Archive for the ‘ Dancers ’ Category

1934, October 24 – PREMIERE OF “IDOLOS DE LA RADIO”

Francisco Canaro had the midas touch, everything he touched turned to gold; he was undboutedly the richest man in tango…there was however, one exception, the movie business…in 1934 he and Jaime Yankelvich, the legendary entrepreneur who founded Radio Belgrano created the production company Rio De La  Plata Films…inspite of the fact that it was thrown together and filmed in an old warehouse, “Idolos De La Radio”, their first film, was a great success; it was however the only film to make money…the film allowed people to see for the first time, the voices they knew and loved from the radio programs they heard…the plot was inspired by the fact that the radio station milieu is in fact an intimate one where human drama in all its variety unfolds…it was the same idea that Peruvian writer Maria Vargas Llosa used in his celebrated novel “Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter” which was published in 1977

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In fact “Idolos De La Radio” was the first of its kind and featured the radio stars of the day including Ada Falcon, Ignacio Corsini, Tita Merello, Tito Lusiardo, Dorita Davis and Ernesto Fama…the film also feature the Don Dean and his “Students From Hollywood” orchestra who in that period had recorded the hit “Bailando En Alvear”…Don Dean was originally from Oklahoma and had arrived in Buenos Aires for a performance….he was scheduled to proceed to Brasil but a revolution there delayed his departure…it was in that period that he met the love of his life, married her and remained in Argentina for the rest of his life…the critics loved the dancing of Tito Lusiardo and in fact in launched his career…the film ends gloriously with Ada Falcon and Ignacio Corsini singing “Mentir En Amor Es Pecado” (to lie in love is a sin)…Falcon refused to record it outside of the film but it became instead a hit for Charlo a few months later

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1957, October 21 – PREMIERE OF “AND GOD CREATED WOMAN”

Like Rodolfo Valentino, dancing tango turned Brigitte Bardot into a sex symbol and a legendary star; albeit a stylized tango in a caribbean style rythm…the memorable scene, in the film “And God Created Woman” in 1956 in which she dances wildly in a bar frequented by prostitutes, titillated male audiences and became one of the most provocative scenes in cinematic history…Bardot’s explosive sexuality turned her into an international sex symbol…Bardot had an affair with co-starr Jean Louis Trintignant even though she was married director Roger Vadim….it was Vadim who discovered her and through personal and directorial influcence created the legend “Brigitte Bardot”; she would later divorce him…she was to say many years later, “he taught me to be free and as a result I left him for another man”…Bardot would have a continuous flow of lovers and several marriages…it was in her marriage to actor Jacques Charrier that she had her only child of whom she said, “I was not ready to be a mother”…he was raised by his father

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Vadim had seen her by chance in Elle Magazine where she appeared as a then 15 year old model and began to  purse her….her father strenuously objected at one point threatening Vadim with a gun…Bardot would later say that it was the trauma from this incident, that would be the cause of her sucide attempts including the one where she slashes her wrists and takes a copious number of sleeping pills…she grew up in an observant catholic home; her father was an engineer and her mother had studied dancing and encouraged these interests in the young Bardot…in her early years Bardo dreamed of being a ballet dancer…at the age of 40 Bardot appeared in Playboy in a nude layout…Bob Dylan would dedicate to her, the first song he ever composed….in later years, besides being know for her animal rights campaign, she made headlines with her comments against homeless people, homosexuals and moslem immigration and influence in her country…the French philosopher and writer Simone De Beauvoir called her a “Locomotive of women’s history…the most liberated woman in post war France”

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C. 1975, 17 October – BIRTH OF PABLO VERON !

In September of 2009 while he was seated at the famous All Night Milonga in New York city, a fan came up to his table, asked him to dance and when he refused she assailed him verbally, threw a glass of wine at him and slapped him whereupon he slapped her back….such are the vicissitudes of fame of  which he has said, “I do not see myself  like a celebrity at all. I don’t like people seeing me that way, I never looked for fame, it is just not my dream”

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But famous he is; perhaps the best known tango dancer in the world today….Early on he was considered a  young tap-dance prodigy and he was sent to New York by his parents to continue his studies…his first professional job was in the musical comedy “Evita” in 1986…two years later he in his first film, ” Cepayos”, he is a member of  a troupe of tango dancers which commit acts of political sabotage…the seminal event in his career however was when English film director Sally Potter sought him out for tango lessons and from there the idea was born for the semi autobiographical film “Tango Lesson” whose immense success skyrocketed his career…Pablo say, “a good tango dancer is someone who has respect for the woman; he adapts himself to her, he makes her feel that she is the best dancer, he dances for her”

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1926, October 10 – BIRTH OF GREAT DANCER “VIRULAZO” !

He was a Mark Twain like character – cantankerous, tough, misanthropic, effusive and irascible by turns, addicted to profanity; this was Virulazo (Libra)…he did not like Piazzolla, he did not like the Japanese, Venice stank, John Travolta and Michael Jackson were queers; he once told Henry Kissinger to go to hell when he asked him to dance for free….he grew up tough; he began working at the age of eight first as a shoe shine boy outside whore houses…later selling sausage sandwiches to revelers late at night…a common laborer in a clamorous, rank-smelling slaughter-house; what little education he had he learned on the streets…his father was a Basque and his mother Italian but they separated early on and he was unloaded to his grandparents….”everything I am and all that I have accomplished I owe to my grandfather” he would say with tears in his eyes….he learned to dance tango by watching and his first performance was with his mother at the age of 12…he started dancing in cafes of the Mataderos neighborhood for spare change and for something to eat…

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Later while dancing at a festival, he came to the attention of the master of ceremonies, the legendary lyricist Celedonio Flores and the singer Carlos Acuna; they encouraged and helped him….the very next day he appeared at the Armonia Cafe for his first professional engagement to great aclaim…in 1952 out of 157 dance couples, he won first place in a dance contest sponsored by the Aquila Chocolate Company…he would be Robert Duvall’s first tango teacher and he would be admired by the likes of Nureyev and Anthony Quinn whom he met in New York where he stayed at a luxurious hotel on 5th Avenue….his beloved dance partner Elvira had actually been his first girlfriend…they separated, he married his first wife Aida at the age of 18…nine years later he and Aida divorced and in stroke of destiny, he re-met Elvira whom he would marry and who would be his beloved dance partner for his whole life…his favorite tango was “Berretin” by Pedro Laurenz and his favorite singer was Carlos Gardel, who he said, moved him to tears each time he heard him sing…”crying”, he said, “is no longer just for women”

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1889, October 5 – “LE MOULIN ROUGE” OPENS IN PARIS

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…

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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 descent..in 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”

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1965, October 3 – BIRTH OF ROXANA FONTAN

At the age of nine Roxana Fontan’s father exposed her to Discepolo, Shakespeare, Victor Hugo and Herman Hesse; “this is how I discovered tango” she recalls…perhaps it was this fertile influence that would one day turn Roxana (Libra) into one of the most gifted and versatile and tango singers in history…she is not only a singer, but an actress, a dancer as well as a producer and director…she grew up in a cultured and musical home; her grandfather had been a guitarist with a celebrated tango quartet…Roxana’s first musical heroines were Barbara Streisand and Sarah Vaughn but as a young girl, she dreamt of a career as an opera singer…she devoted herself to studying voice, theater and music but as a practical matter she studied advertising design…she managed to get a job as a graphic designer and she had attained security during times of great uncertainty but animated by the evening folk sessions with her doting grandfather, another voice inside beguiled her…she finally made the courageous decision to leave her secure job and seek her career as a singer…

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Her first gigs were in small neighborhood clubs…her heroines were the women who were both singers and actresses like Tita Merello, Virginia Luque and Libertad Lamarque…a break occurred when, still in her teen years, she was invited to sing on the renown program Grande Valores Del Tango…other invitations followed including Juan Carlos Copes’  “Pesada Del Tango”…it is Copes whom she credits for having flowered her ability to act and dance as well…in 1998 she was selected to sing Tita Merello’s signature piece “Se Dice De Mi” in Carlos Saura’s classic film “Tango”…still later she was invited by Miguel Angel Zotto to perform with his renown company Tango x 2…in Japan she received ecstatic reviews from the public and critics alike when she toured there with singer Carlos Morel…after a long career at home and abroad, she released her first solo album, “Se Dice De Mi” acclaimed in particular for her rendition of Horacio Pettorossi’s waltz “Noches De Atenas”….in 2007 she created and directed her own tango show which premiered at the Peter North Symphony Space in New York…consistent with a gentle, sensitive, unassuming nature she is a practising buddhist and a lover and writer of poetry in her own right…along the way she found romance with renown dancer Pablo Garcia

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2007, September 28 – PUBLISHED, “TANGO LESSONS FOR LIFE”

“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…

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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”

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