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

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Korea Tango Trip ... my tango idol Mariana and Sebastian           - 3 Jan 2008
i still feel very happy after the Korea Tango Trip ... cos, i have finally met my tango idol Mariana who is even much better than i've expected. 
Their Classes
Mariana and Sebastian are not only good in performance (especially improvisation), their classes are excellent! Very structured, detail, clear, their explanation are so analytical and clear that i believe they have really been thinking about the movements million times ... and they are very attentive, they'll run to you from another side of the room if they spot anything wrong with your movement, ... and more importantly, they are demanding! they require you to do it well, even if your reaction is just 1/2 second slower or faster than it should be, they'll ask you to try again and again ... and even more, they are not just teaching movement as many other nuevo teachers do, they teach you to express, to feel, and to care about your partner ... to enjoy the feelings inbetween the movements. I think that's why, they are so different ... they dance to nuevo music with so much feelings.
Their Practicas
In this tango workshop, there's something we've not come across before, that is, they've practica everyday after the 4 classes, the practicas are required by the teachers actually. (And it's so scheduled that we actually don't have time to have diner!) But, i really appreciate this arrangement. As i believe that's how the 2 couples (Sebastian-Mariana and Chicho-Juana) come up with innovative movements and refine their dance by practicing together.  Actually, these practicas are the time to put what you learnt in the classes that day together, and the teachers will incidentally, demonstrate some variation of them if they saw you can handle them. But, most of the time, the teachers were practicing amongst themselves also, and we can see how they try things out ... very interesting, sometimes, we all stop to watch them making it looked like the practica for them, instead of for us ... and then, we'll be shouted by them to keep practicing ... I believe such practicas are what serious dancers need, and what we need here in Hong Kong.
Their Performances
I love all their performances in Korea, those choreographed and those improvised. I have been impressed by their performances 3 years before and i watch every video clips of them on Youtube. All, i can say is ... they are just SOOOOOOOOOO good! Their life performances are even better than their clips in Youtube ... The thing that i like them is that, they are definitely nuevo dancers if you have to define them, but they have very strong classical background (with more than 15 years of classical training), their dance style can range from very classical to very nuevo, and they dance nuevo music with lots of feelings, nuevo tango is not just movements and movements, they dance nuevo which move your heart as much as classical tango.
Their Musicality
Apart from their movement, their body which i appreciate very much in their style, i like their musicality as well. They can dance to non-tango music, and still you can find the excitement and essence of tango in their dance. Some people may think that many music cannot be danced to, like the nuevo music, the electronic ones, the alternative ones ... but they even dance to Depeche Mode!! and Classical music ... I believe that we can dance tango to any kind of music, the only thing is that you have to have feeling with the music, the music is not just any beats to you ... i think the only problem that people find it difficult to dance to these kind of music is to have enough vocabulary to express the music ... But Sebastian and Mariana do it very well, they can dance to very fast beats and they know when to stop to let the audience breath, and they use slow movements to express the tension of the music ... and ... sometimes, they play with the note of music like a child ... (You can watch the video clips of them in our website to learn more about these) ... but once they dance to traditional tango music, they are very classically elegant!!!  
I believe they are one of the representative in nuevo tango, but nuevo is not just a style, it's opening up the possiblities of tango in the way to express ... in music and in movements ...
Personally ...
I don't expect them to be nice and friendly before i go to the trip, but ... it turns out Mariana is very nice, she deliberately stayed behind with Chicho to dance with the people in the last milonga, and Raymond is very lucky that he danced nearly 2 tandas with her ... i'm still too timid to ask Chicho to dance ... but it's already very unexpected that we received kind words of encouragement from Mariana after our casual performance there in one of the milongas ...
... They are excellent dancers, nice people ... we hope sometimes later, we can have them in Hong Kong soon ! ... and I hope we can organize such a practica sometimes later ...
--  Lily   3 Jan, 2008

Javier's Words ... we cried

Javier and Andrea's Classes gave me very big impact, especially their teaching or "preaching" on attitude of real tango. In one of the classes, we was so moved that we cried, and many of you came to us to ask why, what make us so touched ... we would like to share that with you here ...  

Javier and Andrea's Classes gave me very big impact, especially their teaching or "preaching" on attitude of real tango. In one of the classes, we was so moved that we cried, and many of you came to us to ask why, what make us so touched ... we would like to share that with you here.  

In that particular class, he talked about to dance with all your heart, which all of us know this already, but what striked me was one sentense he said, " ... before i performed last night, i prayed that i can feel ...  I'm afraid of NOT feeling, afraid of one day, i won't feel as much ... but i don't know why you guys seems to be all too afraid of feeling ..." i heard this and i was plunged into deep reflection, and he kept on saying "... To feel in tango, there's nothing about sex, or whatever beyond the dance, tango is a very pure form of love, to care about one person, just in one dance, and after that, it's your own life, there's nothing to be afraid of ... " and i said to myself, yes, many of us are too afraid that we have "feeling" with someone when we danced, or that we might transmit false feeling to others, and we tried to kill the feelings or restrain ourselves, why are we so afraid of feeling? ... and he continued, "... when i dance, or perform, i try to feel, because i know if i don't feel anything, my partner won't be able to feel anything and the audience just won't feel anything at all ... a good show to me is one when you receive very little applause, cos people are so moved and absorbed into what they've seen that they cannot react but with just a brief sigh of wao ... " After his speech, i guess not only me, but many of us became silent and was touched, he took the chance and asked us to use all our feeling to dance a tango, just one tango ...  

I danced with Raymond. We started the tango and through the embrace which i had already felt something different, and when we danced, we let our feeling come out, and the more it's released, the more we felt we were connected, and the conversation became so intense that i started to weep, cos i have never felt Raymond has a feeling so strong, that it really moved me ... and i was also responding with all my feelings without caring what i'm dancing at all, all i want at that time is to express all i felt, and ... when the music ends, we were so impassioned that we just can't help bursting into tears ...  

For quite some time after some tango trances i've experienced at the early stage of my tango life, i was all too concerned about the techniques and every details of posture, dynamic, embrace, musicality, etc ... i know i have to dance and feel, but if any one of these aspects is not going right, i cannot let go, it was quite a struggle for me, but this time, Raymond said i was totally connected ... finally, i surrendered ...  

I believe this kind of feeling is not limited to couples, it was out of the love for tango, not the love between 2 persons. Of course, with someone you trust, it might be easier (or even more difficult, this is very complex) ... but the point i am trying to make is that, don't be afraid to feel and to express.    

Another day, he again talked about the attitude that we embraced, he saw we were all absent in the embrace, and he said "... imagine you go out of the class and get crashed by a car, what you can remember of the last tango would be such a lousy embrace ... how bad it is ... " again i was astonished, i don't expect someone who has danced more than 10 years, and nearly everyday in the 10 years, still treasure every tango so much. His words again, reminded me to treasure every tango that i dance, no matter the partner has good technique or not, so long as he/she dances with respect, use our hearts to feel, if we can do this, every tango would be beautiful.

"... I'm afraid of NOT feeling ..."