On the Other T

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The streets you walk are stone in the old city. People are milling around – some on the move while others stand talking to others or observing others. The smell of street food is constantly challenging you.

Your ear detects music starting from within a nearby building. The rhythms remind you a fusion of African and Latin sounds; then a haunting bandoneon (concertina) and violin join the rhythm. The music draws you into the building like a magnet. The place is alive – some conversing, some focusing on the music, others dancing, and others watching the dancers in sync with the rhythms. Your soul is touched. You are hooked.

The history of many dances is a combination of myths, legends, unrecorded history, known events of time and place, a blending of cultures, and word origins. The cultures of Africa, Portugal, Spain, Britain, Italy, Poland, and Russia integrate with the lower-class locals of Buenos Aires. The result – Argentine Tango.

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The initial spread of Argentine Tango is linked to the sons of wealthy Argentine families who travelled – but at home – Argentine Tango became an important part of their culture – even having a Golden Age (1930s – 1950s) – but then the military dictatorship suppressed the dance for nearly 30 years.

Argentine Tango and Ballroom Tango (American and International) are different dances – not different styles of the same dance. Their 4/4 timing and musical rhythms have some commonality, but not always.

Ballroom Tango is dynamic, dramatic, edgier, staccato, sharp, and strong – but Argentine Tango is sensual, intimate, personal, interpretive, and smooth. The dancer’s alignment to each other and their holds are different – as are the steps and their timing.

Key Elements of Argentine Tango

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The Embrace
The embrace refers to the contact and position of the dancing partners, which can be open, closed, or someplace in between. In the closed embrace, partners connect chest-to-chest, heads touching, and bodies leaning forward (think of an inverted V). In the open embrace, the space between the partners vary. No matter the embrace choice, the bodies should not be arched away from each other as in ballroom. Also unlike ballroom, arms are more inward with the elbows down (not out).

Because Argentine Tango is improvisational, communication must be clear and through the connections between the partners. For the lead, communication is subtle, so every little movement counts. Followers must tune in to detect the subtleties, so some followers close their eyes to immerse themselves into the embrace, the music, and the dance experience.

The Walk
Argentine Tango is two people walking together in the embrace. A step involves moving to all the weight being on one foot (which creates a free foot with no weight). The next step may include another step or a weight transfer to the other foot.

There are many important aspects to the walk. For instance, pushing into the step is paramount over reaching for or falling into it – plus, maintaining a firm and balanced contact between the upper bodies in the embrace.

The are two types of walks: parallel (even) and crossed (uneven).

The video below involves two accomplished Argentine tango dancers – but note – they are just walking. Notice their embrace, weight shifts, posture, and how good they look doing the most-basic steps.

The Patterns/Figures/Steps
Argentine Tango is not choreographed or fixed with predetermined patterns. Although a lead-and-follow dance, the subtle nature allows the dancers to appear moving as one.

Besides the walk (caminar), other common steps/figures include the cross (cruce), leg hooks (ganchos), figure-eights (ochos), turns (giros), opposite-direction turns (contragiros), displacements (sacadas), foot-by-foots (llevadas de pie), cuts (cortes), breaks (quebradas), links (baleos), and others.

Let’s bring back Sebastian and Roxana for a dance involving more than just walks.

Not all Argentine Tangos are created equal because different styles exist that depend on factors as floor size, type of embrace, length of steps, speed of music, and culture. Styles as Salon, Milonguero, Milonga, Tango Nuevo, Canyengue, Vals, and others have their setting in both place and music.

Argentine Tango has found a place on the stage and screen. Tango Argentino was on Broadway in the 1980s. Forever Tango (in the mid-1990s) toured the US as a show before having a long-running stint on Broadway

The big screen has provided a long list of Argentine Tango scenes through the ages. Here’s a snippet. Argentine Tango serves as an important backdrop in The Adios Buenos Aires (1938), The Tango Bar (1988), Tango (1998), Assassination Tango (2002), and Tango Libre ( 2012). Dances scenes also provide impact as in Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), Scent of a Woman (1992), Evita (1996), and Moulin Rouge (2001). Scenes from Shall We Dance (2004) and Take the Lead (2006) fuse elements of Argentine and ballroom into their tango.

For those who want to compare, here’s my past post on Ballroom Tango.

Personally, I know enough Argentine Tango to be dangerous because I rely on my ballroom instincts, musicality, and ability to improvise to be a solid beginner. On the other hand, ballroom also gets in the way of the posture elements necessary in Argentine Tango. I would love to learn more, but the city’s Argentine Tango studio is further away than we prefer.

To conclude this post, below are 4 Argentine tangos to enjoy. Each is well done, different, and full of sensuality. Which did you watch or enjoy the most?

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 337

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Cincinnati has a new major event this weekend, so I hope I get to report on Blink Cincinnati.

Last weekend our handbell choir played a good piece that is very melodic and peaceful (Draw Us In the Spirit’s Tether). To listen to a recording of the song (not by us), click here, then scroll down to find the Listen button under the paragraph, then click Listen.

Also last weekend I participate as a volunteer partner at a dance competition for the dancers with Down Syndrome and other disabilities. What a great event!

In case you missed it, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the 2018 nominees that will be on the ballot – and The Moody Blues received their FIRST nomination.

Thanks to those who are interested with our trips to care for the issues of an elderly aunt. The situation is stressful on multiple fronts, but we are going in the right direction. Meanwhile, the next 6 weeks are critical.

Because of the time involved with an aunt, yesterday was the first time I’ve played golf in many weeks … and the weather has been great for golf!

I like watching for statistical milestones. Comment #75,000 is approaching – Post #2000 could happen in 2018 – along with views #300,000.

In my posts featuring local murals, I encourage readers to visit Resa, the one who motivated me to post about the murals. Cheers to Resa for reaching a milestone: Post #1000 – visit it here.

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Not that I need another top-shelf example of the impact of partisan politics, but the Senate Judiciary Committee negotiated an agreement to issue a subpoena? Just another example of those elected following the party-first mantra.

I find it interesting when opponents of the president/administration of one party complain, but they stay silent when the president/administration of their party does the same.

While polls show the majority of Americans want to improve the Affordable Care Act, Congressional Democrats are pathetically silent with suggestions. For the record, being in the minority is not an acceptable excuse.

Vice President Pence’s actions at a recent NFL game were nothing more than a political stunt at the expense of the American taxpayer while doing nothing about the issue being raised and inflaming the situation.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion defines common cooking terms.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Side salad clearly made from hamburger toppings
Stunned family watches as grandma wolfs down sandwich in 33 minutes
Subway sandwich emits noxious honey mustard spray as defense against predators
Man explains to visiting father that “Flatbread means pizza”
Mom has stacked dinner party roster
Food Network production assistants prep Guy Fieri with dry rub

Interesting Reads
Armenians and strangers
The growing partisan divide in American politics
The hermit of Qadisha Valley
The town losing its language
Generation Z and big questions
(Images) From the longest-running photography competition

For your weekend entertainment, a song and video from many legends that have left us – but fortunately their music stayed behind for us to enjoy. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

 

On London

We started our vacation with 4 days on our own in London, England. Because of its activity, offerings, and place in history, I previously described London as “the most grand” of the cities on our trip. This post features some random thoughts about this wonderful city with images that may or may not go along with the statement. Enjoy!

London is a blend of many cultures – especially white, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Black. Although I’m sure issues and bias exist, successful integration is obvious. The thought of over 300 different languages being spoken by its inhabitants is mind boggling.

London Bridge and Tower Bridge are not the same. Since 1209, 3 different London Bridges have existed – but none of them had towers. (In this image, London Bridge is behind Tower Bridge)

The River Thames has always played an important role in London’s economy and history. Once lined with warehouses, today many of the warehouses have turned into luxury condominiums and apartments or have been destroyed and replaced by upscale buildings for residents. I never realized that “wharf” as an acronym – warehouse at riverfront.

Big Ben is the bell – not the tower – not the clock – not the building. For the record, it sounds in the key of E.

Although Westminster is home to many buildings we associate with London, today they are separate burroughs – and the occupant of the throne (who resides in Westminster) must ask London’s Lord Mayor for permission to enter London.

London was the first city in the world to reach a population of 1 million – today’s population is approaching 9 million.

 

When visiting Buckingham Palace, look for the flag being flown to know whether or not the Queen/King is present. With the Union Jack flying above, we knew Queen Elizabeth was not in the palace as we watched the changing of the guard.

London offers much to see, but many come at a cost $20-25 per person (so married couples thing times two).

London is home to 13 professional football teams: of which 5 are in the Premier League.

Greenwich is a London borough a pleasant ferry ride down the River Thames. The Royal Observatory provides a wonderful view of the Maritime Museum and the Old Royal Naval College below with the city looming in the background.

A toast to London till we meet again.

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On Projecting Color

There’s a camera …

… a camera displaying colors across the building.

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At the far end of the building we find ET.

Another colorful array exists in the opposite corner …

… as well as beautiful designs behind the camera

A patch serves as a hint of the one behind the colors ….

… his face looming large in black and white … but he was a quiet man with a large place in history

The man is an astronaut in a colorful spacesuit …

… holding the camera as he stands on the moon.

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Armstrong is an ArtWorks tribute to Neil Armstrong (1930-2012), an Ohio native who was the first person on the moon. After retiring as an astronaut, Armstrong lived in the Cincinnati area for many years; including time on the engineering faculty at the University of Cincinnati.

ArtWorks is a unique non-profit organization that employs and trains local youth to create art in the community … .and to date responsible for over 125 murals throughout Cincinnati – which many are in the main part of the city.

Basic Information
Armstrong
Location: on the Fifth-Third Bank Headquarters
511 Walnut Street (just off of Fountain Square)
Surface: 7,632 sq feet (709 sq meters)
Creator: Eduardo Korba, world-famous Brazilian street artist

Thanks to Resa (Toronto’s leading lady) whose posts about street art in Toronto and Winnipeg, got me interested in outdoor art in my area. I invite readers to visit Resa’s blog (and tell her I sent you).

To see other posts I’ve done about Cincinnati murals, click here.

On a Beach Walk: No. 11

I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Ahead of me stands a Great Blue Heron – standing still and staring out to sea. Sometimes on the dry sand away from the constant waves. Other times at the water’s edge as water laps over the talons.

No matter where, the heron stares. Not pondering the meaning of life. Not reflecting on life, friends, or children. Undoubtedly working to find the next meal – so the heron patiently stands and stares.

The heron is watching for a struggling fish or crustacean in the shallow water. Standing with its neck coiled and a sharp beak – and together they serve as a sharp dagger action of a harpoon. When the heron walks, it does so slow as it doesn’t want to alarm its prey. But the heron is most commonly seen standing and staring – and all alone.

Some days the heron allows me to walk relatively close, while slowing stepping away. Other times as I approach, the heron flies ahead to a new spot – only to be disrupted as I again approach his new domain. The pattern repeats before the heron flies away to find a new spot to stand and stare all alone.

Some days I see the heron from afar – standing and staring all alone – and no humans nearby. Other times the heron patiently stands and stares at the sea, but with a fisherman – for the heron knows the likely source of the next meal and a possible feast for the day. Now that’s one smart bird.

The fisherman stands to tend the pole that appears to have a fish on the line – this heightens the heron’s attention. The fisherman walks away with his catch – but the heron follows. After freeing the fish from the hook, the fisherman tosses his unwanted fish toward the heron – who slowly approaches, then quickly uncoils its adaptive neck and beak to spear its prey – then swallows it whole.

The heron using its adaptations to survive and eventually produce other Great Blue Herons so the tradition continues over time. After all, the heron is design for a specific role in nature – just like all other living things in the nature that surrounds us.

We live in a self-maintaining wonderful creation that is a mere speck in the grand universe. There is so much to ponder as I walk the beach – a walk that is good for the mind and soul as water refreshes my feet.

On Respect

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Aretha spells it: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Merriam-Webster defines it:

  • a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation
  • remarks having respect to an earlier plan
  • an act of giving particular attention
  • the quality or state of being

A thesaurus provides substitute words: appreciates, considerate, dignity, honor, recognize, regard, courtesy, and more

The Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board writes it.

Respect, it would seem, is in incredibly short supply in America these days. Inappropriate actions, offensive and rude language and a general lack of manners are, unfortunately, becoming the norm. And increasingly, there seems to be little patience or respect for the diverse ideas or experiences of others.

America has become a nation of absolutists in love with their own perspectives and intolerant of differing ones. But what has always made this country great is its diversity of people and their opinions, ideas and culture. …

Respect for each other’s differing opinions and backgrounds opens the door for healthy dialogue as opposed to the often angry, back-and-forth that masquerades as conversation on social media.”

United States Air Force Lt. General John Silveria says it.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 336

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Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria along with the earthquake in Mexico have created much havoc in this part of the world. I encourage all readers to give to a charity of their choice that assists in recovery efforts.

I recently discovered Charity Navigator, a website rating many charitable organizations on their finances; including administrative expenses, fundraising expenses, accountability, transparencies and the percentage of donations that go into programs. Take a look.

Last week my wife’s side of the family recently gathered for a week along Lake Michigan. The town (Grand Haven, MI) has a fountain sitting high and across the river from the town – and this is a musical fountain – one choreographing water and lights to music.

Fiona surpassed 500 pounds. Keep in mind that she was born 6 weeks early at 29 pounds – and the zoo raised her without much guidance from other zoos.

October is going to be a busy month for us as we deal with the elderly aunt – so my presence will be inconsistent.

Several years I ago I was ride high with good seasons from my 3 football teams (2 college and 1 pro). I describe the 2018 edition of the same 3 teams as not-very-good, bad, and worse … how quickly things can change.

Dancing With the Stars is off to a good start with a strong cast. As a whole, the cast is very likable. The weakest and strongest competitors are obvious, but a large portion of the cast has room to develop into a contender.

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The recent fervor regarding football teams and the national anthem has caused many to wince and wonder in a variety of ways. Contrary to what others think, the action has nothing to do with disrespecting the country; nothing to do with disrespecting the flag; nothing to do with disrespecting the military; nothing to do with disrespecting first responders. This article from Polifact is interesting.

After the previously failed vote repealing the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) he was “willing to work with Democrats” …. then he sponsored the latest repeal effort (which at posting time) appears to be doomed.

Not long ago concerning an issue, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) described the solution coming from the center to find a majority – therefore avoiding the extremes. Although a good idea, I’m not convinced there are enough in the Congressional middle to create a majority.

As Republicans look toward tax reform as the next big issue, I won’t be surprised if they forego the normal legislative path. Meanwhile, the current posturing by both sides involves partisan distortion around facts that don’t exist.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for remaining calm during an emergency.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Facebook vows not to hand over users’ medical records to government
Hydra decides to see doctor about painful ingrown head
Archaeologists discover fully intact 17th century belief system in Ohio congressman
Food purchased as souvenir tragically revealed to be available back home
Asian-American actress struggles with being typecast as Sherlock Holmes
Partridges frozen to pear trees
All Else fails

Interesting Reads
Is “scared to death” possible
Genetics and human evolution
Questioning lager beer’s origin
King John’s lost jewels
(Gallery) Pictures in nature from the first round 2017 National Geographic Photographer of the Year Contest 

For your weekend entertainment, enjoy the Fab Four classic sung by Sir Paul. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.