What I'm about to write is probably heresy to some and tremendously obvious to others,* but still...
(The British Museum; image from the University of Texas at Austin, Department of English)
(Image from hossocan.seesaa.net: French baroque architecture)
I don't really like Geraldine Rojas's dancing--and not entirely on the grounds of "That's not something you should do at a milonga," because let's face it, everybody showboats to some degree in an exhibition dance. That's part of what exhibitions are for: demonstrating skill beyond what you might be able to do within the constraints of the milonga floor.
At best, I guess you could say I have conflicting feelings about her dancing: I think she's extraordinarily graceful and skilled. It's all the kicks and firuletes that make up so much of her distinctive style that I don't care for--not because she doesn't execute them beautifully, but simply because they're often so superfluous. Too often, they have nothing to do with the music. They don't seem to reflect it, or add to it... They just seem to be this thing she does maybe almost automatically.
And it's the more troubling to me because her fundamental technique can be so lovely, and Javier's leading, at their best as a couple, could be beautifully musical. All her adornments obscure that, when they aren't connected to the music, like the overly decorated facade of an otherwise elegant building.** She can hardly seem to take a step without kicking all around it. I wish she'd let the underlying lyricism shine through more on its own.
These videos sort of break my heart because of this--because I actually like so much what is going on underneath all those embellishments:
I would just about kill to be able to simply take a step as gracefully as she can. But she can't seem to just let that be enough. (Especially later in each video, when she really starts to slice 'n' dice.) I guess she performs this style of tango better than many, but the style itself still seems marred by too much ornament.
So here is what I take from this for my own dancing:
Not to try to be [what can only be] a pale imitation of Geraldine or anyone else, but always to try to be the best possible version of myself.
Always to stay connected to the music. Not to make adornments out of habit, as I have sometimes found myself doing, but only to use them to help me reflect and interpret the music.
To strive for classical grace in my dancing and let that speak for itself, rather than falling prey to the temptations of the baroque--and [a serious struggle lately] to stop trying to show off. It might be a question of what I really want in a dance: do I have exhibition goals in mind on the social floor? But excellent technique and musicality will speak loudly enough to the people whose opinion matters most to me; they've always done so in the past.
* I had a very dysfunctional computer for a long time, so I'm pretty sure this is old news to the rest of the world. I hear Geraldine hasn't even danced with Javier in years, so, I mean, there you go. But I'm only now getting to watch more of their videos and form my opinions about what I see.
** Not to say that baroque art forms can't be quite lovely in their way. Here is where my analogy breaks down, I guess, because I like a lot of what I've seen and read of various baroque art forms--but it can get to be too much. I guess the most I can say is that I don't care for a baroque tango style.
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