Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Endogenous or Exogenous Tango?

Chicho Frumboli and Roxana Suarez
Sybille, my wife, and I had this discussion at dinner on our balcony about a Parisian film maker, Roberto, whom we know.  Roberto has worked meticulously to put together the feeling of tango in  many short films of dancers at European encuentros.  He also films at some tango festivals, which unlike the smaller events, includes star performances and visually appealing moves of many of people which attend these events. Films of stars dancing may take only a few hours of editing to produce.  Roberto's preferred theme is filming about endogenous tango--the internal feeling of tango, his passion. He has a talent for showing how people share​ those hard-to-catch elements that surround tango beyond just the dance, beyond the flashy moves. He captures the embrace, smiles, requests to dance without words.

What we find bizarre is that even with the his many admirers, advocates of close-embrace tango, his hundreds of hours of effort seem to be hardly noticed with many fewer shares, comments or "likes," compared to the exponentially more views of his work when he filmed stage-tango stars Chicho and Roxana, for example. His work was showered in approval with 57 thousand views in a short time. Why does exogenous tango, the outward tango, receive so much attention?  Perhaps we are visual animals.

We too were at first drawn to tango because of tango's visual appeal. Perhaps tango's ​outward ​appeal continues on even as we "grow up" in tango.  Many professionals are filled with endogenous grace and you can see it.  But a great dancer can lose this, while still retaining exogenous grace.  They are not synonymous! Hopefully as we grow more skillful, the inner wonder of endogenous tango eclipses the desire to look graceful.  As much as we like his popular films, such as Roberto's film of Chico and Roxana dancing, we hope you will peruse his many other works.  His best work, we think, is where he portrays the feeling, the music's magical draw, the aroma, the butterflies-in-your-stomach ambiance, the magic of tandem, improvisational grace. 
Posted by Roberto SZ Projections on Thursday, June 9, 2016
Isn't this true in any sort of artful expression: We seek to inwardly experience the awe of beauty by first being in awe of the outward expression of beauty. However, it is our conviction that wanting to reproduce the outward or exogenous tango of performance will only lead to frustration, unless we dedicate our lives to be professional performers. Even then, professionals can lose the inner wonder of grace. Musicians, painters, sculptors, writers--any artist--can easily loose the joy of creating art by seeking to please others. Tango is no different.

Improvisational tandem dance is the only visual art form in which the creators are simultaneously the creation. As we are learning to dance, the day comes when grace is felt throughout our body. Embodied grace, although visually graceful, has no interest of how it looks. Endogenous grace is a wild horse running on the open plains, a cheetah's grace running faster than any other animal on earth.

Endogenous grace is the lone woman on the beach
practicing yoga as the sun rises, glad to be alone with no one to watch her.

Endogenous grace floods our blood circulation with endorphins. This keeps dancers returning and enjoying tango for years. So dance! Not for the crowds. Not for the mirror but for the feeling of being the embodiment--even the incarnation--of music. That's endogenous tango.

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Photo/film credits:

Other ambiance-filled short films we like from Roberto:

Paris encuentro:  Dans les Bras (in your arms), where I met him for the first time.

 Barcelona encuentro:  Abrázame.

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