Angentina's TANGO FIRE is coming to back to Toronto after a five year absence and a highly successful recent run in London, England. I had a wonderful opportunity to interview Cornejo German, the Company's award-winning choreographer/dancer, about his dancing and his partnership with Gesela Galeassi, with whom he was a finalist on Jennifer Lopez and Marc Antony's ¡Q'Viva! The two-time World Tango Champions were JLo's special guests at her 2012 concert in Buenos Aires.
donna g: I watched several videos of you without the sound turned on because I wanted to watch how you moved. Man, you have incredible talent in your hips and legs! You know how to control your movements in such a way that your dancing never seems mechanical or too flashy. You make it look easy, but even a non-dancer like myself knows that it's not. What methods have you included in your training to help you attain this level of fluidity in your dancing?
CORNEJO GERMAN: Thank you, donna. As you know, I have a foundation in different dance techniques and styles like contemporary and classical dance among others. That was very important for my formation because each technique gave me different ways to move my body and different points of view to develop my own style. I think that if you want to see the difference in the quality of your dance you need to train a lot to get good results.
A normal day for me starts with 3 to 4 hours of rehearsals. After rehearsals I have a break before I start giving lessons to my regular students for 4 hours more. Some days I am at the dance studio for 10 hours in a row (with some breaks of 20 minutes).
donna g: Nélida Rodriques, one of your teachers was a Tango star before you were even born. You call her your “Artistic Godmother” and credit her with teaching you “the secret of the tango steps.” I don't want you to reveal any secrets but I am curious about your first meeting and first classes with her. Had you met before she began teaching you, and did she whip your butt in those first classes?
CORNEJO: Yes, I know Nélida from the early days of my career. I saw her dancing many times in videos and in TV shows. She was really a Tango Super Star! Even today she is considered by the tango people to be one of the most influential women in tango dance. She is an icon for many generations of dancers.
She searched for me after she saw my performance with my dance partner at that moment (Angeles Trabichet) in one of the most highly rated TV shows in Argentina. She wanted us for work in a show that she directed. From this moment, we started a great relationship. She was always lovely with me, like a mother. Even in the beginning, when I hadn't made the steps in the right way she gave me her respect--something that not all the great artists do normally with their young students. I learned a lot from her about dance, and I loved listening to her words and stories about her life as a person and as a dancer. She is an amazing person and a terrific artist. I have to say thank God for putting her not only in my career but also in my life!
donna g: I watched you dance with several women, and you are an excellent partner. It would be so easy in a sensuous dance such as the Tango, for the man to get lost. You never lose our attention. In fact, your partnering abilities just makes us want to line up to dance with you. How do you do this? Is it something in your posture, is it the choreography or is it chemistry between partners?
CORNEJO: To answer your question: all of the above, but first, I must say that all of my partners were amazing dancers always. In fact, without the right technique on their bodies, all that I created would be impossible for them to realize.
One of the items you ask about is the posture: I keep the line of my back from my waist to my neck as if I am trying to increase my height. That posture allow us to show an elegant line of the body, and at the same time works to keep a closer embrace between us.
Your other point is the choreography. With the correct steps you can tell a story to the audience, enjoy the moment, and express yourself.
And the last thing that you ask me -but not less important- is the chemistry between the couple. The tango couple should be like a bubble: all the things that happen are between them, and the audience should feel like they are spying on them through a key hole.
donna g: You have formed a new partnership with Gisela Galeassi and the two of you have become very successful. How did the two of you become partners?
CORNEJO: I know her since 2003 when she became World Tango Champion. I always admired her work, but it was after we split up with our ex partners that we decided to start creating our own artistic world. She is an amazing woman and artist. It was so crazy, because we felt incredible embracing each other, and all the movements were flowing between us, unforced. The audience can feel how our hearts feel when they see us dancing together because both of us are very passionate.
donna g: Originally, the Tango was never a public dance. Over the years, this has changed and the dance has emerged as a theatrical event. How do choreographers such as yourself maintain a balance between a very intimate dance with roots in working class Argentina and a dance that is done on stages before large international audiences?
CORNEJO: I think that the problem appear when the choreographers are searching in the wrong places. The common mistake is that many choreographers try to show to the audience a lot of steps and movements without sense, just to show off that they can do many things. This is a huge problem because the tango is about passion, sensitivity and the communication that is born out of the deep intimate embrace of each couple. You need to keep the balance between the steps and the heart, as well as between the tango dance technique and emotion.
You can create different choreography showing several ways of tango dance because it is a reality that tango is changing all the time, but you need to keep the roots always, the essence of the tango. If you can find the right way to do this, I assure you that it is totally magical and at the same time as simple and basic as human contact. That is tango!
with the all-new
Flames of Desire
accompanied on stage by Quarteto Fuego, led by violin virtuosa Estefani Corsini, with vocals by Jesus Hidalgo
November 8th & 9th, 2013
Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge Street, Toronto
Friday, November 8 @ 8pm,
Saturday, November 9 @ 3pm and 8pm
Tickets range from $49-$109 and can be purchased in person at the Winter Garden Theatre Box Office, by calling 1.855.622.2787 or online at www.ticketmaster.ca
For more information visit www.showoneproductions.ca