|"Dam dancing" with Jen on a|
hike in Brighton
TEDx SLC, one of the many amazing projects Jen supported, volunteered for, and helped organize. Once before, Jen brought our tango club team to "immerse strangers into tango" during a TedX afterparty. This time, her organizer friends asked us to make a short presentation in her memory during the main event.
We've presented many different tango stories before - journeys into tango history, genres and styles, and my favorite travels into tango poetry. This time we needed something radically different - much shorter and strikingly poignant. And I knew right away that it would have to open with Di Sarli's 1955 "Verdemar"
The concept? It can't be a story about tango. Rather, we are taking a travel into the depth of emotions of tango, with three or four recorded pieces expressing the range from grief to joy to the healing warmth of memory. Can't use too many words. For the darkness and grief, nothing can outdo Verdemar. The joyful song can be a vals or a milonga, although I would be afraid to confuse people with an ambiguity of waltz-like forms which aren't strictly tango specific to the uninitiated? For the closure, we would pick something like Donato's "Yo te amo" as a happy gaiety yet nostalgic song, or "Remebranzas" of Pugliese or "Una emocion" for a more contemplative one. No deeply special choreography in the plans; rather, one skilled couple can begin a song, with more dancers joining for the closing stanzas. And of course we'll accompany the story with the images of our dear Jenna.
In a few days, Cassandra, an old dancing friend fo Jen's, took charge of the organizational aspects, modifying the following draft script of mine (I will add the actual TEDx's video in the end, hoping that they won't object to my use of a snippet of their very official recording):
TedX organizers asked our group, the Wasatch Tango Club, to give a presentation of tango dance in memory of our dear departed friend, Jenna Rosenberg. Jen was taken away in a tragic accident in the prime of her life. Both TedX SLC and the dance of Argentine tango have been her longtime passions, and we are so honored to dance in this great hall to remember her.
In a series of 3 dances, we are going to explore the emotional range of tango, from inconsolable grief to joy and exuberance to the warm glow of nostalgia and healing memories. Tune your hearts to tango and join us in your feelings.
We start with Verdemar, a song which is rarely danced, due to its raw power of grief and sorrow. “She was snatched away from us in the prime of her beautiful life,” cry out the lines.
... and now, the whole story of ours. May Mother Earth be soft for you, Jen!