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Views On Competition in Tango

The Competition

Argentine Tango traditionally is a cultural, social dance; danced for enjoyment, fulfillment of the soul and replenishment of the spirit. It calms the nerves, soothes emotional upheaval, provides a ‘safe place’ to be intimate and feel love. The dance floor is where individuals meet. They leave restored. Results are temporary so dancers return regularly to re-capture the sensation of love which is a virtually indescribable sensation that combines physical closeness with an ethereal connection. The ultimate objective is the exquisite, intangible connection. The conduit is a combination of many elements: music, physical touch, movement, expression, respect, submission, and gentle protection.

 

Sue MartinSepWe can establish the elements with ease, set the stage as it were, but achieving the essence of Argentine Tango is not so simple. An occasional successful ‘connection’ encounter cannot be accurately described because no words suffice to adequately interpret the experience.

 

In America today people are not interested in the physical and emotional intimacy aspects of Argentine Tango. They prefer not to feel vulnerable and do not want to expose their innermost self with complete strangers. And yet at the same time they seem rather emotionally hollow, disconnected, and believe that intimacy is exclusively carnal sexuality.

 

Sadly, the dance of Argentine Tango is now following the course of other couple dances. The elements that once clearly separated Argentine Tango through its disciplined excellence are now almost completely avoided. It has been reduced to The Competition.

 

If the true heart of Argentine Tango is the rather esoteric unifying of persons otherwise unknown to one another, being able to express themselves in a combination of movement and music, in perfect harmony, exhibiting an intimate, ethereal connection, competition has no way to filter out the winners from the losers.

 

As one of the greatest proponents for technical acuity I believe dancing skills can be measured as they are visibly apparent to the observer or judge, but technical skills alone do not constitute the entirety of the dance. The level of connection achieved is something private and known only to the dancers.

History of Argentine Tango

Weathered political map South America - home of Argentinean tangoTango evolved in Argentina before the invention of the phonograph.  In the mid-late 1800's a gathering of musicians who could play rhythm, melody and tune in harmony played improvised tango music - dance music - to entertain.  A ménage of African slave dance, Cuban habanera, French colonial dance and European Polka all contributed to the unwritten score.

Displaced gauchos from the receding pampas of Argentina gathered in the bordellos of the poorer barrios (districts) of Buenos Aires to enjoy a little leisure time with the ladies.  It is hardly surprising that the dance was scorned by the elite, upper class that considered such behavior deplorable.

 

Argentine bandoneonist
Argentine bandoneonist

The dance craze in Europe and the United States between 1912 and 1915 significantly influenced the social acceptability of Argentine Tango, and by the early 20's new instruments were finding their voice in tango. The piano, the German accordion known as the bandoneon, violin and flute created a new genre of music, with a unique sound, and composers began to write music for the budding small orchestras.

 

Music provides the rhythm and the conversation that is expressed visually in dance.  Phrases are often repeated from one instrument to the next, signifying the dialogue.

The steps of the tango dance began with a simple walking step.  The synchronized body movements evolved, accentuating lines, in a conversation of body language.  New steps developed to accommodate crowded dance floors, and artistic embellishments added for unique style and flare.

It takes two to tango. Described as the seductive dance of one body with four legs, tango is intimate and private - the observer, the voyeur.  The tango embrace is close, soft and warm.  Complicated improvised patterns are executed with precision and elegance; the tangling and unraveling of intertwined legs, deliberate and poised.  Smooth directional changes are integrated into a sensual, passionate chase that climaxes in the occasional dramatic, passionate pose.

Tango - Captivating & Inspirational

Tango in Silouhettesilhouette6 The principal objective of Tango Fantástico is to promote the art and culture of Argentine Tango through instruction and demonstration.

Often described as the seductive dance of one body with four legs, Argentine Tango is an expressive dance that follows artistic lines which are both improvised and led.  The dancers become the music and the music is the dance.

The tango embrace is close, soft and warm. Complicated improvised patterns are executed with precision and elegance; the tangling and unraveling of intertwined legs, deliberate and poised.  The fluid movement of the dancers is captivating and unique - an improvised dance is never repeated.