Friday, 25 January 2013


The Tango -- alluring, sexy, provocative. A dance of exotic erotica.  It’s a piece of performance art telling an ancient tale. A tale that began with Lilith, Adam’s first wife and her refusal to accept Adam’s dominance over her. Lilith just would not tolerate Adam laying on top of her when they had sex. It is a narrative that has been re -told, re-invented hundreds of times over the millennia. Through the medium of dance and spectacle the Tango tells the enduring tale of the dominant persistence of the male, and the equally powerful resistance of the female.

The Tango is a sensual dance which involves a negotiation of power. The male controls the female; she responds to his demand. Sometimes she responds with resistance and rebellion; she seizes the power for herself for a few brief seconds. It is a slow seduction. He caresses her gently, seductively; sometimes not so gently. His caresses can border on erotic violence.

It is not like the waltz, where the male gently manipulates his partner, telling her with his body where he wants her to go. The female in the Tango has a mind of her own. If he lowers his guard for a second she will devour him, annihilate  him with her energy. The observer becomes aware of an energetic field created by the dancers’ inner selves and emotional expression.

In the tango there are smooth horizontal movements that are strong and determined. It is danced in close full, upper body contact. The dancers are very low with long steps and no up and down movements. Forward steps land on the heel; in backward steps the dancer pushes forward from the heel.

There is room for improvisation; sometimes he may accentuate the long line of her body with a caress of his hand. Her fingers may glide over the breadth of his shoulder; they are intensely erotic moments. Their audience draw a hiss of a breath. How do they dare behave so flagrantly with the party looking on? And the Tango, of course can be danced, for brief moments alone; the two dancing for their own seductive pleasure. The dancers respond to Terpsichore the Muse of Dance and Music. Their response is physical, emotional and intellectual.

Tango is a fluid dialogue where the bodies talk and surprise each other step after step. He bends her body into impossible positions, shaping her, forming her, teaching her. She retaliates and swirls furiously away from him.

“Historically, the Tango is a dance that has influences from European and African culture. Dances from the candombe ceremonies of former slave peoples helped shape the modern day Tango. The dance originated in lower-class districts of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. The music derived from the fusion of various forms of music from Europe. The word "tango" seems to have first been used in connection with the dance in the 1890s. Initially it was just one of the many dances, but it soon became popular throughout society, as theatres and street barrel organs spread it from the suburbs to the working-class slums, which were packed with hundreds of thousands of European immigrants, primarily Italians, Spanish and French.

“In the early years of the 20th century, dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires travelled to Europe, and the first European tango craze took place in Paris, soon followed by London, Berlin, and other capitals. Towards the end of 1913 it hit New York in the USA, and Finland. In the USA around 1911 the word "tango" was often applied to dances in a 2/4 or 4/4 rhythm such as the one-step. The term was fashionable and did not indicate that tango steps would be used in the dance, although they might be. Tango music was sometimes played, but at a rather fast tempo. Instructors of the period would sometimes refer to this as a "North American tango", versus the so-called "Argentine Tango". By 1914 more authentic tango stylings were soon developed, along with some variations like Albert Newman's "Minuet" tango.

“The Tango consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and areas of Argentina as well as in other locations around the world. The dance developed in response to many cultural elements, such as the crowding of the venue and even the fashions in clothing. The styles are mostly danced in either open embrace, where lead and follow have space between their bodies, or close embrace, where the lead and follow connect either chest-to-chest (Argentine tango) or in the upper thigh, hip area (American and International tango.)
Paragraphs in quotes from WIKI.

For more on “The Embrace in Tango” click here

“Bora Toska, a Tango dancer, interviewed Javier Rodriguez Javier Rodriguez an important figure in today’s tango world. Ever since his glorious partnership with Geraldine, he’s captured the minds and hearts of tango aficionados around the world, even achieving cult-like status in some places.”

“Above all,’ he said ‘ you have to have the embrace. And the embrace is one only. It can be more open or more closed, very tight or at one meter distance and you can still be embracing another person in the perfect connection. If you know how to embrace and take into you another person’s body, everything else can be fixed.”

Here are Patricio Toucuda and Carla Chimento dancing their version of the Argentine Tango.

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