A Conversation for Tango to San Telmo

Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 1

stragbasher

OK, I'm sold.

Excellent article!


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 2

Elico

Thank you Stagbasher. Care to dance? (Throws back head and poses)


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 3

stragbasher

Er,

I think what we need now is an entry on 'how to tango'

Let's see if we can work this out, where do I put my hands? (extends arms tentatively)


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 4

Elico

Glides effortlessly into outstretched arms and waits for the strains of the tango to begin. Looks around for the musicians. Er... can you sing?


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 5

stragbasher

not 'arf.

do you like the beatles?


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 6

Elico

Now that really would be interesting - tangoing to the Beatles. I love the Beatles. Their music will never fade away, all these years later I can still remember all the words.


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 7

Jake, the Tanguero - Muse of Salon Style Argentine Tango

An excellant article, thank you for writing it. I love tango as well, and wrote an article about it. It's at http://www.h2g2.com/A409457 if you're interested.


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 8

Elico

Jake!

Sorry, I've been away and I just got back on line. I read your article and it definitely captures the soul of the dance. You must have danced the tango yourself to be so knowledgeable. Were you in Argentina at any time? I lived in Buenos Aires for a while. A really magical city that will live forever in my heart.

elico


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 9

Jake, the Tanguero - Muse of Salon Style Argentine Tango

Elico,

Thank you for your kind comments. I've been dancing Salon Style Argentine Tango in Denver, Colorado of all places, for about 5 years now. I've never been to Buenos Aires, although its on my list of must-see-before-I-die places to go. I've submitted my article for peer review, perhaps you'd care to comment? Thanks again for comments about my article.

Jake


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 10

Researcher 154390

Dear Jake and Elico:

I have been living in Buenos Aires for 11 months now. My stay is work-related and was supposed to be only 3 months. I am a "normal American guy" who has been infected by tango. I come from Kansas. If that isn't square, I don't know what is. And when I got here, I didn't know any step of any dance of any sort before I got here. Now, though, I am to the point that I am not sure when I will return to the States. And it's all because of tango.

As Elico alludes to in her article, tango is alive and well in BA. It exists in its touristy forms in several of the more well known places, but there is a tango subculture down here that no one talks about. It's like a dirty little secret that you don't share with anyone for fear that you'll spoil things by letting the masses in on it.

Any night of the week you can dance tango, although no respectable milonga (that's argentine for "tango discoteque") opens before midnight. Thus, if you are a regular participant in the workforce (and I am), you must go straight home from work and sleep for a few hours in order to wake up later and feed your obsession.

And that's what it is -- an obsession. I meet other very "normal" foreigners from all parts of the globe at the milongas. Despite the difference in age, dress, language, culture, look, etc., we all have one thing in common -- we all have put our "normal" lives on hold so we can stay in BA to dance tango as long as possible. And every time you see a new foreigner at the milongas (there's only about 20 different milongas that are any good, so you start seeing the same people again and again), you feel like Richard Dryfuss's character in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" when he finally meets all the other "loons" inexplicably drawn towards Devil's Tower -- you see in the other tanguero's eyes a recognition, an understanding, and a relief that is borne from the discovery that you have just found someone else who understands your madness.

As an American, the rituals of the Argentine milonga are extremely foreign. The man (the "Asker") always comes up to the woman -- but only if eye contact has first been made with her (it is considered rude for Askers to surprise an unsuspecting woman). The Asker can always tell the dancers from the non-dancers by their shoes. If the woman is sitting with another man, the Asker must ask that man if he may speak to the woman. Once the male companion gives the Asker permission (and it's bad form to say no) to talk to the woman, the woman, if she wishes to dance with the asker, consents and is led onto the dance floor.

Once on the dance floor, it is customary to dance at least 3 songs or until the music changes (the order is usually tango to waltz to milonga -- all are types of tango with varying rhythm). Verbal conversation amongst the pair between songs is nice, but not obligatory -- because the real communication is in the dance itself. It is its own particular language that needs no words. And you can tell which girls are fluent -- they're the ones dancing with their eyes closed.

And I suppose that is the miracle of tango dancing. Two complete strangers can collaborate to create something beautiful -- a true painting in motion -- for 10 minutes without saying a single word to each other. And when the music stops, the two artists, mere moments before intimately intertwined in each others' thoughts, become complete strangers again.

I apologize for being long-winded. I actually began this entry to merely ask the both of you a few questions.

1. Jake -- why do you call it "Salon Style Argentine" tango?

2. Jake -- is there any city in the US where tango exists? If so, is it relegated to "dance school" clubs, or are there more natural environments? What are these places like?

3. Elico -- wherever you are from, ditto what I asked Jake in #2 above.

Sincerely,

The Lost in BA


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 11

Jake, the Tanguero - Muse of Salon Style Argentine Tango

Hi Lost,

I call it Salon Style Argentine Tango to differentiate it from say, International Ball Room Tango and Stage Tango. They're a lot more stylized. Stage Style Argentine Tango is meant as a performance piece and is a lot flashier than the what people dance in nightclubs. At least this what I've heard from people who've traveled to Buenos Aires. I've never been. I live in Denver, Colorado, USA.

Denver has a flourishing Argentine Tango community. There's a bar here in town called The Mercury Cafe which hosts a milonga just about every Friday night, frequently to live music. I wrote an article about The Mercury Cafe, it's at: http://www.h2g2.com/A433298.

Other cities have them as well. New York, Seattle, the San Francisco bay area to name a few places that I know of have active tango communities. Do a search for Tango on, say, Altavista, and you'll find plenty of websites dedicated to this dance form.


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 12

Elico

Dear Lost

I loved your message about your tangoing life in Buenos Aires. I can tell that tango has seeped into your soul. At the moment I am living in Malaysia but I have lived in Buenos Aires and there is something about that city that captivates you and refuses to let go. I haven't found any tango culture here, but did you know that the Finns are crazy over the tango and that there are numerous tango clubs in Finalnd?

Elico


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 13

Researcher 213991

Dear Lost:

Acabo de leer un mensaje tuyo de hace años. Estás todavía en Buenos Aires?

Un porteño


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 14

Researcher 213991

I've read your message from september 2000.

Maybe you wont to know there is a Tango festival in Buenos Aires next march... with a dance worldcampionship

You could see more about it in www.festivaldetango.com.ar

Un porteño


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 15

CountessZero

Hi Jake,

That's so strange, I've just "discovered" this place to communicate with other people and then...
I've lived in Colorado Springs for one year - without dancing Tango back then - but I'll be back smiley - smiley
In July maybe. Is there any addies you can tell me? Where to dance Tango in that area?

CountessZero


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 16

DenverMan

Go to www.ragtime.org/dance for information about Tango in the Denver/Boulder area. I don't know about Tango in Colorado Springs, but in Denver we have practicas on Tuesdays at the Turnverein at the corner of 16th Ave and Clarkson. On Friday's, The Mercury Cafe in Denver hosts a milonga starting around 9:30 pm or so. The Mercury is at the corner of 22nd St. and California St. in Denver. I wrote a guide entry about the Mercury Cafe. The guide entry is: A506602. I also wrote a guide entry about dancing tango: A592634.

hth


Now that's what I call a guide entry!

Post 17

freespeech8

What`s your favourite Tango music? Mine is La Compasita,I always close my eyes when dancing the Tango with an expert.


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