Dance the Tango and not the Tamango

Published on by CMe



Dance the Tango and not the Tamango 


El Tango es la directa expresión de lo que comúnmente los poetas han tratado de definir en palabras como: la creencia de que la lucha puede ser un festejo


Q: Is this the tango I see in ballrooms or TV.
SHORT: Probably Not.
LONG: Most of the time on TV shows and at social ballroom dances the tangos played are American Tango. This is characterized by music with a very sharp, strict tempo. The dance tempo is often “Slow-Slow-Quick-Quick-Slow.” Strict tempo music is characteristic of most ballroom music. Movements in American Tango often involve sharp head turning and outstretched arms in promenade (side-to-side) position. Partners do not dance close together. Movie Star Rudolph Valentino is known for his classic American Tango. It is said by many that American Style tango has flash but no passion. Argentine Tango is very big on passion and connection. Dancers often dance close together. It is highly improvisational and of the moment. It may or may not be flashy. At its best, it is danced for each other. Some social ballroom and Latin dances are now including a few Argentine Tangos in the course of a dance evening.

Q: How is Argentine Tango music different from American Tango music?
SHORT: Most of the time Argentine Tango music does NOT have a strict tempo (or a strict tempo that is easily discernable), but varying tempos.
LONG: In the course of one three-minute tango song the tempo may or may not change, and tone of the song can often vary widely. These musical changes can be interpreted by the dancers in whatever way they want—Argentine Tango is a very improvisational and interpretive dance. It is a conversation between partners. Older tango music has a “walking tempo,” that, while not strict in the ballroom sense, is consistent and lends itself well to “milonguero” or “close embrace” style tango. Some classic tango “orquestas,” such as Juan D’Arienzo’s, are known for their prominent, steady, energetic, clear tempo. Perhaps the most distinctive instrument in an Argentine Tango orquesta is the bandoneon (similar to a concertina). The music of Tango is said to express the passion and soul of the Argentine experience. As dancers grow in their skills and sense of the music they more clearly feel and express this soul and passion in their dancing and their connection to each other as they dance. Tango is a dance where depth matters.

Q: What should I expect at my first Milonga?
SHORT: Expect a great social evening among others of all skill levels who want to dance or listen to Tango.
LONG: Expect to have fun listening and dancing to authentic classic Argentine Tango music, as well as more contemporary tango music. It is a chance to put into practice what you learned in practice! Expect to meet new people, share dances with them if you wish, and enjoy an vening where, if you are fortunate, you will be swept away by the passion and connection of Tango.

Pasional Javier Rodriguez & Geraldine Rojas 2004


Sebastian Achaval y Roxana Suarez - Canning Mundial 2007

Pablo Rodriguez & Noelia Hurtado campeones metropolitano Ventarron 

Gustavo Naveira & Giselle Anne - El Adiós by Edgardo Donato

Gustavo Naveira & Giselle Anne - El Acomodo / Donato 

Milonguita - Mariano Chicho Frumboli & Juanna Sepulveda 

Tito Lusiardo y Beba Bidart - Anibal Troilo Milonga La Trampera Buenas Noches Bs.As. 

Pepito Avellaneda & Gilda Suzuki - 1995

Aoniken Quiroga y Carla Marano 

Tango Argentino-Esquina Carlos Gardel-Oscar & Georgina

¡Viva La Música!
Best is to start a tango just by walking, doing no figures. Match the steps to the music, just listen. The more you can hear and feel the music inside, the more you know the music by heart, the more you can walk it. A dancer is like a musician, a musician makes a movement like striking the piano, and then... comes the sound. It means that, in an anticipating moment, the sound is inside him before it comes out. A dancer starts a movement and... steps at the moment that the sound appears or instantaneously following it, he is "one" with the music because he knows the music by heart. In this composition, the movement is corresponding perfectly with the music. Reacting on music is not the same as dancing with the music. When you "react" on a sound you hear, there is a time delay, as if the movement is not inside the music. However, if a dancer over-anticipates, he is predicting the music and steps just a bit too early, being just a fraction ahead of time. The timing question relates to organic consciousness. To keep one with the music - the music felt inside and the music heard outside -, a permanent sensitive awareness is required. It means being attentive to sensory signals. It is a joy you can develop, starting by matching your steps to the 2x4 beat, stepping in response to the pulse.

Tango dance or la danza prohibida is more than a styled image. Touching another person is a form of physical intimacy and plays an important role in dance. Introspection captures the intention, not just the physical, outward expression. Action only deals with physical movement: the action line, the axis. Physical movement however, has a non-physical counterpart: its essence, its movement identity. Gesture involves not only physical movement, but a deeper concept of identity. One can only make contact if an appearance has a deeper emotional substance, a lived-body is behind the appearance. Significant interior feelings like joy, make the exterior appearance meaningful and authentic. From this, the dance derives its sense of motion as a whole. To make dance a living, ongoing event, there must be this, rather magical internal trigger for action. It is like playing piano, it is not the same as typing notes, an inner soul has to touch the fingers. A musician is expressing himself through his instrument and connecting awareness to the whole body. He is not unpacking a digital audio format. Dancing on life music feels much different from a mp3 audio file which encodes music into a technological form. We interact through all our senses, the sensing body in movement has much more layers than its visual image. Tango or la danza prohibida, is rather a counterculture than a subculture. A subculture is a somewhat integrated component of a society, though clearly separated like the world of celebrities, while a counterculture is actively and openly opposed to many of the characteristics of a society, a nostalgic image maybe.

In recent years, especially since Argentina's disastrous economic crisis of January 2002, tango tourism has become an important source of revenue for the city's economy and Argentinean males can get an income as a taxi-dancer. Taxi dancers rent themselves to foreign tango tourists for the social dance only, a strange turn in the history of tango and it's origins. But as thoughts and social behaviors change, tango as a social dance changes too. Learning to dance is learning and exploring a new (body) language, a language that seems to reflect historical characteristics. Subtle changes in social relations are mirrored in new styles of social dance. What does body-language tell us about our today's wishes or attitude of mind?

In a society in which the individual is relentlessly confronted with a massive cultural production of unattainable role models, we find ourselves increasingly under pressure to conform. The omnipresence of desirable bodies with luxurious lingerie styling and the knowledge that we will never look like that, creates a paradoxical and artificial web of frustration and desire. A keyword during this decade is Sexiness. Sex appeal or looking sexy is about an exterior appearance. It can be related to self-perception, self-awareness, self consciousness, ego. A feeling of self-consciousness occurs when we realize that we are being watched or observed, the feeling that "everyone is looking". When feeling self-conscious, one becomes aware of even the smallest of one's own actions, self-objectification: picture, image, icon, ikon.

A group that might be expected to be particularly high in self-objectification are dancers. As there is an excessive beauty culture and a phobia for the passage of time, the aesthetic perceptions experienced in the last decade mark a general perception transformation, appearances become objects, items of clinic evaluation. It looks as if beauty is no longer seen as an object of desire, but as an object of scientific research, searching the perfect geometric shape for a selling ad where the viewer can respond to become part of the advertising message, which means that the gaze and the exhibition are one and the same, as bound in a looking mirror.

In the matter of listening, time, cultural taste and sensitivity make a difference. Many listeners appreciate the sheer sound quality of authentic performance instruments, finding it more beautiful and filled with character than what is heard from modern instruments. The same could be said of the human voice, when it is not required to compete with modern instruments in volume. What authentic-performance participants want is not always authenticity per se, but particular benefits that come from authenticity, such as clarity, tonal vividness, and rhythmic propulsion. The instruments have a less overpowering tone, so that the playing of one note interferes less with the hearing of simultaneous or neighboring notes. Authentic performance is argued to achieve greater transparency of musical texture. Greater transparency and greater dynamic contrast lend themselves, in turn, to greater rhythmic energy. To the ear that has become attuned to authentic performance, modern "mainstream" performances often sound heavy and rhythmically dull. Paradoxically, for such listeners, the unique musical character comes through more clearly when they are performed with the lighter forces of the authentic performance movement. Mainstream or 'corriente principal', spiegelt den kulturellen Geschmack einer großen Mehrheit wieder.

Regarding dancing tango and it's musical evolution in the recent decades, the four representative schools of the Argentine tango music are: Di Sarli, D’Arienzo, Troilo and Pugliese. They are dance orchestras, playing music for dancing. When the spirit of the music is characterized by counterpoint marking, clarity in the articulation is needed. It has a clear, repetitive pulse or beat, a strong tango-rhythm which is based on the 2x4, 2 strong beats on 4 (dos por cuatro). Caminar es todo, stepping the rhythm is the art of tangoing. The dancer's musicality and his taste for subtleties makes you see the refinement of the 2x4 tango music. Astor Piazzolla stretched the classical harmony and counterpoint and moved the tango from the dance floor to the concert stage. His tango nuevo compositions tell us something of our contemporary life, dancing it relates much to modern dance which is a more choreographic performance. Tango with a touch of techno is another new development. This bajo fondo underground tango is, in a way, the return of the strong beat and it is mostly danced with a lot of nuevo figures such as colgadas and volcadas. In any case, musicality only comes when you love the music and know it by heart. A pianist says: "There’s nothing quite like learning to play a piece of music to really get inside it. Once I’m inside it, once I’m feeling through the piece with my own hands and working through its many parts with the microscope of learning, once I really start to “get it” about the music … it’s just staggering."

Playing piano is not the same as typing notes, an inner soul has to touch the fingers. Touching another person is a form of physical intimacy and plays an important role in dance. One can also be emotionally touched, such as by music. In this metaphorical sense it refers to some action or object that evokes a sad or joyful emotion. Hearing music is more than listening, it is touching all of the senses simultaneously. In singing, the body's pulsations are protruded on to a stream of breath, thus revealing the singers emotions and offering a target for affective identification for the listeners. Even when listening to sounds of musical instruments, a part of the listening experience is a notion of the bodily activities that produce the sounds. A player's sense of a musical style is primarily felt in contact with the instrument, and can not be acquired through discourse. The physical effort to create sound is already part of the music. The bandoneón, originally ment as a small church organ, needs the musician's whole body to express a boundary-transcending sound. A musician is expressing himself through his instrument and connecting awareness to the whole body. He is not unpacking a digital audio format. Dancing on life music feels much different from a mp3 audio file which encodes music into a technological form. We interact through all our senses, the sensing body in movement has much more layers than its visual image. 


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