Carlos Libedinsky is an Argentine musician, composer and, producer. Born in , he is most renowned for his neo-tango project, Narcotango. Before tango, Libedinsky transited through different genres, such as rock, pop, blues, medieval, and renaissance music. In , he founded the duet Los Mareados , where he was also a composer.
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CH: Each day that we go to a milonga, do an exhibition or a show, we are writing tango history, and this is a contribution. Many young people have gotten involved with tango; we are living the beginning of a powerful era. The genre is here to stay, there is no way that it will become hidden or marginalized again. It is constantly evolving. CH: They are completely lost! I learnt with the last great milongueros, I took the information directly from them.
The problem is that we missed something in the teaching, I take total responsibility, and other colleagues should do so as well. I was crazy about creating, because I saw a new vein in the evolution of the movement.
I threw myself into that, and I lost the way to be able to pass on the tango essence that I have very much inside. What changes have you noticed in the dance?
CH: Before, people worked with precision and a particular aesthetic, in a functional and mechanical way that gave it a form, and a style. Making a movement or taking a step implied an expression of the entire body. Currently, not only has the essence been lost but the weight of the dance as well, its density and importance. To me, this new tango lost a bit of the respect for what tango is. One breathed an air of respect that cannot be found now.
Maybe I still feel it in some milongas like Glorias Argentinas, La Baldosa or in places that are further from the circuit of younger tango. I also took that essence from you and the dancers of your generation. This also has to do with the new movements and dynamics that are used, if they are not performed with some power they turn out cold.
CH: Ten years ago, when I went to milongas, I could stay watching a couple go once around the entire dance floor because there was something that attracted me, made me keep my eyes on them.
You see a couple circling and the next one behind them is doing the same thing, and the rest as well. Except if I go to the few traditional places that are left. CH: This demands a lot of things! You know it, because you are a teacher as well, that currently, the available tango pedagogy is much more decoded than ten years ago and so it is easier to learn.
Today you do a volcada and a colgada and it is the same because they are there, commercially speaking, in the same package. Then, between doing a sandwichito or a volcada… people do a volcada!
In tango people are self-centered, there is much individuality. They are not going to make a sandwichito to enjoy that moment, but whatever shows them more and better. In the musical field Astor Piazzolla broke with everything but you listen to it and it is tango. I see men and women that only worry about how they are seen from the outside. CH: Yes, but those milongueros had respect, delicacy and sensibility, it was totally different.
I know my role is contradictory, because I also collaborated in generating this young movement. The value of tango has been diluted. That is why I say that many dancers are lost, they barely hold on to each other to dance and for two hours like zombies, it is very sad.
There are the traditionalists who defend roots to the death and then there are those modern or alternative dancers, in other words, new tango. But if you think about it there is nothing in the middle. There is no fusion, it is one group against the other, and it makes me sad because in reality we are all together. I was into rock-and-roll; I had long hair and played the drums. But when I went to take a class with Ricardo Barrios and Victoria Vieyra, I embraced my dance partner for the first time and I got goose bumps.
That magical moment was my beginning. I walked in and I saw you. I wanted to dance with you but second-guessed myself. I went back and forth until I asked you. I remember we were talking, then we embraced each other and in that moment I felt 40 years of tango.
In the embrace, do you understand? It was simply from the way in which you held me. For me that was the most powerful moment of the tanda. Then we danced for a long time. It was great, we did all sort of things, I enjoyed myself. But the moment of that embrace, like the one of my first class and some others, have marked me in regards to my relationship with the dance. With very few people have I been able to feel the same way, much has been lost.
My wish for the dance of tango, then, is that the shared intensity returns, in the soul. Not to stay in the surface, but to feel it inside. That the genre evolves from that intimacy. The essence of tango is in the embrace and the person you are dancing with.
Thank you! Can guidelines be transmitted to improve creativity in improvised exhibition? What provokes in me sensation or emotion makes me move. Every tango is a different and powerful moment. What motivates me is being on the edge, on the verge of falling, and getting away with it. Improvisation has that. I try to connect with Juana Sepulveda, my partner, to create and artistic moment, of transmission or expression, right there, in that moment.
I do not prepare it nor do I think about it. CH: No, I never did that. Maybe I do some steps that I experimented with in the milonga, which is my place of practice. I have danced with orchestras of great prestige, in theatres all over the world, without doing choreography. Depending on the case maybe I prepare the entrance and the exit, but not the dance in itself.
CH: It has to do with the fact that I was a musician for many years, which is why I understand its structure, whether it is Osvaldo Pugliese, Anibal Troilo, Piazzolla or Electronic tango. The only thing I plan is a selection of tangos that I know well, to be able to play at precise moments. I try to always give what I think belongs there. There are times when you do a sequence that has a certain duration, that has been made a certain way with a determined phrasing, where in addition to creating you are leading your partner….
CH: I know that phrase and how long it lasts, I know when it has to end and I prepare the movement along the way so that it fits perfectly with the music. CH: It is crucial. Many of the professional dancers know the tangos but not in depth. There should be a stronger research of the music. There is richness to be learned in relation to the music. It is infinite! You have a style and many people follow your way to managing the music, but I see a certain lack of comprehension.
How do you see the new current in relation to exhibition dancing? CH: There are many professionals who have captured this new information and want to put it in their choreographies. But this material is not refined yet, it needs time to mature until it consolidates itself and can be used as an element of expression.
CH: I think it is a question of giving it time. The Site. Search this site. Any pending undertaking? M: There is no design or pre-established plan?
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