After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

So I Thought I Could Dance

If you love dance, the American (I haven't seen other versions) TV reality competition So You Think You Can Dance is an amazing display of virtuosity and talent. I'm completely addicted, not only because of the phenomenal young dancers, but to the choreographers who are given full credit and exposure on this show. I'm also impressed with the hostess, Cat Deeley, who not only is beautiful--that's a given--but it is apparent that she cares very much for all of the contestants, and never is at a loss for the right things to say. Even the judging panel, although everyone seems to love to hate them, tries to give constructive criticism and appears to want all the dancers to be all they can be. Unlike other shows, the music selected is played in the original versions, not rewritten for the studio band as in Dancing With the Stars, and it makes a huge difference.

Thank goodness for torrents, because I'm able to download the show and watch it immediately here in Buenos Aires. While Ruben is watching futbol, I can keep up to date with what's happening in my home country in dance.

Since the age of three and my first ballet class, I wanted to be a professional dancer. I thought if I worked hard enough, my body would do all of those things it had to do. God knows, I had the spirit, the heart and the soul and the emotion. And I had the training. How I wish someone would have told me that I didn't have the body!

Even in those days, a Balanchine body was everything. The truth is, if I had been been born earlier perhaps I could have made it, judging by the films and photos I've seen of ballerinas in the 30s and 40s.

Tamara Karsavina - Taking class c1920

VideoLife Uzerinden Izle

How standards have changed in a few decades. What does the future bring? To my mind, how can any dancer do more with their bodies than the kids on TV?

But watching these teenagers on SYTYCD has brought home to me that never in a million years could I have done the tumbling, the stunts, the crazy lifts and tricks that all of them can do with such apparent ease. The athleticism is beyond amazing. I was never an acrobat or a candidate for Cirque du Soleil.

As for me, I did have a career in dance--but not as a classical ballerina. Thank goodness I had what it takes for belly dancing, and for tango. I also danced various forms all my life--jazz, flamenco, salsa, tap--and worked as a newspaper dance critic and the dance librarian for Los Angeles Public Library.

But honestly, if someone, anyone of consequence, had told me early on that all of the hard work in the world wouldn't make me a ballet dancer, that anatomy can determine destiny, I would have been grateful. Probably nobody wants to discourage a youngster from their dreams, but sometimes it can be a blessing to know to put one's efforts elsewhere. I majored in dance at UCLA and kept persevering, but way down deep I had accepted that I could be a better choreographer than dancer, but I didn't know how to go about making a living at it without a stage career first.

Like Edith Piaf, however, I regret nothing. And how lucky was I that late in life the tango found me and changed me and my future forever.

Mia Michaels, fabulous choreography and judge this season on SYTYCD, advised Robert last night, who had danced an emotional contemporary piece, to let the movement flow from the emotion--otherwise it's just dancing steps. Judge Adam Shankman said the Jose needs to dance the "intention" of the piece, and someone else said, that you need to "become the music". The same exact things can all be said of tango!

1 comment:

Angelina Tanguera said...

I thought when I watched you dance that you had trained as a dancer - there is that understanding of body movement that only trained dancers have! It is so fundamental to dancing well and I so wish I had had that opportunity. My 3 children all learnt to dance and my oldest son went on to professional classical ballet - perhaps because I so wanted to learn myself! I too love SYTYCD and we have an Aussie version - so we get a double dose! The Aussie standard is also brilliant - and I know some of the judges as they were my childrens'dance teachers.