Tango Argentino > ABC's Definition of Tango

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Me, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    First of all, Me did not post her comment on the wrong site. She wrote it out of concern for tango; american, international, and argentine. The point...DWTS has, many times, discussed and displayed AT specifically. The ballroom judge's comment, a couple of seasons ago, that a tango performance was, "...too Argentine for my taste..." brought so many e-mails that ABC removed the link. If they are going to make reference to AT, then they should bear the responsibility to distinguish between the styles, and not portray their insipid "...intense facial expressions..." as a required trait for tango in general.

    Chris, you know that I respect your posts greatly, however, I make no assumptions where tango is concerned. We all have specialties...this is mine.

    We have evidence that tango rhythms were prevalent in the early 1800s. Skipping to BsAs tango, in or around the 1880s, we learn that tango is a communion of Spanish and native cultures, inclusive of African, European, and strong Italian influence. The milonga, habanera, and schottisch, were all pre-tango dances which, with opera music and the canzonetta, influenced the dance we know today.

    Is this one of those "assumptions" that you are referring to? Many dance origins are very well documented. Granted; all of history, to some degree, is based upon what we have been told, and often bears some degree of hearsay, distortion, or outright fabrication. Yet, there are other times when we are blessed with situations like having Frankie Manning, the only surviving creator of the Lindy Hop still teaching us today (Frankie is in his mid 90s).

    In this you are correct. It was born in the suburbs, in the outskirts, in the far distant neighborhoods bordering with the countryside. It is this that spawned the cowboy and chaps tale. It is plausible that some of these persons were vaqueros with stale chaps, but give me a break. The pre-tango dances developed at the dance halls (academias or milongas). The street musicians originally spread it through neighborhoods.

    Me's point, exactly!

    Me's point is that everyone doesn't have a clue. The media (ABC - DWTS) has an obligation to educate as well as entertain. DWTS presents itself as authoritarians on dance. If they wish to do so, then do so completely. If not, then do something as trivial as to post a disclaimer stating that their position is that of european tango only. SCD, the british show that birthed DWTS makes the distinction.

    It is great that dance can/has done, and continues to do, this. It is what the art is based on.
  2. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I find it very interesting that everyone is still overlooking one very simple fact:

    All of the documented historical evidence that you can dig up is about when something was first recorded. You have no definitive evidence as to when it was first done or in what settings. Instead, all that you can demonstrate is the first record that YOU have found. This isn't even limited to dancing - take just about any major invention and there are stories of various credibility circulating about the other guy who had it earlier and better, but didn't get to the patent office in time. The fact of the matter is that we just don't know - we can learn a lot from the information available, but we have to accept that it is never going to be complete.

    A wise person would leave room that someone else might have found something that didn't turn up in your search. Certainly some of the comments (proto swing with bottle in hand) seem unlikely in my opinion - but I cannot say for sure that they could not have happened. And some may be simple mixups - for example, I doubt the stiffened chaps, but I could believe that there might be some effect on stance after riding a horse all day. (Though even ballroom tango has not always been low, merely a little more grounded than the other dances)

    As for the wrong site comment, Me's post is indeed in the wrong section of Dance Forums. The topic of the ABC page was not argentine tango, it was ballroom tango. There's a reason you guys stick the national modifier on the name of you dance - to make it clear what you are talking about. In this case, that modifier was not there, and did not belong, because it was not your dance which was being explained.

    As for the idea that the TV show has an obligation to eductate accruately... one look at the dancing shows that was never the intent. It's entertainment, and what it may have to offer to the real dance world is increased interest - not accurate knowledge when people walk in the studio door.
  3. Me

    Me New Member

    Chris, pardon my cheek, but are you a moderator? I don't think it is your place to tell me (or others) what should/should not be discussed on the Argentine forum, or any other.
  4. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Re: purpose of this thread:
    But... they're totally different dances. Aren't they? Am I missing something?

    It's like posting a description of Rhumba in the salsa section, and compaining because it doesn't give a good description of salsa... :confused:
  5. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    First I was the third person to express that opinion. One of the earliers ones actually was a (former) moderator.

    More importantly, nobody said you are prohibited from discussing it here, what was said was that you are discussing it in the wrong area in that it doesn't really fit here. Probably because you are still mistakenly believing that the ABC page has something to do with argentine tango.

    It doesn't.

    The pain of having ABC assult your sacred cow will only stop when your realize that ABC was not aiming at your dance.
  6. Me

    Me New Member

    AngelHI and tangotime,

    Thank you. I'm glad to know somebody understands!
  7. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Well, to be fair, I've seen exactly that sort of description, lots of times, when describing Ballroom Tango in general. So it's a general description, not something to blame any particular organisation for.

    It hasn't really annoyed me, except for the occasional irritation when I have to explain that the AT I know and love is not the ballroom version, because the ballroom version has been caricatured so much in the media to the point of parody.

    Exactly - no one even knows how salsa started, and that's in living memory.
  8. Me

    Me New Member

    That was very rude, Chris.
  9. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Well, it's the facts of life.

    You know, I could look at these shows and get upset over what they've done to my dances. But I don't, because I know that it's not really what the shows are about - they are about entertainment.

    So instead, when I watch them, I do it to laugh at the pro's mistakes.
  10. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Fair enough - if they're just referring to "Tango" without qualification, then it's wrong - they should have clarified that it's ballroom tango. And, in which case, this thread is in the right place I guess...

    Yes - in fact, they went even further and had a milonga (defining what milonga style was), in Series 3 I believe.

    So, sorry, I'd assumed that DWTS had followed suit in qualifying the type of tango. If not, then the OP's point is justified.

    Although, on that topic:
    If a thread is clearly in the wrong place, then any poster should either query this (which I did, also), or report it. That's what the report function is for.

    We shouldn't have to rely solely on moderators to maintain the quality of the forum, they're all busy people and may miss things.
  11. Me

    Me New Member

    For many Argentine Tango dancers, the culture, the history, and the music are equally (or almost as important) as the actual physical dance. It is more than a matter of physical technical correctness. Some dancers may only be interested in the dance, but others who are interested in a broader study should not be ridiculed.

    Chris, your statement, “The pain of having ABC assult your sacred cow will only stop when your realize that ABC was not aiming at your dance was not only insulting, but it exposed an ignorance on your part of the AT field as a whole.

    You further wrote, "You know, I could look at these shows and get upset over what they've done to my dances. But I don't, because I know that it's not really what the shows are about - they are about entertainment. So instead, when I watch them, I do it to laugh at the pro's mistakes."

    This again is very revealing. Chris, if you continue to take this approach, and if others follow, the dances you enjoy today could possibly be completely gone tomorrow, preserved at best in cryptic syllabus format. Maybe this does not bother you.
  12. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    More like your ignorance of the simple fact that THIS HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT ARGENTINE TANGO.

    By contuning to pretend that it is, you will only cause yourself unecessary pain.

    They will only be gone if people cease to to dance them. Getting them shown on TV does not protect them in a form that interests me, when the form shown on TV is laughable... Because I don't need the validation of accurate TV exposure for my happiness, it doesn't hurt me when they get it wrong, as I fully expect them to most of the time. And it terms of documentation that will outlast today's dancers - try the Blackpool videos, not some TV show reruns.

    What they are showing on TV and what we are dancing are not really the same thing...
  13. Me

    Me New Member

    So we've graduated to all caps and bold, Chris?

    Ignorance is the lack of knowledge, not to be confused with stupidity, or a misunderstanding.

    I have understood that the Dancing with the Stars Web site posted an inaccurate summary of the history of Argentine tango in an attempt to educate the American public on the history of American tango.
  14. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    And there's the problem - you make this glaring assumption that any historic tango / tango predecessor must be the same thing as the dance that you know and love. The page was not about the history of argentine tango, it was about the ballroom tango. You mistakenly assume that the history of ballroom tango is your form of argentine tango, and in that you are wrong.

    What you haven't figured out yet is that the dance you do is itself an evolution from early roots.

    Your dance (or to be more correct, dances) is not the parent of ballroom tango, but a sibling to it. By the time your tango was taking shape, the basic idea of a tango dance had already been exported and was developing in multiple places.

    Argentine Tango as you know it simply does not figure in the ABC web page at all.

    But as long as you keep pretending that it does, you are going to find unecessary pain in that page.

    Let go. Do your dance and stop worrying about the others.
  15. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Sorry dave -- yes they do !!-- very well documented, the verbiage and the transitional period from Mambo .
  16. Me

    Me New Member

    I give up.
  17. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

  18. saludas

    saludas New Member

    I'm sure this is a big issue for you, but the comments on Dancing With the Stars are discussing what is shown to toeh public on the show - namely American and International style Tango.

    The name "Tango" can imply many things. However, you can't assume that anyone thinks of or knows of "Argentine" tango when the word "Tango" comes to mind. For instance, there is THIS tango...

    Last Tango in Paris
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last Tango in Paris

    Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci

    The Last Tango in Paris (Italian: L'Ultimo Tango in Parigi, French: Le Dernier Tango à Paris) is a 1972 film which tells the story of an American widower who is drawn into a sexual relationship with a young, soon-to-be-married Parisian woman. It stars Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider and Jean-Pierre Léaud. The film was given an X rating by the MPAA upon initial release. After revisions were made to the MPAA ratings code, it was classified as an NC-17, in 1997. MGM released an R-rated cut in 1981.
    The movie was written by Bernardo Bertolucci, Franco Arcalli and Agnès Varda (additional dialogue) and was novelized by Robert Alley. It was directed by Bertolucci and cinematography by Vittorio Storaro. Agnès Varda also based the last scenes on the death of Jim Morrison in Paris that occoured the previous year.
    The orchestral jazz soundtrack was composed by Gato Barbieri.
    The film caused a deep scandal in Italy for an anal sex scene (featuring the use of butter).[citation needed] There was also a scandal because it was one of the first movies to show pubic hair in a mainstream movie.[citation needed]
    It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando) and Best Director (Bernardo Bertolucci).
  19. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    I do have to agree with "Me." What she posted was the standard definition I see about Tango in a lot of places.

    If you read it verbatim, the first line says,
    "The gauchos (cowboys) of Argentina... ,"
    establishes the fact that it did originate in Argentina, implicitly and explicitly. A layman who knows nothing of Tango will read this and make the same inference.

    But, the style they dance in DWTS is in fact NOT Argentine, rather, Ballroom style. So, the layman, wants to learn the tango, expects Argentinean, but learns (and pays for) Ballroom (AM does not include AT in their standard curriculum, if you pay for a "Special program," then they will).

    I say this with impunity because when I first started dancing I wanted to learn the Tango, but ended up learning (and paying for) Ballroom Tango, much to my chagrin. Dropped that whole business and danced the real thing and never turned back.

    I do understand and empathize with Me, Angel, and tangotime.

    I am an Argentine Tango purist and inaccuracies like this bother me too.
  20. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    But what the gauchos were dancing, if in fact they were dancing, was not your "Argentine Tango" but something quite a bit more primitive.

    If someone dances an international tango in Argentina (which obviously has happened), is that "Argentine Tango" simply because it is taking place in that country?

    No - it's not, nor is the international tango I am dancing in the US these days American tango.

    The ABC page is about cloudy pre-history of tango in general, and then about the international and american ballroom tangos.

    It is not about your form of Argentine Tango at all.

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