Feel the Tango

I love watching Tango. Now, mind you. I watch it only. I just don t know if I can be enough of an actress to dance the Tango. You don t have to be an accomplished dancer to appreciate a great Tango. Now, I m not talking about ballroom Tango. I like the TV show Dancing With The Stars too, but that s a different kind of Tango than what I m talking about.

I mean Argentinean Tango. Every now and then you see a good Tango in a movie. What comes to mind for me is Scent of a Woman with Al Pacino and The Assassination Tango with Robert Duvall. In those movies you can begin to get an appreciation of the dance.

I ve heard people say that the Tango originated as a dance of 'women of ill repute'. (They also say this about the Bachata that is from the Dominican Republic.) When I went out on the Internet to look this up, I couldn t find anything to back this up, although I did find out that in Argentina the men who dance Tango well are called milongueros. The women who dance Tango very well are called milongueras, but this same word can also mean prostitute. Interesting, huh?

The Tango is a dance where the man doesn t do a whole lot, with the exception that the man has to do a good job of leading. The woman, however, does all the work. (Typical; Right ladies?)

The woman has to be incredibly strong, limber, and slender. (That lets me out.) The reason I say the woman has to be slender is that great Tango dancers have to keep their feet incredibly close together while twisting their thighs back and forth, which is harder to do if you ve got some girth.

But the Tango isn t just about moves; it s about attitude. The man is supposed to act abusive and ready to cast the woman off, while the woman has to act as though she s begging him to pay attention to her. This means that those who get into the acting part of the dance are doing it right. The man s face needs to show disdain and the woman s face needs to show desperation.

Tango music is an art in itself. Most of the time the bands who play Tango use two violins, a piano, a double-bass, and several accordions. It can be mesmerizing with its sliding, whining, yet staccato notes played just when you re not expecting it.

You don t have to travel to Argentina to watch or participate in the dance (although if you can, go). Lots of people dance it here in the United States. In fact, you can take Tango lessons almost anywhere. But you ll need to brush up on your Spanish since all of the steps have Spanish names.

Here are some examples:

  • Arrastrar   means to drag your partner.
  • Barrida   means to treat your partner like a broom (seriously).
  • Cruzada   means to cross in front of your partner.

Now you see how much fun you can have learning Spanish.

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