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Friday, 2 October 2009

Why do we dance tango?

Yesterday, UNESCO declared tango - the music and dance from Buenos Aires and Montevideo - a world cultural treasure. (The fact that this declaration took place in Abu Dhabi seems to me somewhat incongruous considering the nature of the dance - but that's another story.) Such recognition would appear to be good for tango in its countries of origin, as well as strengthening it internationally.

Interestingly, according to the Guardian, fears about unintended detrimental consequences of tango's international popularity had spurred Argentina and Uruguay to lodge a joint application to UNESCO: As it swells into a global phenomenon, Argentina and Uruguay want to keep its roots intact.

I have often reflected upon why so many of us dance tango, even though we have no previous link to the region or culture. (By the way, if in any doubt about the global spread of tango, just take a quick look at websites such as Torito.) In the current edition of El Tanguata, Milena Plebs gives her view:
The answer is the same everywhere I go: the embrace, the contact, the encounter. Being able to return to the feminine and masculine roles, which have been so blurred these last decades due to women's liberation, technological and industrial advances, and isolation. Tango, on the other hand, is a connection to the crude reality, it's a body-to-body encounter, it's feeling the other person's energy.

What do you think? Why do you dance tango?

Plebs also makes some interesting observations about the importance of rescuing the tradition.


1 comment:

  1. i know some people who can tango and i'm really jealous of them :(


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