“My goal is
just to make
the whole world
~ Ryan Morisette
In Part 1 of this interview- “Why Tango?” Gabriel El Huracán discusses what it was about Tango that drew him into the dance so deeply. I have begun this second half of the interview with some of the words Gabriel left us off with at the end of Part 1. They just seemed so fitting to the theme of Part 2 of this interview: celebrating the beauty of differences, the strength of diversity.
Gabriel: In tango, you’ll have a kid who is twenty years old who is still in college or university and he’s beginning his life. And in the same room, you will have this older tanguero who might be eighty years old, dancing right next to him.
And you might meet a lawyer and a plumber and a stay at home mom all in the same room doing the same dance, sharing the same passion. You have people from all social classes in the same space. You have people from all ages, and people of all different cultures connecting through this common passion.
Tango allows me to make these unlikely encounters that I never would have made in my daily life otherwise. Continue reading
I am really impressed at how quickly it seems you have picked up tango and to such a high level. Do you feel that there is something about your life before tango which contributed to this?
For as long as I can remember, I was always more of a physical person. I was into basketball and into movement in general. I think if you’re an active person and just more physical in your life in general, you’re used to telling your body to move in certain ways. You’re used to isolating certain parts of your body and just having more body awareness. And this is really important, especially in tango. So perhaps that gave me an ‘advantage’ in terms of learning tango quicker.
And you used to be a bartender before, right? I think bartending is an art in itself. A bartender friend of mine even described her job as a dance on some nights. Do you see any parallels between your life as a bartender and the way you teach or dance now?
I never thought about it before, but probably the social skills I developed while being a bartender helped me with my teaching in some ways. I mean, I was already used to expressing myself around many people, through bartending. I was already dealing with so many different types of personalities on a daily basis and in a very busy environment. And I was used to keeping people entertained with humor and stories, and learning how to read what people wanted. It also got me into the habit of navigating around a room full of people. Continue reading
Part 2- Josué Joseph- On Family, Freedom and Inspiration
(Click here to read La Época Interview Part 1- Josué Joseph- On Faith, Music and Talent)
In Part 1 of this interview, you talked about growing up with the influence of your father- the great bassist Alfonso Panamá. You mentioned how he was always practising and surrounding you with music, making it just a part of your everyday life. But did you ever go through that stage of NOT wanting to be a musician BECAUSE your father was one? Often, kids try to purposely get away from doing what their parents did. Did you ever go through that or was it always just something that you wanted to do?
I feel like I’m in that movie Slumdog Millionaire, because every answer that I give you comes from a story (laughs). So here’s another one:
When I was growing up, my parents did not force any of us to study music. But when I was four years old, we moved to a new house. And in this new house, there was a piano already there. So music just came to us. Taking piano lessons was just normal. My brother did it, my other brother did it, and it passed down to me. It became something that I thought was just something you do.
Josué Joseph– On Faith, Music and Talent
Dance Me Free is all about the power of Dance- and the Arts – to move, inspire and heal. What an honour it is to feature an individual who understands and embodies this concept through a variety of artistic disciplines. Josué Joseph is an award- winning musician, composer, film producer, dancer and international instructor. He is an all around inspiration. It has been a pleasure to get to know more about what drives this artist, and I am thrilled to be able to share his insights and passion for the arts in this in-depth, two-part interview.
Thank you, Josué, for your openness and authenticity. I am grateful to have met you and I know you will continue to inspire people wherever you go.
(Click here to view the full Interview Introduction)
Why the name La Época?
The idea came to me immediately after the death of Tito Puente. I was talking to my father- Alfonso Panamá –who is a legendary bassist of the Palladium. After talking to him, and to Johnny Pacheco, Celia Cruz, Cachao (another famous bassist), and to some other well-known musicians and dancers, I noticed that no one else had created a film which put all of these legends together, to document their legacies. And my concept was different from other films that were done about the Palladium. I didn’t want my film to be about the Palladium. I wanted it to be about “the time” of the Palladium, and to allow people to see the musicians that supported the major orchestras. For example, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz were in other films about the Palladium. But Tito Puente and Celia Cruz were individuals, they weren’t an entire orchestra. So who were the musicians who made these individuals? That’s what I wanted to focus on.
No hay que llorar; el tiempo pasará, tú verás.
(There’s no reason to cry; the time will pass, you’ll see.)
Podrás abrasarme de nuevo, tú veras.
(You’ll be able to hug me again, you’ll see.)
Que no hay que llorar! Que conmigo estarás de nuevo!
(That there’s no reason to cry! That you’ll be with me, again!)
Que podrás adorarme de nuevo! Yo se que no me olvidarás!
(That you’ll be able to adore me, again! I know that you won’t forget me!)
Each of these lines is written in aqua blue across my bathroom, hallway and closet mirrors. The words are the lyrics to the song Verás, which I was introduced to in a live performance at the 1st Vancouver Mini Congress this fall. I don’t remember ever making it to the early parts of any dance congresses before. I usually like to save my energy for hanging out with friends and then social dancing later. Yet, something that weekend compelled me to skip out on a good friend’s pre-party and show up early for a film being shown at the congress instead.
“Dancing with the heart” is a phrase that has been so overused that I think it had lost the depth of its meaning for me over time, until… people like Charles Ogar came along. Charles not only reminded me of the true meaning and feeling behind those words, by the connection he creates in his dancing, but he also put a whole other twist to it as he opens up about matters of the heart in this interview. After learning about some of the journey Charles’ heart has been taken on, – from having faith in his passions, to leaving his old career behind, to enduring heart surgery, and following a new path by trusting in where the universe is taking him- I have a whole new appreciation for the power of the heart. Thank you Charles Ogar for opening up with such honesty and authenticity in this interview and allowing us to know a little more about the heart that lies within you as a dancer and teacher.
Lights, Camera, DAUDI! That’s how I think the saying should go sometimes. If you’ve ever worked with this extraordinary photographer featured here, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It seems only natural to think about Daudi, the creator of Daudi X Photography, when talking about camera and light. Daudi is extremely creative with both. For him, photography is not just a job. It is his art, it his passion. He not only expresses the way he sees the world through this art, but he also brings pieces of it to us, capturing special moments and bringing out what is unique in each of his subjects. Daudi covers a range of photo types but his greatest fascination is with people. He is probably best known for his work in the dance community. His professionalism and attention to detail in his work is impressive, as is his friendly, charismatic nature. While Daudi has spent much of his time showcasing the talent and beauty of the artists that he photographs, it is my pleasure to finally celebrate Daudi’s talent and inspiring story with all of you. Thank you Daudi for your enthusiastic and thoughtful responses.
Over a year ago, I had participated in a master class blues workshop in which each of us were critiqued individually about our dancing by both the instructors and the other participants. We were then given tips on what improvements we could make and then were to dance in front of the audience again, this time keeping in mind these suggestions in order to see and feel how they could transform our dancing.
I learned so much from that workshop, but unexpectedly, one of the most memorable components of it was a dance by two student participants I had never met before- Patrick and Linda. They didn’t do anything particularly fancy or flashy in their dance, but their connection to each other and the music was so sweet and heartfelt. Continue reading
Dance has influenced the decisions I make, the places I go, the people I meet, the perceptions I have about life, the values I cherish the most, my awareness of myself as a body and a soul, as well as how I interact with others and the world around me.
Someone recently asked me why I dance, and the first thought that came to my mind was, ironically, NOT thinking. Dance, as I explained to this person, is one of the first places I learned not to lead (or follow) with thinking, but to feel. With Dance, I shut off my brain, and engage, or turn on, my senses. This is huge for someone who is constantly thinking and processing and analyzing like myself. And wow, what it has done for my writing. As a writer, I need to be much more in touch with my senses, and to be able to capture moments when my senses are really heightened. Dance makes me much more aware of those moments and plants the images of them deep within my memory.