Friday, June 20, 2008


What's remarkable about this photo of a moment in time is not her super short fringe-y "Tango" skirt. Or her "Tango" fishnet stockings. Or their "Tango" attire. Or their dramatic "Tango" pose. Or their intense "Tango" facial expressions to go with their dramatic "Tango" pose. Or even the fact that they are performing "Tango" for the public for change on Calle Florida, one of the most touristy of touristy streets in Buenos Aires.

What's remarkable about this photo is the audience. Hands on hips; hands in pockets; hands on belt; arms crossed. Faces - perplexed; neutral; bored.

The trouble with Tango as "Product" - pose after pose, lift after lift, fancy step after fancy step, put together according to some sort of mathematical thrill and profit maximizing formula - is that Tango becomes no more than a mere "Product" with a limited shelf life.

Make Tango all about "moves" and put-on drama to the detriment of musicality, emotion, intimacy and connection between the dancers (a.k.a. "HEY!!!!!TANGO!!!!!" without Tango) and it becomes nothing more than a very amateur acrobatic act - and not a very interesting one at that, something to be looked upon by passerbys in mild curiosity and promptly forgotten. No matter if your "Tango Show" is on the street, in the middle of a milonga*, in a caberet, as part of a monstrous huge splashy event, or on a grandest stage in the world - you see one of them, and you've seen them all.

* A very sad and unfortunate situation, only for those couples really truly desperate for attention but can't get people to pay to see them. A la Fabio. We've also seen a lot of nuevo tango versions!


tangocherie said...

AMEN, sister!
"Tango Para Turistas" is only too sad and common here in BsAs.
Many people come and go and never get a clue what the "real" tango is all about.

Irene and Man Yung said...

Dear Cherie,

Unfortunately, sometimes gratuitous and ostentatious booty-shimmy/shakin' (so to speak) is what passes for tango and its related dances these fact I guarantee we will see some prime examples tonight at the milonga!

Irene and Man Yung said...

Oooooops - correction. I meant SOULLESS "gratuitous and ostentatious booty-shimmy/shakin'". And yes, I saw plenty of that tonight! One "advanced" follower's pert and protruding behind was rippling, heaving and swaying so much under her flimsy clingy skirt I was starting to get seasick!

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