Interview with Tango Personalities
- Silvio Grand and his partner Mayra Galante have been around the world. They have performed in 20 countries. From Luna Park in Buenos Aries, Argentina to the Kremlin Theater in Moscow, Russia. They have performed in festivals and taught students in seminars throughout Europe, Asia, Central America, and the United States. Their image has been the international trademark for such companies as CitiBank, Bridge stone, Milonga Liquer, TeLeFe Satelital, and the Argentine channel Solo Tango. Silvio Grand was born in the 'Paris of the West' Buenos Aires. The city where the tango was born.
When asked, what is it that motivates someone internationally renowned for strength, fluidity, and mastering a difficult dance movement, Silvio responded with his own question...
Silvio: Qué es lo que sueño (What do you dream)?
Question: The power of that question is striking. A good friend once told me that the most important thing we need to do in our lives is ask the right questions of ourselves. Too many ask self-defeating questions. In other words, we ask knowing it will get a negative response. The people who achieve things seem to ask the right questions. Silvio Grand knows achievement on an internationally competitive scale. Is the dream the motivation?
Silvio: Motivation is such a beautiful word. I think it is the key to happiness maybe? I am always in search of motivations because they are the engine of life. When I get up, when I study, when I think, I wonder what can I do to achieve that dream?
Question: The way you think sounds powerful. Has that been the key to your success?
Silvio: Success, that is another particular word I have much respect for. But, it is personal to each one of us. You can not measure success with a common rule for everyone. Each of us individually, looks to success with its own rules and goals. Do not confuse money or fame with success. Or, measure artistic value by financial reward. It is without a doubt, part of being a successful artist, but definitely not all.
Question: It is individual?
Silvio: Be clear about your own goals. Make sure that they are yours and not someone else's. Otherwise, you achieve the aims and goals of someone else. Or, feel the parameters of success only within someone else's vision for it. You will never feel fulfilled or in harmony with yourself if you do that.
Question: What was your dream or vision?
Silvio: I saw myself dancing on stage before thousands of people and feeling safe as I did it. Enjoying the applause of the crowd and feeling the connection with them. It is something unique, to be on stage and feel safe.
Question: What is it about Tango that caught you?
Silvio: Since the first class I took, I realized that Tango would be one of the most strongest and enduring influences in my life. I fell in love with the embrace of a woman and how creative you can be when dancing. The range of emotions you can display through it is amazing.
Then it gets deeper and beyond the dance itself. I love and admire the poetry, didactics, and pedagogy of Tango. I love to teach it and pass along what I know to my students.
Question: It is a true passion then. Were there ever any hurdles you had to jump to keep that kind of passion alive?
Silvio: When I first decided to become a professional dancer, I was told by someone that it is a thankless and unpleasant profession. That you only have three minutes to do something and you must do it perfectly or the audience will let you know it. So, it becomes something you no longer enjoy.
The idea made me uncomfortable and I couldn't move forward with courage.
Question: What did you do? Obviously, you were able to move past it.
Silvio: I fought the premise of what they said. I realized it was a deception. I thought, if I am unable to do my best so that the audience doesn't think well of me, I would remind myself that I am human.
Now, I enjoy what I give to my audience. The public has become for me a source of inspiration and energy I fully enjoy.
Question: I have noticed that most people we see as successful have had to struggle to get to where they are at.
Silvio: I am proud to say that I have fought for it. I am proud of everything in my life, I have fought for.
Question: Some say that it's all a matter of luck and timing when it comes to personal success.
Silvio: When I started dancing, I consciously made a decision to be a professional stage dancer.
Question: So, it was something you saw?
Silvio: I dreamed of dancing in theaters in large cities like Moscow, Rome, and Buenos Aires. I dreamed of traveling abroad. I also wanted to be a dance teacher. It was clear, I wanted to be a dancer. It was not a matter of chance. I built my career as a plan.
Question: Since you are a much sought after teacher, too, what do you teach your students?
Silvio: In 35 years I have noticed more young people coming to learn the dance. A new student may be anxious or nervous because their body does not respond with agility or how they want it too. That is normal. I give them basic, clear concepts. And I teach them to have fun!
I want them to leave with more energy than when they arrived. I don't want them to have sore feet or a sore body. If they have learned something new and had fun then my goal was accomplished.
Question: I love that thinking. Dance is meant to be fun and exciting. So, you have noticed more young people in class. Why do you think that is?
Silvio: I think it's because our present time is very lonely for people. For all our sophistication and social networking sites to keep in touch, it's always at a distance. They seem attracted to the physical embrace of the dance, the walking, and the rhythm. There are fewer figure movements and more holds.
The Tango is a way to embrace and connect with something more basic between a man and a woman.
Question: It is one of the things I love about dance myself. That basic human touch and connection. In the end, what is it that you find most fulfilling about what you do?
Silvio: I would say, I am living it. I am being true to myself.
Thank you Silvio for tremendous insight.
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