Interview with Patricie :) part I
It was a long time ago when I found this article in a dance magazine. The interview with Patricie struck me, as she was expressing things that I feel so exactly and clearly! I couldn’t say it better. At that moment I knew that these are the exact the words that I would like to share with everyone who loves tango. I would like to tell them to the entire tango world and the best way to do it available to me is to publish Patricie’s words in gancho. Therefore, I am sharing with you, our dear gancho readers, the first part of this interesting interview with Patricie Poráková. The interview was lead by Marek Godovič,whom I would like to thank for giving me the opportunity to publish parts of his work. I have chosen the parts that seemed the most relevant to me in connection with tango. Enjoy reading these lines and exploring new tango ideas 🙂
Patricie is a delicate and beautiful woman. She seems like a fairy, but at the same time you feel her energy and joy of life and movement when she talks about dance, about tango. She grew up in Karlovy Vary, where she had her first encounters with the theater. Later she set out on the journey of exploring movement and dance and she encountered tango, which changed her life. Patricie is a dancer and a choreographer. Most of the time she lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she teaches Argentine tango and holds workshops and seminars. Together with the top dancers of Argentine tango she created her own project – Quilombo. In 2011 she was nominated for an award – The Czech dance platform for the best dancer.
Patricie works together with Veronika Ratajová and Javier Antar on the projects Nourishing Tango Expedition, Kompletango and Tango Vacaciones – tango holidays with and intense seminar and marathon, on which also Eugenia Parrilla and Yanick Wyler are co-operating. Another interesting dance project in her life is Tangonexion, where she is in constant search of “unfindable perfection”, seeking the most accurate dance connection technique and the best teaching method together with Javier Antar, her life and dance partner. For this, they are in permanent observation of their own intuitive and conscious dance…
Thank you for the beautiful words, Patricie, for the insight into your life and work and for the inspiration 🙂
What does dance, and more precisely tango, mean to you?
Dance is part of life, it is a form of sharing, the closest form of sharing for me. I have been asking myself, what is the most I can give in life, and I feel it is dance. When dancing, I feel free.
Tango is about connection, a very intimate sharing, which cannot be expressed in words. I am not able to capture it. When talking about tango, a feeling starts to vibrate inside my guts and tries to get out of me. By far, not each dance that I dance with anyone, anywhere, on any occasion is “the tango”. It is directly connected with my feeling at the moment when I am dancing, which I am sometimes not even aware of, and suddenly there I am, and at the same time there is the presence and all the essence of my partner who I am dancing with. And sometimes it clicks and suddenly you are flying together and the world stops. There is nothing else around you in that particular moment. It is the fastest drug that I’ve ever tried. You are trying to find a way to make it happen again and again and are therefore dancing and travelling to festivals and marathons, learning and waiting for the moment it will again happen… Tango teaches me to be patient. I personally recommend working on a good quality of movement technique, which will give your body a strong base, stability and security.
Technique is like a well-done motorway…
Tango is about intimacy, trust, senses and emotions and about the “fusion” with your partner. Is it possible to learn this at all, and if yes, how?
Tango is intimacy, trust, sensuality, emotion and there is also a lot of pain and sadness, loneliness, a kind of interiorizing, sharing with the person that you are embracing… There is simply every single thing that is inside of us people. The technique of dance, or better – technique of movement – is also very important. You need a very solid technique to be able to make everything function and the magic moment to happen. The technique is like a well-maintained motorway – you can have a great car, but it will rattle when driving on a broken road… That’s why we need a flawless technique – a strong foundation for sharing everything that we are as a person. Only then we can meet in dance and connect with our partner, who is on the same wavelength at the same moment. Sometimes it works, other times it does not – even with the very same partner.
And if you can learn it? Tango is a social dance. It is one of the dances which, at different levels, can be danced by everyone who manages to co-ordinate his/her body. But – mind you – in close contact with the partner. And there we go again. Maybe it is good to remind us of the technique at this point! The most important thing in tango is the embrace. Embrace, meaning a real hug. This is how tango came into being. People needed an opportunity to touch, to hug, to embrace. At the same time they have to manage to move together fluently in the space in a way that the comfort and the softness of the embrace remains unbroken – this is true for both, the open or close embrace. The touch of the embrace should always be the most pleasant thing. (It is not necessary to hold each other by clasping the partner’s body at all cost and not being able to do a pivot, for example.) It always depends on the situation in which you are dancing, which music is playing and how much space you have. If you are in a local milonga, you cannot but dance in the closest embrace. If you are at the practica, where the dancers try out new movements and skills, it is obvious that you will need to relax the embrace so that you will be able to stay comfortable. The open embrace and its history is a story of its own… In tango there are two clearly defined roles that we observe. The man is the leader and the woman the follower, who is the mirror of the leader and follows. The technique is very important for each role, in order to make the dance function even in a close and pleasant embrace.
The role of the man (or the one who leads) is to be clear and decisive yet also sensitive. The dancer must know what he wants. He has to be sure and relentless. He has to listen to the music and respect it. He has to know where he starts the step and where he finishes it; he has to know its direction. He must be receptive towards the partner so that he can find out if she understood him and if she is going where he wants her to go or, if he has to be clearer. It is good for him to know what he wants a few steps in advance and to possibly have a few alternatives. That is all gained through practice. In the beginning I tell to my students to be aware of where they are heading, to decide and then to go there, as if through the body of the woman (the follower).
The woman’s role (that of the one who follows) is not a passive, mopey resigning of herself, because the lady has to be able to maintain her balance on a thin eight-centimeter heel. She has to be aware of her own axis, be receptive and interactive, receiving and react to impulses that the leader is providing. It is an inner activity, exuding calmness on the surface. The woman shouldn’t do any step by herself, even the changing of weight. Each detail or movement of her feet that we see (especially boleo or gancho, which could be dangerous), should be lead by the partner. If we talk about “adornos” or embellishments, they depend on mutual communication in the dance. Now, I would like to link back to the leader’s role. In order to let the dance flow it is important that the leader leads the follower and then follows her movement!
Then we can see the magic when two bodies are touching the floor together, sharply and lightly at the same time, endlessly interlacing and spiraling around each other.
Tango is a dance about life and the experiences that every one of us carries around inside ourselves; about “danced miles”. I don’t know if the miles will ever be sufficient. I don’t know if you can ever finish learning. I feel like I have bought a one-way ticket.
Your project Quilombo, on which you were cooperating with the best modern dancers, was interesting for the critics also. What was the the production about?
Life here in Argentina, particularly in Buenos Aires, and the everyday culture is full of tango. I love it – you land, get off the plane and you hear tango, you take a cab and listen to tango radio and interviews. It is in the city center, in the suburbs, everywhere. Furthermore, many years of tango lessons, nights spent dancing etc. Translations of tango songs from “lunfardo” into Czech. And a lot of good tango. Tango simply got in my way and changed my life.
Three years ago, when I returned to Prague in the Spring, the producer Šárka Pavelková called me and wanted to meet. She suggested I make an own performance. It started to come together like a puzzle. Leandro Furlan has been with me in this performance for the longest period of time. In the beginning it was also Matias Facio and Ivo Saint, and now I have the honor to co-operate with the divine trio Javier Antar, Leandro and Gustavo Colmenajero. I perceived each one of them as an individual personality, which each of them undoubtedly is. Their appearance, their personality and enthusiasm… and so we started to rehearse. I wanted to be the “raw material” through which they express their dance so that we can be more colorful even if we were only a few.
The huge support we got from people, from dancers who have nothing to do with the production, was amazing. The helpfulness and trust from everywhere, from Šárka, Theater Ponec, Nou Tango Mitte (a tango studio in Berlin) and all involved tangueros was the greatest power of all. Thanks to this we were able to realize the project.
to be continued in the following issue…