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Saturday, 20 March 2010

Tango as a journey

Like many gringos, we were first attracted to tango many years ago by stage tango (tango escenario). The powerful music of Piazzolla also played a large role at the time. Much later we discovered that the flamboyant, exhibition-oriented dancing was the flip-side of the tango coin to social tango.

Both are part of tango culture. One is quite rightly aimed at entertaining the audience with highly skilled and impressive figures and combinations. On the other hand, social tango (tango salón) is more subtle and internal. Each dancer has to tune in to their partner’s non-verbal communication in this improvised dance. And for me, that’s much more engaging. Each person’s communication style and response to the music will be different. So every tanda is potentially a private voyage of discovery for each person.

We dance tango salón for our partner in a milonga, alongside many other couples, who are engaging in their own private journeys for the duration of the tanda. Because we are sharing the dance-floor, the códigos of the milonga (milonga etiquette) evolved to meet the needs of all these folk, of course.

Some travel to Buenos Aires to immerse themselves in tango culture, including the códigos, which can be challenging, at least initially. Tangocherie’s blog and comments to - Why do some people bother to come to Buenos Aires to dance? – are a must to read, especially if you plan to make the journey.


Monday, 1 March 2010

Sensitive Golden Age Guys

Some say that tango is a man's world. And it may indeed appear so.

At the milonga - men traditionally invite and lead. Now let's look at the musicians, singers, composers and lyricists - mostly men. South America is traditionally known for its machismo. Men are powerful. They call the shots. Or do they?

Taking a close look at the lyrics of many tangos will reveal another perspective altogether. Rather than self-aggrandisement, a great many tangos lament men's mistakes, weaknesses, losses, regrets, betrayal, etc. Far from trumpeting macho achievement and strength, we hear them admitting to their failures - usually in matters of the heart. Trasnochando, Gloria and Idilio trunco are just a few of the many examples which we can listen to, while reading the translations.

Perhaps we see a different side of the Argentine man through these tangos.

Finally, here's Di Sarli's version of the irresistible Patotero sentimental (sentimental gangster) danced by Cristina Sosa and Daniel Nacucchio:


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