Archive for the ‘ Special Events ’ Category

2008, February 6 – “Tango Best Therapy For Parkinson’s Patients”

“Tango lessons were better than traditional movement therapies for Parkinson’s patients”David Iverson in Frontline, reported on the conclusion of  a study conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis by two researchers, Madeleine E. Hackney and Gammon E. Earhart…they took two groups of Parkinson’s patients; one was enrolled in 20, one hour sessions of tango argentino instruction and the other took the traditional strength and flexibility exercises designed for Parkinson’s patients…each patient was assessed prior to and after the regimen; all were similar in age and stage of Parkinson’s desease…while the participants in both groups showed significant improvement in movement, the tango argentino participants showed much better improvement on the Berg Balance Scale, which measures balance in a variety of addition, the participants in the tango group showed a trend toward improvement in the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, which measures ability to rise from a chair, walk a short distance, turn and return to the chair…


Researchers concluded that while any dance is beneficial to Parkinson’s patients, there is something especially beneficial  in the specific movements in learning tango argentino …the results appeared in the December issue of 2007 in the “Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy”…Parkinson’s is a disease that affects nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls movement…the nerve cells that make dopamine die or don’t function properly resulting in trembling hands, arms, legs, jaws slowness of movement, poor balance and coordination…an Egyptian papyrus in 12 century BC mentions a disease which was probably Parkinson’s; the bible has several mentions of tremors which are also probably refering to Parkinsons…the most famous people with Parkinson’s disease are actor Michael J. Fox who developed symptoms at the age of 30 and who spoke about his ordeal with the disease in his best-selling book “Lucky Man”… the other famous case is that of legendary boxer Mohammed Ali


  • CLICK HERE – to see a video with Michael J Fox talking about his battle with Parkinson’s desease…the video includes an appearance by “the greatest of all time”  Mohammed Ali


“Who would have thought back then, sixteen years ago that one day I would be singing here” wrote Carlos Gardel to his friend and manager Jose Razzano referring to their boyhood when the thought of performing at the mythical Paris Opera House was only a wildly unattainable dream for boys from poor immigrant families…indeed to have been invited to sing at the Paris Opera House for the “Bal de Petit Lits Blanc”, the most important social event of the year, was to have conquered Paris and therefore the world…he became the darling of a decadent aristocracy and it is they  who would catapult him to international fame; it is they who would export tango into a world sensation…on this particular night the well liked President of the Republic Gaston Doumergue was especially thrilled and he sent down a note to Gardel, would he please re-sing “El Cerretero”; with deep respect Gardel bowed to the president and did, to the enthusiastic applause of his excellency…


Ten days later he opened at the Casino in Cannes for the unbelievable sum of 4000 francs a night; a famous magazine “La Rampe” in the luxurious end of the year edition, ran a full color photo of him….telegrams were personally delivered to him, a service reserved for only the most important people…he relished his success in paris, “I am living better than a millionaire in paris, in the best district in a comfortable house” he would write in letters to friends; much of his fortune would be squandered in his horse gambling habit…..150 years earlier, other Gardels were conquering an earlier version of the Paris Opera, Maximilien and Pierre Gardel ballet dancers and choreographers…Maximilien became the dance instructor of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI…he died young from an infection resulting from a small toe injury sustained while dancing…his brother Pierre became a renown choreographer and ballet master for 35 years surviving a number of political upheavals including the French Revolution…on the day that Louis XVI was beheaded, the Paris Opera was performing Pierre’s “The Trial of Paris”…Gardel would meet his own premateur demise just six years later in a fiery airplane crash .


2002, February 2 – Dutch Crown Prince Weds Argentinean

The beautiful princess, robed in an ivory-coloured, silk, Valentino gown with a five-metre lace train sitting next to handsome Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, could contain herself no longer and as the orchestra played Piazzolla’s “Adios Nonino” large tears began to roll down her eyes and she caressed the prince’s hand with her thumb…yes she was latin after all, she had said as much in an interview, “I am Latin and I will continue being Latin…I dance, I sing and I will keep on dancing and singing.” …for Maxima Zorreguietta, born May 17, 1971 in Buenos Aires (Taurus), this was a moment which surpassed even her wildest dreams…little did she realize who that blond young man was, whom she met in Sevilla Spain that day; all he said was that his name was “Alexander” and when he came to New York to visit her, she had to jar her memory a bit to remember who he was…later when he said he was a Prince, she laughed; she thought he was joking…among the dignitaries present at the wedding ceremony that day, were Prince Charles from the United Kingdom, the kings of Sweden, Norway and Belgium, the queen of Denmark, Crown Prince Naruhitoof Japan,  and Queen Noor from Jordan…acclaimed violinist Vadim Repin played Carlos Gardel’s “Por Una Cabeza”


Conspicuously absent was the father of the bride Jorge Zorreguietta…he had served as a high level minster for the brutal dictatorship of General Jorge Videla; the same one who instigated the “dirty war” in which 10,000 to 30,000 men, women and children disappeared…when the news of the impending wedding came out it created a firestorm in the Dutch Parliment…an investigation was conducted which concluded that it was highly unlikely that a minster of that level did not know of the government’s campaign of atrocities…the issued was finally settled when the father elected to not attend the wedding…the streets outside were a mass of orange as 80,000 spectators waited in the winter sunshine for a glimpse of the couple who finally appeared in a gilded carriage, escorted by more than 200 royal grenadiers on foot and on horseback…Princess Maxima smiled generously and waved to everyone; in time her popularity would surpass even that of the Crown Prince….And does the Crown Prince dance tango ? “I keep trying to push him” say Princess Maxima,“His hips are a little rigid”.


1938, January 26 – Nestor Feria Records “CHUMBALE LOS PERROS”

Singer, Composer (born March 5, 1894, Pisces) – Nestor had struggle for many years and he felt he had paid his dues; he wanted to be treated with a certain amount of respect and he wasn’t getting it…in a moment of rage he told the producer at Radio Stentor to go to hell and he stomped out…walking alone now on this chilly night he was the loneliest person in the world…Now what was he to do; his career had been one of stops and starts and he was no longer a kid…out of the misty night he heard his name called,  “Nestor how are you”, it was his friend the actor Fernando Ochoa…when he told him what had happened he promptly dragged him to Radio Belgrano where they hired him on the spot…it was the begining of the resurgence of his career…he became the singing voice for the very popular variety programs sponsored by Federal Soap; important offers for stage and theaters were to follow….he was hired for his first movie “Juan Moreira” directed by Nelo Cosimi…he debuted with his own composition “En Blanco y Negro” which became a big hit…other successful compositions were to follow, “Las Carretas”, “Paginas Intimas”, “La Bata de Percal”


Nestor Feria was born in the village of  Canelones Bolivar, Uruguay into a family with closely guarded secrets….after a quarrel his mother, with rare courage for those time, left her husband and moved to Montevideo to the neighborhood of “La Union” where Nestor was to spend formative years…as he grew Nestor, like Carlos Gardel, became spellbound by the nearby racetrack where he eventually got a job as a stable boy…young Nestor loved to sing, he sang all the time…it was the other stable hands themselves that suggested to Nestor that he pursue singing as a career…at the age of 16, he found himself singing at the Pancho Orezoli Cafe and the launching of his career…In 1945the first symptoms of lung cancer began to appear but he kept working inspite of the pain and discomfort…now he regretted never having married…he lived alone in a rented room in BuenosAires….Fernando Ochoa, his old friend, again came to his rescue…through his connections he obtained for Nestor a role in the remake of “Juan Moreira” directed by Jose Moglia Barth…immediately after the film he had a strongh desire to return to his native Uruguay and just a few weeks later he collapsed and on September the 27th at 11 am he passed away


1914, January 11 – Futurist F.T. Marinetti “DOWN WITH TANGO!”

Instead of stylized, virtual sex through tango, people should have the courage to have real sex…this was part of the message of  Filippo Tomasso Marinetti in his famous, hilarious manifesto “Down With Tango and Parsifal” published in Milan, Italy…for Marinetti the tango craze  and the chic tango teas then spreading all over the western world, represented the fads of popular culture and the conventionalism of the bourgeouis…in his attack on the tango he says, “is it amusing for you to look each other in the mouth and examine each other’s teeth, like two hallucinated dentists…to yank, to lunge…is it so much fun to arch desperately over each other, trying to pop each other like two corked bottles and never succeeding…to possess a woman is not to rub against her but to penetrate her!”he was equally disdainful of Wagner and Parsifal and makes a facetious comparison between tango and Tristan and Isolde


Fillipo Tomasso Marinetti, a complex intellectual and provocateur was born on December 22, 1876 (Capricorn) in Alexandria Egypt…his father was an italian lawyer then advising the Khedive Ismael Pasha…a lover of literature and poetry, he graduated from law school but chose to devote himself to writing….in 1908 he published his provocative, passionate “Futurist Manifesto”in the prestigious French daily Le Figaro thus founding the Futurist Movement whose powerful effects continued to be felt to our very day…he founded the Futurist Political Party which was absorbed into Mussolini’s fascist political movement; he was however, an early demonstrator against anti-semitism…though no longer a young man, his nationalist fervor inspired him to volunteer for the Russian front during World War II…Futurism’s influenced was felt in every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, theatre, film, fashion, textiles, literature, music, architecture and even gastronomy.


  • CLICK HERE– to see a visual presentation of “Zang Tumb Tumb”, one of Marinetti’s sound poems…it is an account of the Battle of Andrianople which he witnessed as a reporter for L’Intransigeant


One of the great mysterys in tango is, who wrote the perennial hit “Hotel Victoria”…there is good reason to believe that it was played for the first time for the reopening of the Grand Hotel Victoria on January 4, 1904 in Cordoba, Argentina….it was probably composed by Feliciano Latasa…Latasa was born into a musical family on September 25, 1870, in San Sebastian, the northern basque region of Spain…around the age of 30 he was contracted by fellow Basques in the city of Santa Fe, Argentina to help develop and direct  the orchestra of Sociedad Espana and the traditional a capella Galician singing group “Orfeon Gallego”…it is here that he first came into contact with tango and was immediately smitten by it…..his musical abilities came to the ear of the management of the historic Hotel Victoria who commissioned him to compose a piece to commemorate the completion of the refurbishing of the hotel.


However, would-be imposters emerged over time…on October 20, 1924 Carmen Jimenez,appearing at “La Borachera Del Tango”, announced with great fanfare the premiere of a new tango “La Payasa”…it was not new at all but merely a pirated version of  Latasa’s ”Hotel Victoria”…there was another claim that Hotel Victoria was played for the first time in one of the well-known carnival balls of Politeama…According to historian Eduardo Stilman, “The early editions of this piece do not bear any signature while others are signed with the initials H. D.”….In 1932 a sheet music copy of Hotel Victoria emerged where it is credited to Luis Negron; about Mr. Negron very little is known…still another source argued that Hotel Victoria was composed by a violinist in Rosario by the name of Alfredo Baron…there is anecdotal evidence that suggests that Hotel Victoria was originally an old Spanish melody which was hummed by immigrants arriving in Buenos Aires…of one thing we are sure of, it is one of the most popular tangos in history