Wednesday, December 06, 2006

learn a few moves, and make up the rest

One chilly winter’s night, some years ago, in a city under the sea (well, almost), AMC (who appeared in these pages before) and I were walking from a salsa club run by one of AMC’s friends and colleagues.
“I don’t think I’m built for that. I mean—how do you do that?” I said, recalling of the movement of limbs and hips at the club. Neither of us know how to salsa, but via unplanned meanderings, detours and parenthetics, our conversation turns to another dance we are incapable of—the tango.
“Whenever I meet an Argentinian, someone from… Like C or E, I ask them if they can tango, and they say yes, and I just ask how? How do you do it? And they say it’s easy—just learn a few moves and make up the rest….”
AMC interjected, “but that’s the description of anything that’s really, really hard!” Adding, “think about improv. Think about how many classical musicians can’t improvise. I’ve met classical musicians—with beautiful, beautiful technique—but can’t improvise. And, all I can say is you learn a few things and make up the rest.”


peter breslin said...

heya- "you learn a few moves and make up the rest." And then you have the balls to do *that* in public. That's the real strange reality of it. Despite my conditioning and the devils in my head and the nakedness of it all, I started performing and still do. Why we do this is in my opinion really a mystery. Part of it is a joy in the whole process that I want to share, which was true even in the first few harrowing experiences of performance years ago.


the improvising guitarist said...


“And then you have the balls to do *that* in public.”

True, but the rewards—that buzz—from improvisation can’t be compared with anything I find elsewhere.
And I find that audiences at improv events, more often than not, aren’t cruel; they don’t take pleasure in witnessing you fall or fail. I’ll probably blog about this in the future, but the generosity of a club audience is something that surprises me almost every time (especially when solo with the “nakedness of it all”) in a way that I can’t always say about the concert hall crowd… (not that I’ve performed in a concert situation in the last few years (well, I might be performing for a borderline concert crowd tomorrow, but that’s another story)).

S, tig