TAP IN ARGENTINA - A BIT OF HISTORY
Argentina Rep Report, Oct 2010
In Buenos Aires some years ago, there were Argentine productions of well-known musicals that included jazz choreography and later incorporating tap.
In the eighties Alberto Aguero, renowned director, choreographer, mime and tap dancer, created "El Circo de Alberto Aguero" - an original musical of mime and tap that received three prizes in Argentina and one in France (mentioned in the ITA publication "On Tap." This was a first step in the creation of Argentine musicals. The nineties brought Elizabeth de Chapeaurouge, choreographer, jazz and tap dancer also presenting a series of her work on television.
Later, Monica Povoli, Aguero's disciple, together with Bebe Labougle and the Castro Videla twins received a prize for their choreography in their original musical "Master Tap." One must also mention the collaboration of the well-known tap dancer Melisa Galarce. Interesting tap presentations followed and an interaction with live musicians was also included as with Monica Povoli in Buenos Aires and the Magni sisters in Mendoza. A new generation of tap dancers also appeared including the Lombard Twins, Rodrigo Cristofaro, Marisa Frignani, Corina Montes among others.
Currently, Andrea Tezze continues with her charity tap presentations and the tap company Chakata offers a schedule of tap improvisation sessions with the addition of live musicians and public participation. Elizabeth de Chapeaurouge is also currently presenting "Swing Time" at the prestigious El Maipo Theater in Buenos Aires.
Master teachers and artists Liber Scal and Alberto Aguero are still active and recognized by the tap community (see the Argentinian publication La Nacion, July 27, 2009). Now living in Comodoro, Rivadavia, La Patagonia (southern Argentina) Liber is, together with Alicia Batana, doing pioneering work together in a region where there is no tap dance culture. During his long and fruitful career, Liber developed (as well as beautiful choreography) a sophisticated method of tap dance that emphasizes aesthetics as well as musicality in tap. A DVD of this teaching method was produced that shows his eight positions applied to many tap steps. “This work should be done daily in order to become a competent tap dancer" says Liber. This method is now being used to prepare tap teachers in Comodoro Rivadavia.
Liber and Alicia are now teaching at the School of Arts among other academies of dance in the region. As ITA Reps, they have also tried to bring together dancers of different percussive dances such as Irish Step Dance, Malambo and Flamenco in their Tap Dance Day celebrations as well as teaching tap to the blind at the Braille Center.
In this year’s Tap Dance Day celebration, two seminars were offered including one that interacted with Malambo (percussive Argentine dance) students and another for Arab dancers utilizing their native music. Last year, Liber performed a very convincing drunkard in tap and Alicia created a tap percussion work with derbake percussion music accompanied by Arabic dancers.
In 2009, Liber Scal was honored at the School of Arts as a tap master for his life long dedication to tap and his contribution to the development of the art form in Argentina. This year, both Liber and Alicia presented tap choreography at a teacher’s meeting in the well-known show restaurant ELE. A public who is showing an increased interest in tap received the event enthusiastically.
This late September, Comodoro was also able to see an original musical "Pour la Gallery" created by the well-known director Anibal Pachano with tap choreography by Rodrigo Cristofaro.