Recent Tango Musings

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Tango Musing


Music & Fashion

Posted: 17:20, Monday 4 June 2007 by Megan Jones

Updated: 16:50, Monday 4 June 2007 by Megan Jones

There is a show on Radio National (AM called Music and Fashion in which the presenter, Andrew Ford, explores, well..the fashions in music.. One episode aired recently touched on tango and you can check it out here . It contains the following extract:

If jazz had begun in the brothels of New Orleans, the tango seems to have started in the brothels of Buenos Aires. But as with the origins of jazz, not much detail is really known, and things tend to get made up. For example, here’s a tall story that’s still rolled out when people discuss the origins of tango. The gauchos, Argentinian cowboys out on the Savannah, spent their days riding horses and, over time, the animals’ sweat caused the gauchos’ chaps, their riding pants, to stiffen into the shape of the horse’s body, so they were forced to walk with bow legs. Bear with me. Now heading off to the nearest bordello in search of rest and recreation, but having first failed first to take a shower, or change their riding pants, these macho men would dance with the ladies of the night. The prostitute was held in the crook of the gaucho’s right arm, but forced by dint his body odour – and doubtless his horse’s body odour too – to keep her face as far away from him as possible. Hence the thrown-back head. Her right hand, meanwhile, was placed on the gaucho’s left hip, near his wallet.

And this from one of the guests, Jessica Nicholas:

I guess that’s when a tango reality clashes with the tango illusion. Being a foreigner, particularly one with blonde hair and blue eyes in a place like Argentina, on the dance floor, is a little bit like having leprosy because people will look at you and just make the connection between foreigner, tourist, bad dancer and you can sit there all night without having a dance, which is a devastating experience You can also be asked to dance by people who are not very good or who have intentions that go well beyond the dance itself. And then, you learn very quickly not to judge a book by its cover because a balding, very large, elderly gentleman can approach you, the old-timers are called milongeros, and there you learn what tango really is, and it’s not about what it looks like, it’s all about feeling.

I had an old milangero pull back from me in the middle of a dance on my first trip, and hold his hand to my heart and say ‘Here, this is where it comes from, it’s not your feet, it’s here’ – and that’s what tango is about, it’s about soul and spirit and connecting with the music. And one of the beautiful things about tango is, it’s life experience, it’s one of those forms of dance like flamenco that I think you can get better as you get older, because there are so many paradoxes, there are so many emotions contained within it if you think about its origins, there’s anger, and desperation, and isolation, the full gamut of emotions, and I think, fortunately or unfortunately, once you commit to it, the obsession sweeps you up, and I’m afraid you’re destined to go through the same gamut of emotions yourself.


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At 15:51 on Tuesday, 5 June 2007 Mike L said:

At 13:34 on Friday, 8 June 2007 Roger said: