Igor Polk, January 22, 2006
About Paulo Araujo ( or scroll down for the interview ).
( or how to find Paulo in Rio de Janeiro and other useful links about Tango in Brazil )
I took Paulo Araujo class on Jan 20 in Monte Cristo, it was so inspirational! He's made 2 show dances, one with Stella (!) and another one with a never-danced-with-Paulo lady. The avalanche of fabulous modern dance elements in a highly musical and thrilling dance and with the great respect to tango roots. Paulo is such a great improviser and masters variety of close embrace styles.
- There are many modern tango teachers around, why Paulo?
- Yeah, there are a lot of them around. You know what, when "they" produce partnering with Stella a world-class show dance and then drag a student out of the applauding crowd and make it even better, then I might agree that "they" approach Paulo's mastery! The second Paulo's show-partner was a 1.5-years-in-tango ( but ballerina ) never-danced-with-Paulo lady. She is a Homer's student.
The next weekend I took all Paulo's workshops in the Lake Merritt Center and Renaissance Ballroom, 9 hours: Complex interactions, Advanced waltz, Fluidity of movement, Creation and improvisation, Advanced milonga, Interruptions and surprises.
Quality of workshops, deep philosophical and spiritual value, and skill of presentation astounded me! I am a new tango man now, newborn! Paulo Araujo teaches not figures, but the whole concepts, classes of movements. He teaches not how to step, but how to dance. With enough attention to details. Multidimensionality of his work serves as an example to anyone familiar to lecture practice.
Paulo is a modern dancer with his own well defined school and method. Nuevo tango dancers as well as Neo tango dancers will find it most beneficial as well as classical tango dancers - he is good for everyone. But especially he is good for advanced dancers to get opened to new horizons and directed to new creative frontiers. That what it seems to me.
Teaching creativity, what Paulo is mostly doing is a very difficult task. Even harder than to be creative yourself. And Paulo has found a method and many exercises to make people be creative. I was deeply involved in research of creativity ( so called TRIZ - Theory of inventive problem solving ) and Paulo's teaching is on top of the world's most advanced techniques in this field. I have learned a lot not only as a dancer, but as a lecturer, and a problem solver. I received enlightenment and emotional hype of incredible strength, only comparable to dancing days and nights long at the best tango festivals.
* * *
2006 January 25
- I'm sold. Where do I find this guy?
on Wednesday, January 24, 2006
Conducted by Stella Ling, from questions posed by Igor Polk, filmed by Diane Sosnoski
1. Please tell us briefly about yourself, how did you come to tango?
P: It is because of a characteristic that has accompanied me since I was a child, that is to search and to try to understand things. Tango is a fertile ground for any type of investigation.
2. How did you come to San Francisco? Who helped you to establish your presence here
P: First I have to say how I come to the United States. I had the luck to meet someone named Julie Coadin, who introduced me to Phoebe in Chicago. Then Phoebe introduced me to Stella. Since then I have been coming to San Francisco about twice a year for the last four years. And up to now I continue with friends that I have made.
3. You are a contemporary tango dancer. How did the “classical” roots of tango affect your dancing and teaching.
P: My dance is a dance of the street. I observed and had the good fortune to study with some very good teachers. I also had some partners who had a “classical” tango background and who required me to look at myself and who corrected me constantly because my partners were very demanding. So I had to improve my dancing and my posture. So my school was the street and my partners constituted the “classical” part of my training.
4. What distinguishes your style?
P: I don’t have a style per se, but I have had difference influences at different moments of my life with various styles. Influences from old people who danced like monkeys, influences from classical dancers who looked like they carried a stick on their bodies where the most important thing was posture, and influence of bodies that were free and happy. I look at myself, I try to put in my movement my truth. This generates a dance which is difficult for me to define. It is a synthesis of sharing the moment with my partner, facilitating her movement, interpreting the music and being contaminated by the movement of the other. And from these, come the movements.
5. What would you tell someone who wants to dance like you?
P: It is a great honor to be considered a reference point for another man. A man could see another man dancing well, but to want to dance like that man, that implies other things. I would advise them to search, work on a few things to look at who has experience, to always doubt whatever is told to them, to try it for themselves with their bodies to see if it works, to investigate, to practice, and to find a truth for themselves. Jump in without rationalizing and look at yourself.
6. What qualities are possessed by women you like to dance with?
P: The woman must have personality. The woman who has her own center of gravity is much more interesting to dance with. It is reflected in her body, her replies, and her proposals. The body speaks. There are women who accompany well, and then there are others who are fully there.
7. What would you advise to a woman who wants to experience the most joy in dancing?
P: First to be in the present with all their senses, not to expect anything, not to be either in the past or the future, but just to be there fully in the present and to feel the pleasure of being there. Perhaps with this we will have some moments of integrating our frequencies, and the result of this can only be good. There are no mistakes. I suggest to ladies to be present in her body and experience, to be full within her own limits. Pleasure for me in tango has to be shared.
8. How did you find the San Francisco tango scene?
P: It is a healthy tango scene. I like it very much. San Francisco is a unique place because of the mountains, the ocean, the curves. It is a unique place in the United States, there is no other city like it. The community has to thank the founders and those who came after and contributed so much to the tango scene. A number of things are very special in San Francisco which nurtured the tango seed to become as it is now. It is a good movement. I have a lot of pleasure in working here and luckily I have also made many friends here.
9. Is there anything else that you would like to express to your other students and friends all over the world?
P: I have had the good fortune to be in some unique and special places and to meet some very special people. They have each helped me discover some special truths about myself and my relation to them. I thank them for all they have shared with me.
It is not quite easy to find. So, he has a lesson on Friday in Cafe Xango in Rio de Janeiro Botafogo neighborhood (Botofogo), if I am not mistaken (thank you, friends!). He has a milonga on Fridays in:
Local: Café Xangô
Rua da Passagem, nº172, 3ºandar -Botafogo
Tel: 2245-1274 - R.104 ou 9708-5686 Preço do ingresso: R$ 10,00
Here are some sites you can find info and opinions about Paulo:
http://www.momentosdetango.com.br/index.php?mes=10&ano=2005 | another one: http://www.momentosdetango.com.br/index.php?mes=9&ano=2005
http://www.riotango.com.br/xango.htm - photos of Xango milonga in Rio ( foto, photo ) |
Here is the Stella's website where she shares her experience in Rio |
Other places to dance in Rio ( not Tango, samba, salsa ) |
History of the Tango Community in Rio de Janeiro