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Saturday, 27 June 2009

Dancing to the music - Poema: a case in point

A Youtube search for Poema will reveal countless dance interpretations of this much-loved, romantic tango by Francisco Canaro & Roberto Maida. A nice story I once heard, was that other orchestras didn't try to record Poema after Canaro nailed it, simply because of its perfection. But I'm sure the following more mundane explanation for the absence of other versions is closer to the truth. Carlos Puente of the Buenos Aires Tango Club set me straight one day when he explained it was all to do with commercial imperatives. Put simply, the recording companies determined what was to be put on disc and what wasn't. However, I reckon perfection still figures in there somewhere, because tangueros of all ages love to dance to it!

Watching the popular couple Coca & Osvaldo Cartery dance to it a few years ago in the milonga La Nacional genuinely brought tears to my eyes. For me it's a tango begging to be danced with love, even if it is for an audience. Alongside the typical strong Canaro rhythms, at various points Maida's voice and the violin demand a "gentle" approach - advance & suspension, light & shade.

Performances for an audience, although a form of entertainment, need to do justice to the music and its moods, too. This principle shouldn't just apply to social dancing. For my tastes, some performers stretch the idea of entertainment a little too far, where their skillful moves begin to look somewhat gratuitous and incongruous, some might even say gimmicky. But instead of focussing on what I don't like, here are a few favourites of mine:

Just came across another blog comparing 11 "Poemas". What are your favourites?



  1. "Sin duda alguna"......... without any doubt... I prefer Ricardo Vidort

  2. I prefer Melina and Detlef. Roger


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