Dancing keeps you young

The health benefits of tango are well documented, not only on a physical level for exercise but on a deeper level having a transformative effect on physical and mental well-being. Dancing reduces stress levels, increases serotonin levels and cognitive functions.

Dancing tango requires mindful control of the body. And you can practice body awareness through different disciplines like Pilates, Yoga, Feldenkrais, to mention some. In my experience as a Pilates Instructor, students find that they gain greater body control, not only when dancing tango but in day to day life due to increased muscle tone and strength as well postural alignment, balance and flexibility.

Dance better by being aware of your body

In dance it is very important understand the music, and understand how your body moves in response to music. It is never too late to learn how to be more aware of your body.

As a dancer, your work tool is your own body. This is why it is very important to understand it and become familiar with it; get to know its needs, limitations, and abilities. This will allow you to control it more confidently and naturally.

Becoming familiar with all body parts requires a lot of focus. Muscle memory is a side effect of muscle awareness. As you develop more awareness of your body, it will become easier to remember moves and positions. It is ideal to dedicate time and energy to this self-discovery process supervised by a trained and experienced teacher.

Posture and body language are completely related. How you stand says a lot about you, and that directly translates into the dance, whether you intend to or not.

Body awareness and Pilates

The benefits of Pilates are numerous. It works the core muscles of the body, improving posture, strength and flexibility. It also improves breathing and centres the body, which can relieve stress and release tension. Pilates helps all the parts of the body to work together in balance. As the body is worked and strengthened, another benefit of Pilates becomes increasingly clear – a greater sense of body awareness.

After taking Pilates classes regularly for a while, you should naturally begin to feel it when your muscles or joints are out of alignment. In Pilates, so much depends on using the correct forms and positions. If the positioning isn’t correct, muscles and joints may feel worse over time instead of better.

Greater body awareness has many benefits for the Pilates practitioner. Knowing correct posture from your classes will spill over into the other activities of your life – sitting at your computer or at your desk, standing in line, and of course, DANCING. It will start to feel natural to pull your abdominals in and push your shoulders down.

Pugliese, Pugliese, Pugliese

The truth is that among thousands of artists called “yeta” or “mufa”, the Argentine artistic community unanimously recognizes only one “Holy Protector”: Osvaldo Pugliese. The famous tango player is a great protection for artists, especially from the world of Argentinian rock.

Already in life he was considered a “good luck charm” and he knew it, in a way: he called himself “The people’s talisman”.

A photo of Pugliese is hung in many dressing rooms, or well, the rockers carry in their wallets a small stamp with their face.

There are many accounts of supposed little miracles attributed to him: that the light return in the midst of a blackout in full concert, a lost instrument appears just by saying the name of the saint, or to solve computer problems (the recording technician Sergio Paoletti affirms that when a machine in his studio hung up and threatened to format all the material, he fixed it by renaming all the files like “Pugliese”).

You have to pronounce Pugliese, Pugliese, Pugliese before starting a show.

A possible start…

It is said that during a Charly Garcia (Argentinian singer-songwriter) concert, a number of situations and technical problems delayed the start of the show. The sound was not working well, until someone tried the sound system with a Pugliese’s CD. Everything started to improve, and Charly gave his show.

Holy remedy!

With some variations, but always alluding to rock, this is how the legend of Pugliese “totem” was born.

There is also a prayer

“Protect us from everyone who does not listen. Save us from the mufa of those who insist on the national chicken leg. Help us to enter into harmony and enlighten us so that misfortune is not the only cooperative action. Take us with your mystery towards a passion that does not break bones and does not leave us in silence looking at a bandoneon on a chair”. In the name of Osvaldo Pugliese.

He was born on December 2 of 1905 in the Buenos Aires in the neighbourhood of Villa Crespo, into a family of musicians. His father, Adolfo Pugliese, played the flute in some local ensembles, essentially in quartets. Two of his older brothers, Vicente Salvador and Alberto Roque, were also musicians.

Adolfo, his father bought him a violin with which he was sent to the Odeon Conservatory of Villa Crespo. But in this place, he found the instrument that would be part of his life: the piano.

He began to play professionally at the age of 15, in the “Café de La Chancha”, name given to it in reference to the poor hygiene of its owner and the place. After some time, he joined the ensemble of the first bandoneonist woman, Francisca “Paquita” Bernardo.

Going on with his career, Osvaldo entered Enrique Pollet quartet, later he played in the famous Roberto Firpo orchestra, and in 1926 he was pianist in the great bandoneonist Pedro Maffia’s orchestra.

He remained with Pedro Maffia from 1926 to 1929, when he teamed up with the violinist Elvino Vardaro forming a group under the name PUGLIESE-VARDARO, which we know was avant-garde for the time. Sadly, it has not left recordings.

Vardaro-Pugliese had their debut at the café Nacional, to then commence a long tour across the country. They were accompanied by the poet Eduardo Moreno, as manager and Malena de Toledo, as female singer. Moreno was the lyricist of “Recuerdo”, the most successful tango composed by Pugliese. The tour turned out a financial failure and Vardaro had to pawn his Sartoris bow to pay the return tickets.

Then, he also joined the brand-new orchestra formed by Gobbi, and later went through the ensembles of Daniel Alvarez, Roberto Firpo and Miguel Calo, until in August 1939 he appeared with his definitive group in the “El Nacional” café of the Corrientes street.

Amadeo Mandarino was the singer of the orchestra. Augusto Gauthier was later joined as vocalist. In the 1940s, he recorded some of his own instrumental tracks such as “La yumba“, “Negracha“, “Malandraca“, “Recuerdo”, “La Beba”, “Adiós Bardi”, “Barro”, “Once” and “El encopao”.

In 1943, with the incorporation of Roberto Chanel, Pugliese’s orchestra acquired its own vocal definition; tough singer, with nasal sound and compadrito style. To achieve a contrast, Pugliese included Alberto Morán as vocalist because of his dramatism, sensuality, his rare quality for the mezza voce and perfect match with the orchestral accompaniment.

 That year he recorded his first album.

His first tango, “Recuerdo“, from 1924, is one of the most important Tangos in history.

Troilo said that “Recuerdo” was the tango that he would have liked to compose. Julio De Caro described it as “one of the works of art of our tango that will last forever”.

Through years, Osvaldo Pugliese orchestra was banned for broadcasting as a means of political censorship but it did not succeed in diminishing his popular acceptance.

Such was his artistic status that in 1985 he achieved what no one had done until then: on December 26 of that year, to celebrate his 80th birthday, his orchestra played at the well Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.

Osvaldo Pugliese died on July 25, 1995 in Buenos Aires.

La Flor de Villa Crespo, Paquita Bernardo.

Paquita Bernardo , nicknamed “La Flor de Villa Crespo» ( 1 of may of 1900 , Buenos Aires , Argentina – 14 of April of 1925 ), whose real name was Francisca Cruz Bernardo was the first professional bandoneonist woman in Argentina.
In 1915, when she was a teenager started to study piano at a conservatory, but as José Servidio was one of Paquita’s fellow students she finally switched from piano to bandoneon.

From 1920 she began to perform in various cafes and salons, mainly in Villa Crespo, where the nicknames “La Flor de Villa Crespo” and “La Mujer Bandoneón” were born. She was accompanied by her brothers Arturo, who was a drummer, or Enrique, who owned a taxi.

She never wore pants, sometimes replacing the blouse with a shirt and tie.

In 1921 she was hired to perform at the “Domínguez” bar on Calle Corrientes (Corrientes street) with a sextet called “Orquesta Paquita”, which also included the young Osvaldo Pugliese on piano, Alcides Palavecino and Elvino Vardaro on violins, Miguel Loduca on flute and his brother Arturo Bernardo on drums. The public came to see and listen to it in such quantity that the police had to divert traffic from Corrientes Street, which, at that time, was narrow.

She composed about fifteen pieces of music but did not record any disc. She died in his neighborhood of Villa Crespo on April 14, 1925 as a result of complications from a badly cared cold.

Here you can see a video of Gardel singing one of her tangos, La Enmascarada.

Libertango played by Orquesta Argentina de charangos

But first, what’s a charango?

The charango is a small ten string lute that originated in South America. The back of the instrument is traditionally fashioned from an armadillo. When the Spanish conquistadors came to South America, they brought the vihuela (an ancestor of the guitar) with them. The native people liked the vihuela, but lacked the technology to shape the wood in that manner. However, there was a convenient resource available to them: armadillo shells. Thus the charango was born.

Today, many of the best charangos have wooden backs instead of employing the armadillo shell.

The instrument is widespread throughout the Andean regions of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, northern Chile and northwestern Argentina.

Now the video of Libertango played by the Orquesta Argentina de Charangos. Enjoy!!!

“Contrology”

Pilates Method is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, after whom it was named. Pilates called his method “Contrology”.

The relationship between dancers and Pilates goes back a long way. Let’s take a look back at the time when the Pilates Method was born.

During the first half of the twentieth century, Joseph Pilates developed a system of exercises which were intended to strengthen the human mind and body. He believed that mental and physical health were interrelated.

He said that the inspiration for his method came to him during WWI, while he was being held at a labour camp. He developed his method there for four years, working on his fellow internees in order to alleviate ill health.  

Pilates emigrated to the USA in the early 1920s with his wife Clara, and together they developed and taught the method in their ‘body-conditioning gym’ in New York in 1926. It soon became very popular, particularly with the dance community, as it offered a chance to improve technique or recover from injury. Word spread quickly and many celebrities of the day visited his studio. These included dance legends such as Ted Shawn, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine and Martha Graham. Originally 60% of the clientele were men.

During his lifetime this method of exercise was called Contrology. It was only after his death that it became known as the Pilates Method.

If practiced with consistency, Pilates improves flexibility, builds strength and develops control and endurance in the entire body. It puts emphasis on alignment, breathing, developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance.

Joseph Pilates demonstrating some of his mat exercises to a client WATCH HERE

Personally, I found Pilates exercise helps building body awareness as well as core strength and flexibility. This is very beneficial to Tango even for non-professional dancers, because you will feel much more confident with your balance and posture. Your dance will feel light and free.

Happy tango dancing requires stability, strength, and flexibility.

What are you waiting for???

Enrique Cadícamo

Enrique Domingo Cadícamo (July 15, 1900 – December 3, 1999) was a prolific Argentine tango lyricist, poet and novelist.

He developed a distinctive, lunfardo-rich style from an early age, and by 1925 he had his first piece, Pompas de jabón, sung by Carlos Gardel. Other notable compositions include Madame IvonneChe, papusa, oíAnclado en ParísMuñeca brava, Al mundo le falta un tornillo, Pa’ que bailen los muchachos and Los mareados.

Here two different versions, Carlos Gardel and Roberto Goyeneche.

Read more BIOGRAPHY LYRICS IN ENGLISH

Día Nacional del Bandoneón in Argentina (Bandoneón Day)

Bandoneón day is celebrated on 11 July each year in Argentina. This date was chosen to mark the birth of the man who is considered the “Supreme Bandoneón of Buenos Aires”, the musician Aníbal Troilo.

On 11 July 2005, the Congress of Argentina declared that date as National Bandoneón Day by law, and this was enacted on 18 May 2005. The proponents of this law were Francisco Torne, grandson of Zita Troilo, and the poet Horacio Ferrer, a friend of the musician and president and founder of the National Academy of Tango.

If you wants to read more about “Pichuco” here is a Biography by

Néstor Pinsón
La orquesta de Aníbal Troilo ¨Pichuco¨ interpretando el tango de Juan de Dios Filiberto ¨Quejas del bandoneón¨ para la película ¨Esta es mi Argentina¨ del año 1974.