zondag 22 februari 2009

Festival Paper

We are currently working at the new Doble Ocho festival newspaper. It will be 2 times bigger than the first edition with lot´s of interesting articles, photo´s, the festival programme and other usefull information. Whe have input from dancers all over Europe and from Leo Vervelde, who wrote his experiences and vision about the development of Tangomusic in Buenos Aires and Europe in the last century. Leo was co-founder of the Sexteto Canyengue and now Artistic Manager of the Rotterdam Conservatorium, Section World Music - Argentine tango.

The paper will be first distributed during the El Corte Chained salon of next march 7 / 8 and later will be published through the festival website too.

Tango Music Concurso

After the last edition's introduction, the tango music concurso is now a structural part of the Doble Ocho festival. The Concurso wants to stimulate and discover new musical talents, and offer them a podium and possibilities for a breakthrough in the professional circuit. Also the Concurso wants to be an international meeting place for musicians, podium programmers, festival directors, music labels and of course tango dancers and music lovers. With the professional jury the Concurso stands for quality and realises a selection in tangogroups and musicians. With music masterclasses organised in the doble ocho festival we try to supply a further stimulation to these talents. To make it affordable, the participation of the Concurso and the masterclass is free for music students. In the near future the Doble Ocho organisation intends to motivate regional music schools to participate in the Concurso and stimulate them to give more space to tango music in their educational programme.

These activities are starting to draw the attention of other tango festivals. Doble Ocho is currently setting up a collaboration with the new Antwerp Tango Festival , the Tiempo Argentino Tango Festival ( 29/10 – 01/11 2009). To make the music contest even more interesting for musicians to participate, we wan't to offer the winner the possibility to play on other festivals, not only at Doble Ocho. And Antwerp will be most probably the first International partner for the 2010 Music Concurso.

Lucien Lecarme

go to the Music Concurso website

dinsdag 10 februari 2009

doble ocho video, click on the arrow to play
Dancers in the video : Rozemarijn and Sing

What tango can do to you !

by Marij Faessen

In 2007 Ellen Kocken filmed in El Corte. She filmed El Corte’s founder Eric Jeurissen, the lessons and the milongas. Ellen describes her work as documentary portrait. During the next Doble Ocho festival the El Corte documentary will be shown again in LUX ! Marij Faessen interviewed Ellen for this special occasion.

Can you tell us something about DZIGA?
Dziga is a workplace for moviemakers and video artists. I founded it ten years ago, because I wanted to make documanetaries. DZIGA is a foundation, which produces short movies. Our goal is not the big, global movie industry, but the development of movie talents.

How did you get the idea to make a documentary about El Corte?
I have been dancing for fifteen years. I find Eric a fascinating person, as a teacher and as a tango organizer and El Corte is a wonderful meeting place for international tangueros. The idea of making a movie about El Corte has been on my mind for years, but since I was unable to raise enough funds, I never was able to do so. That is untill the province Gelderland granted us a subsidy.

Eric gets a lot of request for filming in El Corte. Most of these requests he declines. Why didn’t he decline your request?
Little by little I won Eric’s confidence. I have been dancing for 15 years and also know him in another context. My ex-partner was involved in the first great El Corte renovation. And Eric also knew that I had my own enterprise. He always showed a great interest in it.
I think I was able to win Eric’s confidence, because our approach was clearly different than what other people want to do.
Eric is not somebody who easily delagates tasks to other people. We made appointments about the moments we filmed, so Eric did have some influence on what we filmed. The deal is that I make my own movie, a documentary portrait of El Corte.

How did you experience the making of this documentary?
The extraodinary thing is that Bert Huibers, the camera man did dance tango for 5 years. He immediately understood what to film. I noticed that people were looking for a way to deal with the presence of a camera. They were looking for the right distance and involvement. People also did react differently because I assumed a role that was unfamiliar to them. Just like during my study (antropology), I was doing field work and that was quite a challenge.

What struck you most?
El Corte is a very special world. Personaly I discoverd myself in dancing tango and that is what I have in common with a lot of other dancers. The social aspect of tango is important, it is not about how you look, but who you are. I always experienced it this way and the documentary has strengthend this feeling. But also the confronting aspects of tango, the rejections, the part about not being a member of the group is there. What we tried to do is capture the essence of tango in images.

Did you succeed in this?
Not in words, you don’t get it explained. The dance can do a lot to you. It can give you a happy, warm feeling. However I think that we did manage to capture this feeling.

What was the biggest surprise for you?
The biggest surprise for me was that tango is a very important part of life for so many people. For us it was exciting to show that El Corte does mean a lot in the world of tango.

link to Dziga
read the complete interview here

Interview : Komala Vos

by Marij Faessen

translated by Arnoud de Graaff

Tango teacher Komala Vos has been involved for 18 years in El Corte. High time to ask komala how she experienced her time in El Corte, and what tango means to her. Marij Faessen interviewed Komala.

How did you get acquainted with tango?
I lived in Groningen and danced salsa. Somewhere I heard about tango. I started to look for it and finally I found something. I started to dance tango, at first in Groningen and later in Amsterdam, where I met Eric during the Netherlands first and last tango dance competition in 1990. After the competition I visited El Corte for the first time. This was in 1990. For some years I regularly went to El Corte. I didn’t take lessons, but managed to do a lot of workshops. After some years I started to take classes in El Corte. I travelled from Groningen to Nijmegen for the lessons and stayed for a few days. I slept in El Corte. I travelled from Groningen to Nijmegen and vice versa for about 4 or 5 years. In 1997 I managed to get a house in Nijmegen and finally moved to Nijmegen.

What did the dance to you?
It stimulated my feminity. Before that I never wore dresses and never walked on high heels. It has something provocative, it provokes you, it has a connection to how you live your life. It also enriches your life. It challenges you to do things within your self. Tango is never complete, you always make a connection with another person, it also is a learning process. Tango is a connection of the heart. Tango focuses on the inside, the connection you make, the meeting without words. For me it was a drive, I wanted to dance and it still feels like a passion. In time I found more peace in it.

What are your tango highs and lows?
I always find it fascinating to dance with someone who brings you in another dimension, so that you find something new in yourself and that you move together in the music.
A low is not a good word, but you always will fall back on yourself. Old habits will return and you can have the feeling that you are not ‘growing’ anymore. You constantly have to engage something within yourself, if you want to learn something. Your dance is what you are.

What does the dance with people? What strikes you most when you see what is happening?
You see people enjoying themselves, developing themselves through dancing tango, a social developing and getting to know their body. I always find it beautiful to watch them discovering how their body functions in the dance. As a teacher I always enjoy watching this happen, both on an individual and a group level.
You really have to go though phases to progress in tango, a discovery and deepening at the same time. It deepens and at the same time returns in another form. That is why I find followers and following fascinating, because as a follower I experienced it all.

How do you view your role as teacher?
I want to provide the dancers with what they need in order to dance together, while respecting the music.

How did you start to teach?
I never intended to start teaching, but because I was often in El Corte, people asked me: how do you do this or how are we supossed to do that? After that they asked me why I didn’t teach tango. I naturally roled into being a teacher. At first I taught with Eric and after that I started to teach at Tuesday with Miro, with Michael followed taeching a class on Sunday. Now I teach with Eric and Stefan.

What are the most important abilities a tango teacher should have?
You certainly will have to like what you do. You do have to have an insight in the way people move. Being enthousiast is also important. I like to work with people and their bodies, I am a bodily orientated person, but I am also an emotional dancer. I encounter the dance from what I feel, with the courage to feel. I find it important to help people find their own way, so that they can go on. I just transfer and hand out what I know and this is my task as a teacher.

How have you experienced the evolution of El Corte?
I still treasure the thought about the first time I came to the Knollenpad. Eric is a very inspiring person. He hands people a lot of material for dancing. In the beginning only incidentally people from outside El Corte did come to the Knollenpad. Gradualy more and more people found their way to El Corte. People from all over the world (japan, America, etc.) visit us. This has to do with the fact that Eric teaches everywhere and that (as aconsequence) they come to dance in El Corte. What is more, Eric is a perfect host, he knows everybody by name, he is reliable and true to his milongas. He never missed one, he is always there.
That is what it makes it so special for me, I felt welcome in El Corte the first time and still feel it this way. In the early days there were less people, it felt more genial, jovial. Now there are more people and it all feels more structered. Eric had to impose a limit for dancers during chained salons. Also the level of dancing is higher than it was 18 years ago. I think that the highest level of then is the intermediate level of today. In the beginning there just weren’t dancers with 20 years of dance experience. Also Eric has evolved enormously as a teacher in those 20 years.

read the complete interview here

maandag 9 februari 2009

Interview with Toine Straatman, one of the teachers of El Corte

Toine Straatman has been dancing tango for 15 years and together with his wife Monique he teaches tango in El Corte. Toine has been involved with El Corte for many years now as a dancer and a teacher. Marij Faessen interviewed Toine about his life in El Corte.

How did you start dancing?
I always liked dancing. My whol
e family loves to dance. I wanted to become a balletdancer, but my father put a stop to that. I often danced in school musicals. I often was the only boy who danced, but that didn’t bother me at all. When I was 15 I started ballroom dancing. I was very enthousiast and, together with friends, we rode by moped to places where dances were organized.
I completely lost m
yself in Astor Piazzolla’s music. After a short braek from dancing, I felt the need to start dancing again. I had seen a documentary of Wouter and Martine when they visited Buenos Aires. It really moved me. I started to look for tango in the Netherlands. In Arnhem tango lessons were given, but I was too late; the course had already started.
During carnival in Huissen I met an acquaintance who told me that there was also a tango school in Nijmegen. She gave me Eric’s phone number. Next day I immediately contacted Eric. Next sunday (I seem to remeber it was 3-3-1993) I went to the Knollenpad and watched the lessons from the fishbowl.
At the end of the evening Piazzolla’s Milonga del Angel was played. It made my flesh creep, I was hooked on tango. I started to dance and after a few months, I visted my first milonga, where I sat in a corner and just watched. A woman made eyes at me and finaly convinced me to dance. That was Komala. She was the first ‘strange woman’ I danced with during a milonga.

What did tango do for you?
At first tango was a creative expression, purely the dance itself. Soon I noticed that the dance, the emotion, the music and the social context also had an influence on me. Apart from the steps I gained insight how other men and women reacted to me and vice versa. This is a multi layered phenomenon. Tango is a mirror of your soul. I experience tango as a catalyst for emotions, which enriched my life and became a tool for achieving a more harmonious life. Tango opend my soul.
I have always continued dancing and teaching, also during dark and confronting phases in my life (such as the death of my parents). This only made tango more valuable to me.
As a tango teacher I sometimes notice that dancers get into a personal crisis (and sometimes even stop to dance tango), because of who they are, how they feel, but also because how a partner responds to them. For me, this confrontation is the challenge to find myself in a way that is otherwise impossible. It sounds therapeutic, what certainly is not a goal of tango, but something I experience as inherent to the situation.
Now I realise that tango is more than a dance, the technique, the steps, choreographies but also the emotional aspect ... and where they meet. I find it intriging to see all those layers in other peoples dancing and how they deal with it.

In what way did tango change your life?
Tango made it possible for me to become a more harmonious person. It taught me to get to know myself better and also to see and value other peoples’ inner beauty. It became clear to me who I am and what I can mean for others.
As a dancer I noticed that I can give other people a lot of happiness ... or not. Because tango is extremely dualistic. Tango has two sides: on one side there is euphoria, but on the other side you see frustration. The music, compositions and lyrics show great variations, for every emotion there is a matching tango. For me tango is a dance I sometimes want to dance, sometimes want to listen to or just watch it and also there are periods that I want to put some distance between me and tango.

What was your tango high? And what was your tango low?
Tango is a series of highs for me, because I soon learned to enjoy the the smal things in tango. My tango low was when I had a hip injury which made it impossible to dance for three months. I really did miss it. In summer I often take a tango time out, but when a time out is forced on you it feels different.

Can you define tango in one sentence?
Tango is a way of achieving total harmony in 3 minutes time span.

read the complete interview here

Interview :Marije Faessen

Translation : Arnoud de Graaff

donderdag 5 februari 2009

Doble Ocho sale in El Corte Chained salon weeken in March !

During the next chained salon weekend in El Corte ( 6-7-8 march www.elcorte.com ) it will be possible to reserve workshops / buy tickets for Doble Ocho. Sunday from 14.00 - 15.15 the ticket desk will be open in El Corte. Tickets will also be sold during the chained salons in april !

maandag 2 februari 2009

The Spirit of Doble Ocho

Kunstburo Lucien Lecarme organised together with El Corte this first Doble OCho Festival in 2004 in Nijmegen. Since than it has become an annual event. I took my fist tango lessons with Eric somewhere in 1988, and experienced magic moments of tango in the space he creates. For this, Eric is to me a magician, a creator of conditions in where everybody can feel free to experience his or her sublime moment, and share. But it is still up to the dancers to fill the space he creates with the DJ. Maybe to have a frustating night, or to 'Become one body on the dancefloor '. To this belongs the continious search for new music, exploring new bounderies, and give time to the visitors to find this moment, with no obligations. From the 'knollenpad' untill the current space, the danceflour is still Eric's living room he is sharing with friends. And he still welcomes every new face. This is still special in Holland and abroad, alltough copied in different variations, El Corte stays unique in this way

From the first experimental classes in 1987, the official start on februari 11th 1988,

the opening by Pugliese of the 'Knollenpad' in 1990, classes by Pepito and the first workshops with Gustavo in the Netherlands, untill 400 people attending the monthly salon in april 2003, the international weeks, tango marathons, continiously teaching in total up to 25 countries, the inspiration of more than 80 tango teachers, we can say that Eric, his staff and El Corte have become a major source of inspiration, joy and tango-home for many tangueros and tangueras around the world. The words tango and Nijmegen have a magical impact worldwide. They stand for quality and admiration.

The Vereeniging, a beautifull art deco style concert hall, just 5 minutes walk from El Corte is the basic venue and offers 3 different dancefloors. There are still 2 salons in El Corte. The festival will have small surprises, made public during the festival. Highlight is the tango music competition and the tangofusion Night on thursdays. For the workshops and salons, of course, visitors can subscribe via this website, but also via El Corte during the first saturday weekends. With hotels and pensions, special deals are made. You will find the list in this site.

Our goal is to offer possibilities (similar to what is possible in El Corte) and opportunity to attend lots of workshops, to dance in El Corte, to experiment, to encounter new music, to find old friends. The festival will generate it's own soul, built up by the energy of it's participants, creating intimate moments on different unique locations and places.