Archive for the ‘ Female Dancers ’ Category


Built the same year as the Eiffel Tower, 1889, the Moulin Rouge, known as the “Palace of Women”, would cross paths with tango on many occasions…this was the time of the  “Belle Epogue”, a period of great progress, peace and optimism…the Moulin Rouge would help turn Paris into a city of entertainment and sexual liberation…the risque “Cancan” which, like tango, was originally a courtesan dance of seduction, was created there…the Cancan’s greatest star was the fascinating “La Goulue” who went from simple laundry girl to the highest paid dancer in the world for her outrageous, daring, seductive performances…she would become Toulouse Lautrec’s favorite subject for whom she would pose nude and scandalized proper Paris…Toulouse, reported to have had an oversized penis inspite of his short stature, was a frequenter of prostitutes and a lover of tango…like “Madam Yvonne”, in the classic tango by the same name, she ended her days destitute, alcoholic, straggled selling peanuts and cigarettes outside the Moulin Rouge unrecognized….Mistinguett, the other legendary Moulin Rouge star would have a major hit with the naughty tango “Tout Ca C’est Pour Vous” which she would record in 1928…


In 1923 porteno Eduardo Armani, composer of  “Normina”, one of Carlos Gardel’s hits, directed Mistinguett at the Moulin Rouge in one of her famous plays…the captivating and mysterious Linda Thelma was one of the first to bring tango to Paris when she sang at the Moulin Rouge in the early part of the century; here she met Francisco Canaro…the beautiful Alina De Silva, called by Parisian newspapers “the star of tango, was actually Peruvian of French 1929 she began a series of celebrated performances at the Moulin Rouge…Imitations of Moulin Rouge sprang up all over the world…the Moulin Rouge in Montevideo was established by Emilio Matos, father of Gerardo Matos Rodriguez the composer of the immortal “La Cumparista”….here Pascual Contursi debuted his great classic “Mi Noche Triste” singing it himself…”Mi Noche Triste” is considered the prototype of what tango would become; nostalgic, melancholic, speaking of life’s tragic moments…Pascual Contursi, like Toulouse Latrec would die young from complications of alcoholism and syphlis…both Roberto Firpo and Francisco de Caro would compose a tango called “Moulin Rouge”




“To surrender when you dance is a sign of trust and deep spiritual faith” says Jeannette Potts in her book “Tango Lessons of Life”…Jeannette turned her passion for tango into a series of seminars on how to live better through the lessons of dancing tango…she hugs her students and talks about the spirituality of the embrace…tango is the embrace and it gives us a feeling of power and yet vulnerability, “as when we fall in love” she says….ah! and she cautions of the women on female narcissism, “self indulgence and self obsession is an addiction and it destroys the dance”…she talks of giving and loving; “happiness is a by-product of helping others”…she uses the lessons of tango to help tired executives, to improve leadership, to be better parents, to reawaken femininity and to learn how to heal ourselves…but in her day job, Jeanette is a Urologist specializing in infectious diseases and chronic pain…


She studied fine arts in college and sold automobile parts internationally before deciding to enter medical school….but it was her beloved grandmother Lily in Mexico City, a lover of dance, who bedazzled her with dancing stories and encouraged her to dance…she studied salsa and cumbia and even did slam dance at an inner city punk bar…one day she discovered tango in Cleveland and it changed her life…she later perfected her tango in Mexico City and Buenos Aires…through her infectious enthusiasm, her human warmth, the gleam in her eyes and he natural elegance she began to share her observations and lessons of life through highly successful seminars which include a passionate tango dance demonstration…one student said, “it reminded me of all the great artists I have ever seen…you brought the meaning to light and brought it all together as a humble teacher”



1949, September 19 – BIRTH OF SALLY POTTER

She had a dream; to become a film director…a beguiling voice beckoned teenager Sally Potter’s gentle, sensitive nature…she was restless; she felt as if she was wasting her time but her options were limited; she had no money…what to do…one day she made a decision, to the astonishment of everyone around her, she courageously quit school and joined the London Film Makers Co-Op…and then she had a unique insight; inspired by a comment by celebrated French film critic Andre Bazin that “the essence of cinema is movement”, she decided to study dance and choreography; she enrolled at the London School of Contemporary Dance…in time would emerge one of the most visionary and creative film directors in the history of film…a polymath of film, she wrote, directed, produced, composed, danced, choreographed and starred in her films succeeding  in fiercely competitive and often closed world…


At the age of 19 she began to be noticed with two short films “Jerk” and “Play”; others were to follow continuing to hone her skills and becoming more adept at transferring her vision on to celluloid…it finally all came together for “Orlando” which premiered in 1992…based on a Virginia Wolf novel by the same name it was nominated for two academy awards and won 25 international awards…noted film critic Roger Ebert said of the film, “it was directed with sly grace and quiet elegance”…her next film “The Tango Lesson” came out of her passionate love of tango awaked in her by the music of Astor Piazzolla…its success helped spur the world-wide reawakening of the tango boom…for this film, largely autobiographical, she directed, wrote, starred, danced and even sang the final song of the film…she discovered dancer Pablo Veron who today is probably the best known tango dancer in the world…she said of the film, “I wanted to create authenticiy…to get very close to the bone, to the skin of what tango is”



She had fallen into deep depression and was ready to give it all up…she had just released her first album “Thalia” but its suggestive lyrics  made it highly controversial and she was banned by a number of radio stations in her native Mexico…her mother, her manager, with calm and reason as well as love, talked to her, “you can quit now and devote yourself to studying a profession or you can make up your mind to overcome it all”...Thalia, with steely determination, went on to become not only an international singing sensation but an entrepreneur and a best-selling author as well…she has said, “in order to have success, you must have discipline”…part of that success has been her devotion to the practise of yoga; inspired by Nadia Comaneci, one of her early dreams was to become a gymnast…her other dream, was to become a biologist and scientist like her father who was a pathologist and writer…when she was five years old her father died unexpectedly; it was a devastating blow; for one year she was mute and doctors were hard-pressed to find a medical reason…


But success has brought its challenges as well…scheduled to marry her beloved boyfriend Alfredo Diaz Ordaz, he contracted hepatitis and died  suddenly; “no one will ever know how much I cried” she was to say…her two sisters were kidnapped in Mexico city; they were released 30 days later presumably after a sizeable ransom had been paid…Thalia was born in Mexico City on August 26, 1971 (Virgo)…she started singing at the age of 10 in a children’s group…four years later she was cast in the mexican version of Grease as the lead “Sandy”….her recordings in Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and Filipino have sold 40 million albums world-wide …on July 20, 2005 she released “Amar Sin Ser Amada” which is a tango sung in a pop rock beat……the english version “To Love Without Being Loved” was written by Thalia herself…the song advises women who are heart-broken to leave it all behind and to remember the pain to avoid a reoccurence…it reach number two on Billboards “Hot Latin Tracks”…Thalia learned to love tango through her best friend Cynthia who is from Buenos Aires; in fact she considers Argentina as her second country…her first album in English “Thalia” with rapper Fat Joe sold over 150,000 copies in the United States within the first few weeks….in 2007 she published a book  “Thalia” which was a best seller…she married to music mogul Tommy Motola…she said of her first child Sabrina Sakae, “my baby girl is the best thing ever…it is my best project” she says



“I wake up every day with gratitude and the intention to go through life with a true sense of forgiveness”, says Joan Moran in her sometimes touching, sometimes funny, sometimes sad book “Sex, Sixty and Tango”…and it all begins at a tango dance; a Milonga…one evening while at her customary Saturday milonga, Joan Moran said to a friend, “I want to do a stand up routine about men and sex because sex was so very different in the 60s…”…”Joan, that’s a book, you can do stand up any time” responded her friend“Sixty, Sex and Tango” which has received enthusiastic reviews, is in essence about how to discover spiritual balance while living with great joy, sex, and romance…more concretely, using honest and courageous language, it is a book about men, dating, relationships, sex, about being a grandmother…in the section about parenting, for example, she speaks of the need to raise her children to be independent, to give them roots and then wings


Joan Moran, a self-described jewish wanderer was educated in catholic schools and has been an actress and a drug counselor and aspired to be a stand up comedian…she is a yoga teacher …at a certain point in her life, she lost her life’s partner to illness in the middle of raising her two boys…she says, “I started taking tango lessons when I was in full menopause…I felt the music moving through my body, it was like falling in love all over again”….lugging her MacBook around from milonga to milonga, from tango festival to tango festival, she observed and reflected about how the old cliches about a woman getting older were no longer appropriate…she talks about the tensions in relationships and dating and the need for sex…“I like sex” she confesses; she even manages to make a topic like female masturbation funny….she teaches tango and has been to Buenos Aires over 13 times…Joan says, “the best lesson I ever learned in my sixtys to ‘just let it be'”


1998, February 12 – PREMIERE OF SAURA’S “TANGO”

Mario is devastated, his wife has left him for another man and to make matter worse, he has to see them together every day as they are dancers in the tango film he is making…the financier of the film, a powerful and dangerous man, asks him to give a part to his lover, a young, beautiful dancer…Mario eventually falls in love with her and the two begin an affair together risking both their lives; in the mean time, the making of the tango film goes on….it is roughly a remake of the mythical Moglia Barth “Tango” of 1933…it won a nomination for an academy award and has won awards in film festivals all over the world, primarily for the dancing and the cinematography which was created by academy award-winning Vittorio Storaro who also did “Last Tango In Paris”…”Tango”, one of the best tango films of all time was directed by renown Spanish director Carlos Saura, famous his combination of passion and dance in films like  “Carmen” and “Flamenco”…Janet Maslin, the New York Times critic was to write of the film, “Tango offers transfixingly beautiful glimpses of the dance and all the wide range of emotions it can conjure”


One of the most exciting scenes in the film occurs when mythical tanguero Juan Carlos Copes dances with his daughter Joanna Copes…Copes is one of the last remaining of the great, authentic, tangueros of the golden era who has done everything in tango for 50 years…he began dancing as a young boy in the bars and clubs of Buenos Aires; his hero was Gene Kelly …but he had decided on a career as an electronic engineer when at the age of 20 he happened to win a tango contest in which 300 couples were competing…it launched a career which would take him all over the world…”Tango” includes a clip from the 1955 classic “Mercado De Abasto” in which Tita Merello sings her great hit “Se Dice De Mi”…Juan Carlos Copes got to meet his hero Gene Kelly who summoned him to his house in his waning days … “tango”, Copes  says, “is the only dance that allows imagination and creativity to form in three minutes and to become a history of love and of hate”.



Dancer (Aquarius) – in 2005, at the age 100, she did her last public performance at the famous milonga La Baldosa with dance partner Jorge Dispari…her fans, many in tears, were ecstatic; just two months later she would pass away feeling fulfilled and content in her life…poet Jose Gabello was to say of her, “you are a girl without age…you are eternal like the tango that drives you”...Carmencita Calderon was born into a poor italian immigrant family in the neighborhood of Villa Urquiza in Buenos Aires…her mother would sing tango and dance by herself as she was doing the laundry and she began passing on this passion to her daughter, when Carmencita when was thirteen years old …a tragedy soon befell the family when her mother died leaving behind young children; it fell upon Carmencita to fill the role of the caring and the upbringing of her younger siblings and although she loved to dance, girls in her station did not dare to dream…one day her two younger sisters expressed the wish to attend a neighborhood dance at the  club “Sin Rumbo” and so she went along as a chaperone…


Renown dancer “Tarila”, happened to be present and someone suggested that Carmencita dance with him; she was terrified but finally accepted his invitation…the following day Tarila took her to meet the legendary El Cachafaz at the Bar Corrientes where he assiduously met a close group of friends including Carlos Gardel…El Cachafaz was so impressed with Carmencita’s dancing that from that day on, he made her his exclusive dance partner; they made their debut with the Pedro Maffia orchestra at the Teatro San Fernando to enthusiastic applause …their ten years long collaboration would take them many places…but in 1942 disaster struck;  at a performance at Mar De Plata, at the club “El Rancho Grande”, after having danced to the milonga “Don Juan“, El Cachafaz died suddenly of a massive heart attack; she would never forget the shock of suddenly seeing her dance partner’s body lying lifeless on the floor…with tremendous personal resolve, she continued….she would in time perform with the best dancers of the time El Tarila, El Cachafaz and El Negro Alfredo and Juan Carlos Copes…reflecting on her success she was to comment “I adorned the tango when I danced it; this was my secret”