciego – Romina Levin and Claudio Villagra – Midnight Tango.
Veloz and Yolanda
Okay, this isn’t really Argentine tango; it’s tango gone to Europe and then on to the U.S., but this is not typical ballroom tango by any stretch. This couple combines elegance and slinky sensuality (she does wonders with her upper body), grace and acrobatics. Watch this and then watch the intro dance in the Forever Tango show; now you know where the FT choreography got its inspiration. There are other clips of this couple on YouTube – you won’t regret watching them all, but here’s my top pick: Veloz & Yolanda – Cobra Tango from Under the Pampas Moon, 1935.
It’s Never Too Early to Learn Argentine Tango!
Check out my 12-year-old nephew Kenzie Wilson after one lesson (he was visiting us from Toronto, Canada). If only he hadn’t been sidetracked by cooking and computer programming, he’d be on Dancing with the Stars by now, and doing the Argentine tango properly. Look at him do those ganchos! And that corte! Kenzie Wilson – age 12 – Argentine Tango Lesson Demo – July 2005.
But if you think 12 is young, how about since conception? Stani Vlasseva and Valentin Razmov started taking lessons with us when they were just a happy couple, and they kept tangoing right through Stani’s pregnancy. (She had to miss a Thursday night class so she could give birth, but she was there the week before!) They’ve continued on with their son Gabriel strapped to one of their chests (usually Valentin’s) with the cleverest wrap imaginable. I notice Gabriel is now kicking his legs in time to the music. Here they are practicing a milonga: Two to Tango and Baby Makes Three – Valentin, Stani, and son Gabriel – June 2011.
Shopping carts are great for practicing ochos (I prefer the ones at the Shoreline Costco because their polished concrete floor is pivot heaven). Who’d have thought I’d run across not just one shopping, but two shop-til-you-tango clips: Supermarket Tango and Tango in the Aisles.
TangoCynic. There are a bunch of clips here, all very funny once you’re deep into the tango culture. If you’re just getting into the dance, they may actually be offputting, the way jokes about old married couples can be to newlyweds. But stick with the dance and eventually you’ll recognize the types who populate these cartoons. These clips are generated using a computerized software program (XtraNormal) that allows you to animate a script with avatars and movement as well as dialog. The stilted computer voices, accents, and goofy pronunciations of the tango moves are part of the fun. Here’s a typical example (after a close encounter between Venus and Mars): The bliss of learning tango together.
Tango History on the Moon – This is by Importango using the same software, and it just cracks me up. On-on-on the moon!