Monday, June 14, 2010

"Tango!!!"..... now selling condos

Chinese television here in Toronto has been bombarded with commercials selling Concord Adex's "Tango" Condominium lately. You can't watch fifteen minutes of programming without being abruptly assaulted by the sound of the whiny, plaintive strains of "Por Una Cabeza" from the soundtrack of "Scent of a Woman", and the sight of a slick, tightly choreographed "Tango" routine by two skinny, attractive dancers.... who obviously have never danced a real "Tango" (as we know it anyway) in their lives.

We wish we could embed the video for you... but the embedding has been "disabled by request". Either the person who posted the video thinks the video is very precious, or very embarrassing - it's hard to tell. Doesn't mean we can't link to the video and then take snapshots of the screens with our iPod though.

Ugggggggghhh.... It's bad enough to have to watch the spidery/chickeny/prancy dancing all the time - and even worse to think that ballroom dancers are secretly laughing at us because of it.

Last Saturday I was driving my parents back to my brother's place (yes, the one with the propane barbeque) when out of curiosity, my father asked me about the commercial.

"Have you seen the "Tango" commercial on tv?" asked my Dad. "Is that the "Tango" that you are dancing?"

You may think it is strange that my folks have no clue about the "Tango" I'm dancing, but then, I spent thirty hours a week at a Karate Dojo for five years and never did they once take time to see me at a tournament or watch me take a class. They only time they stepped foot inside the dojo was the very first time we ever went... and that was to haggle about the fee with the karate instructor.

[Cut here to the sound of of weepy, sad violins. Sounds kind of like "Por Una Cabeza", come to think of it]

Now, my parents are very amateur ballroom dancers - make it very amateur ballroom dancers in the chinese community, which, believe me, makes it even worse. They think they have seen everything when it comes to ballroom dancing and that they are real experts - especially since the buddies that they make on cruises applaud them and tell them they are good dancers. Despite what I say to them, they insist that they are leading and following when in fact, they are doing little ugly soulless automaton routines. Or perhaps my Mom is leading, and my Dad is following, like the cart pulling the donkey and doing wheelies around the village.

I took a deep breath, tried to control my eye rolling so I wouldn't lose control of my car on the road, and explained.

"No Dad, that isn't the "Tango" that I dance. It is not "Argentine Tango". It's just a fantasy choreography by two professional dancers of anything but "Argentine Tango". By "Argentine Tango" standards, the dancing in the commercial is an outright atrocity."

Here I paused. I had the obligation as "Tango" dancer to set the record straight. "However, the music that is playing in the commercial is a traditional tango - albeit commercialized and Hollywoodized and taken from a movie soundtrack."

"No wonder the dancing looked so funny to me, " said my Dad authoritatively. "When we dance, we would never have our arms in such terribly awkward positions!"

Then he leaned forward from the back seat and said conspiratorially in a low voice (don't ask me why):

"As for your "Tango" music - it's kind of limp and wish-washy, isn't it? The "Tango" we dance to has a real strong beat!"

All I could say to that is.... "Wow, congratulations!" But since sarcasm doesn't go over too well with one's parents, I had to save my opinions for next time.

At least I can console myself with the part of the commercial where the girl kicks up like a Rockette and the guy's head snaps back one hundred and eighty degrees. Just like the heads on crash-test dummies in a 200 mph collision.


Construction Magnates and "Tango Professionals" alike must be rubbing their hands in glee! How many people will be so seduced by the "Tango" that they will rush to buy a unit? How many people will be so captivated by the "Tango" that they will immediately sign up for lessons? How many "Tangueros" with loads o' dough will run out to buy a unit and live in it to establish their tango cred - sort of like wearing "Tango" T-Shirts and getting novelty "Tango" license plates, but on a bigger scale? Yay, "Tango!!!"


Anonymous said...

OY!!!!! Why does she walk like she's a chicken tiptoeing over prairie pies???? And I'm with your dad: Why are their arms sticking out like that????

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Johanna,

That is one beautiful image you just painted with your choice of words. More people should dance like that - they might just be able to land a commercial!

Thanks for your comment!

Irene and Man Yung

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