MEET GUEST INSTRUCTOR: MARCELO “EL CHINO” GUTIERREZ!
“Marcelo Gutierrez has been one of our most influential teachers over the years. The brilliance of his method resides in his intimate knowledge of the musculature involved in dancing tango, and of how best to train these specific muscles and muscle groups to work most effectively. He has developed various exercises for this purpose– ones that aid the body in discovering sensations, and others that strengthen the muscles involved– as well as exercises for maintaining posture, and those aimed at increasing sharpness and power of movement. Moreover, he relates pure movement of the body to the floor on which one dances, to the space through which one moves, and to one’s partner.” -Adam & Ciko
Marcelo started dancing tango at a young age in Buenos Aires. As a valuable and influential teacher in the international tango community, he uses unique training techniques to strengthen the mind-body connection. Marcelo focuses on posture, musculature, and strength building to improve one’s relationship to the dance floor, space, and partner. We are looking forward to his return to Sangha Space — you will not want to miss his classes!
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
I was born in La Paz, Bolivia in 1975
HOW DID YOU ENCOUNTER TANGO?
I was studying international trade and one of my teachers told us a story from when he was traveling abroad. When he was in a meeting and everyone was saying where they were from, they asked him; he said he was from Argentina. The people asked him if they could teach them some Tango. He was so ashamed because he didn’t know anything and he was from Buenos Aires. Since that time he started to take lessons. So, hearing this story I thought, “okay that would be interesting, I don’t want that to happen to me.” So I decided to research and to dance something, which was tango. There is a fair close to my neighborhood, “Feria de Mataderos” which is a really famous Buenos Aires fair because it’s a really traditional celebration of music, culture, folklore, and food. There was a tango teacher there who was my first tango teacher. My dad would take us there on weekends. So I decided to take my first tango lesson there. It was a treat.
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NEW TO TANGO?
In Nordic Mythology, there is a comparison that the Nordic’s have about art, which is that art is a mix between blood and honey. The poetic description of that is the passion and the danger is in the blood, but the sweet and the love is in the honey. So, when you have something that mix together, you have art. Tango can classify in that description. Because tango has this magic moment where the passion and the desire and the frustration and the anger arrive, but there is a balance when you feel content, while you’re dancing and the music moving you, which is the honey. If you are ready for this, and you like roller coaster adventures then this is for you. If you want something calm and easy, search for another thing ’cause this won’t work for you.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE TANGO IN 3 WORDS?
Dance. Love. Pain.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT EXCHANGING ROLES?
In my experience of dancing and teaching, the point where both partners can learn both roles leading and following is when they have enough experience with their dance that they don’t get confused in the process of learning. If the dancer, the leader or follower, doesn’t master their own dance first. It’s really hard for them to learn another language (leader or follower) at the same time. In here, I did a lesson called, “Venus and Mars”. When we dance tango, we have these two ming warriors, mars soldier and venus soldier. They have different weapons, tactics, goals, strengths, and weaknesses. Different languages. We choose what suits our personality. When you master one of them, then it’s easier to master the other. Especially for leaders. As leaders we are men, we are very bad at doing two things at the same time, by nature. The women are much more intelligent than us, they can do many things at once. But men have simple minds, so as a man I say work on your leading first, then learn to follow.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT TEACHING AT SANGHA SPACE?
The love that the people give to each other. The friendship, the way they contain and hold each other. I love that. Lori has the talent to create equilibrium in the community and a sense of harmony here.
SOME SAY TEACHERS ARE LIFELONG LEARNERS. WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU ARE CURRENTLY LEARNING MORE ABOUT OR WORKING ON AS A TANGO TEACHER?
How to improve my teaching. I’m taking lessons with better teachers than me. I am exploring new methods of movement and dance. I am working out myself.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TANGO SONG/ORQUESTRA?
I am a Latin man. I am moody. According to the day, my mood, how I woke up, what happened that week, it changes. One day it’s “D’arienzo” the next it’s “Pugliese”.
WHAT OTHER ACTIVITIES (BESIDES TANGO) DO YOU ENJOY?
Watching TV, I love it. I love to read. I love to design stuff, like flyers.
IF YOU WERE TO WIN THE LOTTERY, HOW WOULD YOU SPEND YOUR TIME?
WHAT’S SOMETHING SECRETLY AWESOME ABOUT YOU THAT PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW?
I am a religious man. I am Catholic. Something that I learned from Catholicism is that: All of us, we are one. That is something I would love to share with everybody. That we could discuss and interact, to find a way that all became one.