Thursday, August 22, 2013

Then and Now

 The DeLorean Time Machine can take you into the past...but it can also bring something you don't want to see again back to the future!

I recently had a chat with an acquaintance in which the topic of Tango came up.  My acquaintance didn't dance Tango, but she knew that I did.  Luckily, I didn't have sprain anything in order to explain what Tango is to her - she was convinced that she knew all about it already from a friend of hers who moved to Buenos Aires ten years ago just to dance.

"Unfortunately, she had to move back to Toronto not long ago.  The economic situation is not looking good in Argentina and she was lucky to be able to get a buyer for her condo and get out," she said.

"What is her name?" we asked, wondering whether we have met this ex-ex-pat dancer in one of the local milongas.  "Is she dancing in Toronto now?"

"Oh no!  She told me that it's just not the same here as it is down there.  In Argentina she said they walk, talk and breathe Tango, it's a whole way of life and nothing in Toronto can even compare.  She has declared that SHE WILL NEVER DANCE TANGO IN TORONTO."

OK, so we compare Toronto Tango to Buenos Aires Tango all the time but we would never snub Toronto Tango quite like that!  We are curious: Lady, are you such a great dancer that absolutely no Toronto Tanguero could ever give you even the slightest little Tango thrill?  We've seen plenty of Porteña Tangueras and Milongueras (professional and non-professional dancers) pass through town and many were willing, even eager to dance with Toronto Tangueros.  And how about the Toronto Tangueras who have been to Buenos Aires and have danced with the best?  When they are back in town, we've seen them having a blast dancing with their favourite local leaders with smiles on their faces and no complaints! *

* Wow, we'd like to meet the xxpat Toronto Tanguera one day - she must be one extraordinary dancer, bigger and mightier and finer than any Milonguera we have encountered!

The only explanation we can come up with is that the xxpat Tanguera has been away from Toronto Tango so long, she doesn't realize that Toronto Tango has come a long long way.

Ten years ago, most of us danced quite funny in Toronto.  Collisions every three steps.  Uncontrolled spinning, jumping and kicking.   People admiring themselves in the mirror as they alternately posed and whirled, fantasizing themselves as the stars of Forever Tango.  Line of dance - what line of dance?  Close embrace was the minority - Open embrace was funner!  Every milonga night was CIRCUS NIGHT.

If you were a Toronto Tango dancer then, you'd be in shock if you time traveled into our favourite Toronto milongas right now.  You'd walk into a space where people are actually using the cabeceo instead of coming over and asking you right in your face. The dancers follow the line of dance.  The leaders lead clearly, the followers follow well, and both followers and leaders keep their feet to the floor and step cleanly and mostly to the music.  Any figures done are simple and elegant and barring one or two mishaps a night, couples do not bump into other couples.  Even in a crowded setting on a long weekend dance floor!

"This is TERRIBLE, Man Yung!  Every weekend all I see are calm, ecstatic dancers enjoying the passionate embrace of Tango without disturbing other people!  If they continue on this path we will have absolutely nothing to write about on our blog!"

To the (snobby) xxpat Toronto Tanguera: Maybe it's time to give Toronto Tango another try? *

* EXCEPT: Ha ha!  Last week a Tanguero from ten years ago must have hopped into a time machine to travel to a present-day Toronto milonga.  While everyone was dancing calmly around him, he was in a state of nervous agitation attempting to stuff every step he knew into every second of music.  So intent was he in exhibiting everything he knew, he lurched whichever direction his figures took him, kept looking down at feet and shoved his partners outwards whenever they tried to embrace him closer.  The tangueras who intrepidly attempted to dance with him had grim expressions of disapproval on their faces - but he didn't care!  If you want to do all those foot sweeps, spins and ganchos, you can't have your lady partner crowding up on your space! **

** "Is he from out of town?" I asked Man Yung.

"No idea, I haven't seen him before."

"I sure hope he is from out of town, because the way he dances is embarrassing!"

"Well, you can never rule out the possibility that he is from Toronto.  He might be one of those dancers who have been going to the milongas that we haven't been to, and taking all those New Tango workshops and classes that we have been hearing rumors about!"

If that is true, there may be plenty more of them, lurking out there just waiting to invade our high quality traditional milongas.   I'm rubbing my hands in glee at all the posts that I can write about this!


AlanJonesj said...

Hello Irene and Man Yung,I hope you are well.There is an interesting discussion on Facebook with The Tango Reformation Party in England.You may have to join,but you could put your thoughts over,perhaps from ba,or where you live.Sorry this comment is not about your comment! "Up with the trads".ux

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Alan,

Thanks for the tip - we will definitely check it out!

Irene and Man Yung

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