TangoBeat Interview (NYC)

“When the Tango is Over You Remember How it Felt, Not What Steps You Did”

An interview with Pablo Inza and Nazarena Colombo

NEW YORK 2010-07-14 – Tango Beat interviewed Pablo and Nazarena after their performance at Tango Cafe, the home of Tango Nuevo in New York organized by Adam Hoopengardner and Ciko Tanik. It was Pablo’s first visit to New York and for most of us who have followed Pablo’s career, the first time we saw him dance with Nazarena. In contrast to Pablo’s very dramatic earlier work, you could sense deep caring in the Tango of this couple.

Pablo has been dancing since 1991 and working the international festivals since 1999. He is a key organizer of the famous Practica X milonga in Buenos Aires and recently ended his creative direction of the Festival Cambalache, which combines Tango, modern dance and theatre. Nazarena works as a lawyer but trained extensively in ballet and jazz dance and draws inspiration from her grandfather a Tango singer.

What is it like dancing with Pablo?
Nazarena: He is very emotional and is always a surprise.

You speak of bringing a focus on connection to your dance
Nazarena: Year by year you arrive to a point where you have more feelings than steps. You can always work on making beautiful steps, but when the Tango is over, you are going to remember how it felt, not what steps you did.

You have to make yourself available in order to create something authentic. I want my dancing to be honest. I try not to be rational. It is better to be transparent in what you feel.

What did you accomplish with Festival Cambalache that allows you to move on now?
Pablo: The project is still necessary to provide a space for research of the Tango on stage. The work of the Cambalache is a little ahead of the dance. The Tango show almost always tells the history of the Tango with the compadritos (gangsters) in the puterias (whore houses) of the port of Buenos Aires 100 years ago. It is really time for the Tango to express something else. This is why the festival was started and why it is growing.

The milonga is all about improvising. This is the spirit of the Tango. The stage is another highway. I am proud to have helped create this space. It is a messy mix, sort of a Tower of Babel where all languages are spoken. The Cambalache is strong enough to continue on its own now and I am certain we will see some great work come out of the Cambalache in the future.

How is the Tango different in Argentina, Europe and the United States?
Pablo: I work mostly in festivals where people from everywhere come together to dance so it is difficult to describe a regional style. But I think you can separate Europe into North and South. The Northern Europeans dance intellectually in the brain. For the Southern Europeans, it’s more bloody, though even that is changing with the Italians beginning to take a more pedagogical approach. Istanbul is distinguished by the quality of its leaders. The Turkish men lead an exceptional Tango.

Who’s work do you respect now?
I always watch the upper body to see what is going on in the embrace. There are a variety of ways to approach the Tango, but even among all it’s shades, there is a singularity. It is difficult to say who is doing great work right now because everyone’s experience is valid. There are several dancers that I admire but for me it is more important what each represents in order to push the Tango forward, in any direction. One thing we are seeing in Buenos Aires is that Pugliese’s music is coming back into popularity.

Where does the Tango fit into the modern urban lifestyle?
In this Internet time the Tango is subversive. The Internet lets you see everything around the world, but without making real contact. The Tango is anti-system because it forces you to touch.

Your work with Nazarena is less dramatic than what you are famous for. Are you making a style shift?
My dance is always in relation to the dancer I dance with. I try to discover where we feel better, so the encounter creates a particular dance. I don’t think I am shifting style. I just let go with what makes me feel closer to my partner, in this case Nazarena.

It’s also true that I am rediscovering the pleasure of the Tango in the abrazo, but this doesn’t mean a more dramatic dance is part of my past. For me the secret of the Tango is in the abrazo and it is important to experience it.

Anyway, I never agree with the war of the styles. There is one Tango and it is very generous. It gives to everybody regardless of which way you approach it. The important thing is that we bring more people to the Tango. We are all promoting the same thing. The Tango origins are a melting pot so we must continue with that feeling.

I work because I like the work, but now I will not be traveling as much. I will devote more time to Buenos Aires to collect my own resources and to go back to creating in relation to the stage. You have to connect with yourself in order to be able to connect with others. This is my current path.

It is very nice to be in New York City for the first time. I would like to thank Mariana Galassi for organizing this visit. It was great to dance at Tango Cafe where the young crowd of New Yorkers comes to dance Tango. I enjoyed the friendly ambiance, nice people!

Work With the Masters
Pablo and Nazarena are giving workshops Saturday and Sunday July 17 and 18 at Sandra Cameron. They are performing Saturday July 17 at Dancesport’s Nocturne.

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