Raymond and Lily - Champion of Tango Salon 2011 in Asia and 2014 in China

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An online Interview by a Japanese Website

Interview by Keiko Okawa, who is responsible for the Japanese version of 10tango.com (a tango web site from argentine).

Congratulations on the 8th asian championship! I would like to ask you a few questions to write an article on our site.

1. Please tell us what you think of your victory on this championship.
We do not expect that we will win actually, we just try to get some experience, we didn't even have time to practice before the trip... and after we arrive in Japan, we can see there are many good dancers in the competition this year, and they are all in a high level... so, we just  told ourselves to do our best, and didn't really expect to win.. and we are organizing Laila y Leandro workshohp in HK in July 20-August 29, but now, we have to go to BsAs in August!!!!...

2. Is this your first time participating in asian championship?
Lily: Yes, first time in Salon championship, we have join, once the World Stage Tango championship in Busan, Korea before in 2008, that time, it's the first time we join any competition but it only have Stage category, we went into semi-final.  And this time, it's the first time we joined Salon Tango competition.

3. When did you start dancing tango?
Lily: We started about 7 years ago... together... I wanted to learn tango, and i brought him to a milonga to watch, and the next week, he asked me "when are we going to milonga again?"... it's the first time he is interested in any dance, but i have been dancing a lot more, ballet, modern dance, etc... but for me also, after starting tango, i dropped all other dances, i can't spare time for any other dance anymore...
4.When did you start OTRO TANGO in Hong Kong?
Lily: We started Otrotango in 2006... when we are requested to give classes to beginners, so, we think we have to have a name... now, we have it like a dance company, a dance group... we have regular group classes, we organize practicas and events like outdoor milonga, which is totally free for the public so as to promote tango on the street, as i myself came across tango on the street in France, when i saw a tango show there, i can't move that i watch the show till it finished. if it was not on the street, i might not have known tango at all... so, i tried my best to give such opportunity to more people too. Cos, tango has changed my life, and i think it might change others as well... I was an architect before, i quit my job 1 year before to work full time in tango... it's really a very big change for me... but so far, i enjoyed it, although i earn much less money, but i enjoyed my life more... in a difference way.
5. I heard you would invite Laila & Leandro this year.  Could you tell us the name of maestros whom have you invited to Hong Kong?
Lily: We have only invited Laila y Leandro... before, we just suggested some names to the organizer, Tangotang in HK.

6. I heard you were in Buenos Aires in 2008 and 2011. Have you participated in any competition of tango here?
NO, we have just been there 1 month in 2006, and 3 month for myself in 2008 (Raymond just stayed 1 month), and in 2011, 5 weeks... everytime, not too long as we have to work in HK still... i mean the classes, and Raymond's full-time job as an interior designer, he has his own company, so, he can't leave work too long...

7. Could you tell us the name of your teachers and argentine maestro who influenced you? 
Lily: We are quite mixed, as HK invited all kinds of teachers mostly Nuevo style teachers who can speak more English and willing to travel more at the earlier years... the first time, we go to BsAs in 2006, we tried more than 10 teachers all different styles, the 2nd time in 2008 is the time when we first came across Classical traditional tango, and it has a big impact on us, the elegance, the embrace, it's different... and Laila y Leandro were amongst the first couple who taught us classical tango and have been training us in Stage tango later on, and coach us and giving support to us in many aspects of our tango life.  But, as they only visit HK once a year, in general, we have been learning from many other teachers who are teaching in festivals or in our BsAs trips, including Javier Rodriguez y Andrea Misse, Marisol Morales y Alejandro Larenas, Pablo Giorginni and Noelia Coletti, Francisco Forquera y Carolina Bonadventura, Natalia Hills ... etc...  For us, we believe in learning from one couple you like and you trust and keep going back to them from time to time to check your progress and clean up your bad habits as they know you well and can help you the most, later, when we are more mature with the core technique, we also try to get inspiration from different teachers and try not to limit ourselves into one style.  

Recently, the one who has most impact on Raymond should be Gabriel Misse, and Carlos Perez ... we took classes from Gabriel in BsAs this year in February, and we go to Carlos Perez Practica in Sunderland. They both has important inspirations to us.
8.  Salon Tango and Tango Nuevo, which do you like more?
Lily: We do both before, we try not to define ourselves or restrict ourselves in the beginning, we learn both... we don't like people who tried to separate styles and give preference to one over the other like one is more superior, the other is less, we don't like this attitude, for us, we tried to be open-minded at the learning stage,  but our body later on, will tell us what we feel like doing, and then that's you... and now we like more and more dancing Salon, the music, the way to use the body, the power of the embrace, we just like it this way, but we don't dislike nuevo, sometimes, when we listen to some good nuevo music, we want to move too... but we dance in a different way...

     Do you feel any difference in mental state when you dance each one? Yes, when we dance Salon, it's something which we immerse ourselves more deeply and more totally in different aspects, no matter the feeling, the embrace, the music, the movement, the emotion, the sensitivity towards your partner, the elegance of body alignment that you are aware to keep... everything, and you have to dance with your heart, and be true.... but in Nuevo, may be more particular in some aspects, some music is very moody, we go into emotional expressive way, some music is more playful we, play... but most of them are more movement based... and we can do a bit more experiment ...

We would like to talk about stage tango as well, as in HK or may be some other Asian cities, other than Japan, people are not quite fond of Stage tango, some might even think Stage tango is not real tango... but we believe, we just have the tango you like and the tango you don't like, that's it, there's no definition of what's real and what's not real, and Stage tango is one important aspect of tango, the performing aspect, and Salon tango is the social aspect. For us, learning stage tango has given us trainning on some very important aspects of tango that is helping us in dancing Salon, the energy, the control, the expression, the awareness of alignment of body...  it's just how you manage these in your dance to make it more stage like or more salon like... a lot of Salon dancers practice stage as well, and we can't see there's any contradiction between them. Some really good stage performance has moved me and make my heart burn inside actually... in Japan, it's the reverse in the previous years, but Salon tango is gaining more importance recent years, and there's a lot of dancers in good levels in both coming up. That's good.

In Salon Tango, we felt there're something more in it everytime we go deeper into it, we haven't been able to say exactly what it is... we feel it, we are inspired by some dancers in our BsAs trip this year, not necessary the famous ones, it could be just someone in milongas, we started to feel more about how tango is like, and we tried to take the feelings into our bodies... but can't explain by words...  it's not that we want to keep it as a secret, it's just we haven't been able to put it into words about the "something" that we felt... may be later in the future, we can figure it out more clearly...

9. I think every year dancers from Asia who particpate in the Asian Championship increase. Could you tell us your ideal , of "Asian Tango"?
Lily: We think that in Asia, tango is spreading faster these recent years, with Youtube, with more Argentine teacher travelling to Asia, and with more good local teachers in different cities... For us, we have a feeling that we Asian has something quite similar with the quality of Argentinian, that may be is the subtlety in expression, but the burning passion inside... i don't know if it's true, but we feel it this way... and Javier once said something similar. And for us Asian, may be we are more used to respect the tradition and the culture of tango. We haven't been dancing in many other countries other than Asia and BsAs, so, we can't tell what's the difference with Europe or other places, but someone who has danced in nearly all part of the world told me that, Asia, especially Korea, Taipei, may be have the kind of milonga atmosphere closest to that in BsAs, he may not refer to the level of course, but the attitude of dancing.
However, what i found the most different for Asian tango and tango in BsAs, is the flirting in the dance... Argentinian are much better than us Asian in this aspects... most of the times, we Asian are too subtle...

10. If you donīt mind, could you tell us your real name?
Lily: Real name? Lily is my real name, it's in my passport!... my Chinese name is Cheng Lai.  Raymond's Chinese name is Chu Wing Hong.

The original Japanese version is here at