33 Holcombe Road, London N17 9AS
020 8808 9318
Anthony Howell, with his tango partner Lindi Kopke
to teach tango courses and classes and for individual tuition.
Please contact him at the above address.
He is also the creator of Tango Schumann and Tango Art - a fusion of performance art and the tango.
For updated info please visit
Tango Art is a piece that takes the tango as its inspiration. It deconstructs the dance, revealing it as a physical language game, concerned with the politics of negotiation. The dancers utilise cd mini-disks, occasionally "interrupted" by the powerful audible sound of the tango. This Argentine dance is similar to jazz in that it allows for considerable improvisation. Its synchronised movements provide the performers with a springboard to explore the concept of lead and follow in all aspects, prompting repercussions in those areas of desire concerned with enslavement and domination - areas such as commanding and obeying, mirroring and opposing, leading and following. These are explored in spoken language as well as in movement. The exciting results provide material that is both amusing and thought-provoking.
The piece is performed by Anthony Howell, Lorna Stewart and Genevieve Sayer (The three of them are all more than proficient in the tango and committed to performance art.) It lasts approximately 25 minutes, and is followed after an interval by a session where the performers invite the audience to learn the
basic technique of this sensual dance!
Statement by Anthony Howell:
I very much enjoy dancing the tango. I love its intricate combinations, its stealth and its drama - and I have been working with two other dancer/performance artists, exploring a fusion of tango and performance art. Currently my work straddles these two areas - I began my career as a dancer with The Royal Ballet and later I was founder/director of The Theatre of Mistakes Performance Art Company whose pieces were shown in the Hayward Annual, the Paris Biennale, the Paula Cooper Gallery, the Jeannetta Cochrane Theatre etc. Recently I choreographed a film for BBC 2's Dance on Camera Series called 'The World Turned Upside Down'.
In 2001/2 I was awarded a £6000 Individual Artist's Development Grant from L.A.D.A/London Arts to develop my tango skills and spent some three months in Buenos Aires, working with the best teachers. In November 2002 I got a grant from Chisenhale Dance Space to develop a piece resulting from my research for a three week period, culminating in an event at which we "shared" the result with an audience invited by Chisenhale and ourselves. This performance was warmly received. As a result of feedback from that rehearsal period, a new piece has emerged, still with the same title. TANGO ART is hosted by NORTE .
1) A good sound system that our technician will operate while the performance is in progress. He needs to be visible to the public and be able to see the three performers.
2) A smooth floor, preferably a wooden one, clearly visible to a seated audience.
3) Rehearsal in the space with our sound technician.
4) Adequate lighting.
Cost to individual venues per night - This is negotiable, dependent on the support of funding bodies etc.
Over the years I have become increasingly interested in the tango. As danced in the salon, the tango is improvised. Improvisation in performance was the key concept of my Infernal Triangle (ICA, 1998). In tango however, there is also a physical dialogue between man and woman which is apposite to the dialectics of sexual politics. The tango represents the acme of lead and follow improvisation and might be criticised for the seeming stereo-typicality of these roles. Philosophically however, leading pertains to becoming while following pertains to being. Thus the dance incorporates a fusion of impulses usually considered opposed. Leading may be performed by a woman, following by a man. An exchange of roles is part of the learning process for professional tango dancers and teachers.
Leading and following can also be interpreted in Hegelian terms, opening debate about slave/master relationships - explored in prior pieces of mine such as Objects (Cardiff Art in Time, 1995), Commentary on Klein (Hayward Gallery 1995), Phyllis and Aristotle (Gallery 291, 2000, Performations, Battersea 2001), and even in Pig Sculpture (Fix 98, Belfast) where I enter into a sculptural relationship with a pig while not exactly being in charge of the pig - but then, nor is the pig in charge of me. However I was in charge of my horse in Homage to the Horses of Saint Petersburg (Manege, Saint Petersburg 1998), when I led my horse through the exhibition hall which was once the Imperial Riding School.
This brings me back to leading and following in the tango. How might this dance concept relate to concepts in ensemble performance art? How might I contrast leading, becoming, mastery, following, being, servitude in some dynamic fusion of tango and performance art? How does what we do with language, in terms of expression and response, relate to the dance, and is there "a tango of language"?
Where my work might differ from a dancer simply doing a tango exhibition dance is that I try to manifest the tango as part of a variety of lead/follow performance relationships, mirroring through a line of sight lead, for instance (as described on page 32 of my book, The Analysis of Performance Art, Mimicry and Repetition). I have also been studying disassociation techniques in lead/follow exercises where the mans upper body follows womans lead, or the womans lower body follows mans lead, or exercises in diametrically opposed copying in contradistinction to mirroring. These tango exercises can be the matter of a performance as can a tango teachers method of demonstrating centripetal force with a chair.
I come at these things from a performance art direction not a show-dance one. This makes all the difference to the result which is performance art rather than a tango display - though it is informed by what I have learned through the tango. The piece explores the dance of argument, since arguments employ limited vocabulary and repetition, as does the tango.
Recent performances of Tango Art:
Chisenhale Dance Space, November 2002
Student Cultural Centre, Belgrade, Serbia, April 2003
Montenegro Cultural Centre, Podgorica, Montenegro, April 2003
London Irish Centre, June, 2003
Manchester University, John Thaw Studio Theatre, October 2003
The Place, London, January, 2004
Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, May 2004 - as part of the Fierce Festival.
Anthony Howell and Lorna Stewart have also been performing with Tango Volcano at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London and at the Haverhill Festival. Jenny Smith and Anthony Howell are currently preparing ELEGY a new piece for Chisenhale dance Space.
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