Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Taverna a Tango

Sensuous dance is not generally in an old Knight's repertoire, but after the fancy hand-work of the other evening (Yuja Wang's) suddenly we were awash with semi-clad ladies and stern looking gentlemen from South America doing some fancy foot-work. I was as happy as I usually am when Flamenco dancers visit ( an art-form I can serve fine ales to all night).  And they brought along some unusual folk that one might not expect to move quite so well. All apart from an ex-President to whom I would not normally give the time of day but who needs all the Grace he can get.

Yes, the Tango. I cannot do it. Short, rotund chaps clanking around the floor in armour clutching lightly attired ladies is not the best sight, no matter how appealing it might be to an off-duty warrior. Outdoors, even in the sunshine, a lady might wear a bit more. On the Tavern's patio, they didn't.

Tango is a partner dance that originated in the 1880s along the River Plata, the natural border between Argentina and Uruguay, and soon spread to the rest of the world.

The British bit of the Anglophine ( anglophine?? Anglophile. Thanks Moira m'dear) world used to get along very well with the Argentinians and it is a shame on both that we fought over some cold and windy islands.  Some Englishmen do a fine Tango.

Early tango was known as tango criollo (Creole tango). Today, there are many forms of tango extant. Popularly and among tango dancing circles, the authentic tango is considered to be the one closest to the form originally danced in Argentina and Uruguay.

Tango is a dance that has influences from African and European culture. 

Nowadays it is a popular element in flims that wish to attract gentlefolk to whom a harrowing tale may need some lightening. Take this, for instance, where Colin Firth did with Jessica Biel what Mr Darcy never did with Elizabeth Bennett.

Dances from the candombe ceremonies of former slave peoples helped shape the modern day Tango. 

Mr Darcy as a slave-dancer, eh? 

The dance originated in lower-class districts of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. The music derived from the fusion of various forms of music from Europe. 

He did a far more competent job than Obama did when persuaded onto the floor by Mora Godoy (a ballerina) that I can say with some confidence, despite my not being a dancer at all. I know good from bad.
Rarely do I find some commiseration for him, but I would not wish that embarassment on even m'self. A blind man could do better.

So let us see what a blind man can do. Al Pacino's brilliant performance is worthy of any expert. OK, he practiced, and he did not even gaze into Gabrielle Anwar's eyes as anyone else would have been drawn to do. What an actor. And didn't she do her part so well, too.

She gave every display of a young woman managing to be swept off her feet while remaining wholesome. Months afterward she was still blushing and gushing.

The word "tango" and "tambo" around the River Plate basin were initially used to refer to musical gatherings of slaves, with written records of colonial authorities attempting to ban such gatherings as early as 1789
Initially, it was just one of the many dances, but it soon became popular throughout society, as theatres and street barrel organs spread it from the suburbs to the working-class slums, which were packed with hundreds of thousands of European immigrants.

In the early years of the 20th century, dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires travelled to Europe, and the first European tango craze took place in Paris, soon followed by London, Berlin, and other capitals. Towards the end of 1913 it hit New York City in the US, and Finland. 
In the US, around 1911, the word "tango" was often applied to dances in a 2/4 or 4/4 rhythm such as the one-step. The term was fashionable and did not indicate that tango steps would be used in the dance, although they might be. 

Tango music was sometimes played, but at a rather fast tempo. Instructors of the period would sometimes refer to this as a "North American tango", versus the so-called "Argentine Tango". 

By 1914, more authentic tango stylings were soon developed, along with some variations like Albert Newman's "Minuet" tango.

It helps to have a handsome man and a beautiful woman for displays of such sensual dance.  Better still if they get along quite well to start with. I doubt it would work quite so well with a sour-faced and overweight feminist being 'handled' by an unwashed chap just up from his parent's basement. And even with a few days beard growth Antonio Banderas can fit the bill especially with Katya Virshilas. In 'Take the Lead' which in fact was based on a real story of a dance teacher who believed in the talent of a group of problem kids, he had their eyeballs popping with this exhibition. Or rather she did. 

In Argentina, the onset in 1929 of the Great Depression, and restrictions introduced after the overthrow of the Hipólito Yrigoyen government in 1930, caused tango to decline. 

Its fortunes were reversed as tango became widely fashionable and a matter of national pride under the government of Juan Perón. 

Tango declined again in the 1950s, as a result of economic depression and the banning of public gatherings by the military dictatorships; male-only Tango practice—the custom at the time—was considered "public gathering". 

That, indirectly, boosted the popularity of rock and roll because, unlike Tango, it did not require such gatherings.

In 2009, the tango was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

The 'real' as opposed to filmic examples of the dance, in many different locales, indoor, outside, in the street and with orchestras are easily found on You Tube, so go and have a look.

Meanwhile the Flamenco (which I must show more of sometime) is easily integrated with the Tango. As so.....

I have pints to pull. Cooling ones to cool hot blood.

A final point one might note. If such a sensuous, classy dance-art form can originate in the slums of Montevideo, how is it that our poor, young people in western Sydney, Yarraville, Luton and Boise Idaho can only manage to look like they have a serious neurological condition?



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Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..