Monday, March 3, 2014

Tango DJ-ing (published in Gancho)

Tango DJ-ing
 | On 01, Feb 2014
I was a 1-year-old when I first felt the magic of the tango music. My grandfather loved this music and he used to play it for me on vinyl trying to teach me to dance it – in its European form, of course. I used to dream of Universes while listening to those tracks…
I was a 1-year-old again – in tango years this time – when I rediscovered the MAGIC of tango music. I was watching the tango teachers choosing the tracks for a weekend of intensive classes. It was fascinating to see how they knew the songs, how they mixed them so that the combination would sound harmonious… They knew the music by orchestras! That was a wow for me (rookie!)
Now, at the age of 6, I still get the chills when people can put together tango music so that dancers feel alive throughout the entire milonga. Now I dream of Universes while dancing that music!
I won’t talk about the tDJ-ing technicalities since there are teachers for that aspect. What I want to say with this article is a big “Thank you!” to those who take hours out of their lives for the tango dancers. And since everything in our lives is about preferences, I choose to talk here about a special tDJ – my favorite one. I sometimes choose to go to a milonga only knowing that she’ll be in charge of the music desk.
I know Crista as a tango dancer – an appreciated one, too. She has a special grace and energy that one can feel just by watching her. Sometime about a year ago I was going to the Saturday Practica at Nana’s place (another of my preferences!) and I saw that Crista was playing the music. Before that time Nana had a playlist with tandas to the making of which I contributed as well (just a little bit) and that was playing for a few good weeks there. At least the two of us have got to the point of almost knowing it by heart and it seemed we lacked the time to make another playlist. So the idea of someone mixing music, tandas and energy was a breath of fresh air.
So Crista was our tDJ that evening. It was only at the end of the Practica that I realized how fast time has passed, how much I’ve danced and how high my energy level still was. It got me thinking… What has happened differently? Maybe I just had a better mood than other times… And then it hit me: it was the music! Memories started to come back to me: my childhood dreaming on tango music wings, my Universes that come to life while listening to or dancing tango… Those things have happened to me that night. So it must have been the music! The music played by Crista, actually.
She continued tDJ-ing at Saturday Practica and at other tango events in Romania and abroad. She’s appreciated by many dancers! I think what’s special about her is the passion she has for the music, for people and for tango. She plays just as she dances – always fresh, always energizing, almost all the time with a little taste of new, just enough to push us towards discoveries. She’s connected to the dancers, to the ronda and to the music, so she can really create THE atmosphere that carries us on all night.
I asked Nana Cazan – our Saturday Practica host and Sorin Matei – host of Milonga Tabiet in fiecare joi (Thursday’s Milonga Tabiet) to tell me a few words about Crista. She’s the regular tDJ at both events, so I think the hosts are the most qualified to make a point. Here’s what they say:

Why is Crista my favorite DJ? Because she’s fresh, energetic, dynamic. She plays the music in direct connection with the people on the floor, creating a great atmosphere in the milonga/practica.
She is constantly in search of music, of different versions of the same songs from different orchestras. She changes her tandas all the time, she introduces new songs in her tandas, she doesn’t have standard tandas to play, nor standard playlists; she changes the list all the time, sometimes creating it on the spot – there’s always something new in her tandas. This way she brings to the attention of the dancers beautiful songs, some even unknown, but always danceable, contributing in this way to the musical education and culturalization of the tango community that she’s a part of. You can’t say that you’ve listened to the same tanda twice. Maybe a similar one, but never the same.
She dedicates a lot of time to tango music, out of passion and you’ll often see her smiling enthusiastically and exclaiming “Aaaaah, how beautiful is this song!”
She refuses to play less interesting or less catchy songs, even if it’s in the beginning of a milonga, when people are just arriving. She considers that music should call you, invite you to dance from the very beginning. Not only once I’ve experienced a night in which had I felt like dancing each tanda, without resting a minute.
Not only once I heard the girls on arriving to the Practica, just putting on their tango shoes exclaiming “Oh, what a beautiful music!” while Crista was managing the music desk.

I am a business man. I dance tango only out of passion. For a while now, I began to organize Milonga Tabiet in fiecare joi (Thursday’s Milonga Tabiet), the only regular milonga independent from the tango schools and with their support. Having a business background I tried to give a proper structure and a high quality to these events. So I looked into every detail that brings such an event closer to excellence: ambience, location, related services, sound, music.  
When taking in consideration the aspect of the music I chose to work with tDJs in order to keep the quality, instead of a playlist that would run regardless of what happens in the room. This is how I discovered Crista. Passionate about people and communication, just like me otherwise (only she is a psychotherapist with various fields of expertise, including working with groups), she has music in the blood. Brought up with classical music, she discovered that playing tango music in milongas nourishes her.
You’ll say: ok, but what is special so far? Well, special is the fact that she spends at least 5 hours a day studying this music, the orchestras, the different versions and approaches of songs. She studies the metrics and tests with dancers every new tanda she makes before playing it in milongas. I discovered in her firstly a passionate of music who then became a professional and she amazes me every time I watch her.  
So, at my event – Milonga Tabiet in fiecare joi – I am the host, it’s important that I socialize, make sure everyone is pleased and satisfied. But, well, when Crista is tDJ-ing I get invariably charmed and I find myself dancing, floating in a world that I thought was long gone, yet there it is so vivid. It’s incredible how a tDJ can transform a good milonga in one that people talk about for at least a week. Chapeau!
In the end, I just want to say I also tried tDJ-ing (once!) and I can say it’s definitely not easy. It takes passion, will, dedication and a lot of work – that is if you really care. It is also very rewarding to see that dancers are enjoying themselves and the music. I played my tandas in Sofia in a milonga, in Brasov and at my school (Escuela Principal de Tango) and the smiles and energy received made my work worthwhile! And I don’t think I’ve done half the work Crista or any other dedicated tDJ has done.
But, my point is that music is what lifts our energy from our very beginning in tango. That’s why I love it when my students come and ask me or my partner about the music, when they feel that it practically makes their hearts move and then they discover that their “contaminated” hearts made their feet move as well… So, I am grateful for our good tDJs because they really make a difference in our growth in tango.
And all the more, I am grateful to Crista because she keeps enchanting us with her tandas! Thank you, Crista!
See you in the ronda on good music!

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