Tango Argentino > ABC's Definition of Tango

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

  1. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Ok, if you say so. Apparently, I'm not as historically astute as you purport to be.
  2. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I think we agree on that the page is about the pre-history of tango- but i hope you would agree that the cloudy pre-history of tango is shared by all these different tango's - i personally think that by now the argentine and the interantional and the american tango are completely different dances, and i am not worried about it.

    But the cloudy prehistory that all tangos share has very little to do with gauchos, their smell, and their chaps. There is a general agreement that the tango is a urban dance that developed in the immigrant community of BAs out of european, african and american folk and social dances- how big the influences of e.g. klezmer violin or andalusian dance is, or where in the whole social dance-nightclub-taxi dance-brothel spectrum the early tango was located is fought and debated about a lot, but the basics are pretty much agreed upon. The dances of the gauchos as preserved in the argentine folk dances are very different. Unless you posit that what we call today argentine tango has very different history (urban, immigrant) than the international and american ballroom tango (rural argentinean folk dancing/gauchos) any talking about the cloudy prehistory of ballroom tango is also talking about the cloudy prehistory of argentine tango.

    And for fun - early hollywood tango performance:

    h t t p: // w w w .youtube.com/watch?v=L7RCRlnsbe0

    considering that valentino earned money as a tango instructor this should be in the lineage of tango somewhere, and while this depicts exactly the scenario of the abc description (gaucho (well, rich guy posing as a gaucho) meeting a lady of the night at a nightclub) we see no leaning away or low hand, but a lot of flexed legs (and the flexed legs seem to be more on the followers side than the leaders - and suggest more ..uhm.. exciting reasons for this position than overly stiff pants :))

  3. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member


    I had no idea that this was going to explode into an almost free for all. There are far too many things that need to be addressed, clarifed, corrected, and even apologized for. Let's just say this.....

    Chris has never understood that Me's post is not about Argentine, or a sacred cow (which, incidentally, Chris, was completely uncalled for). Me's post is about tango...period. I believe we all understand that folklore and other stories change over time...like the child's game of passing a story down a line. But, having been in the television industry for years, yes it 'should' have the responsibility to accurately, or perhaps generically, portray a topic when a show is promoting itself as the expert.

    Me understands, as do most of you, that DWTS has brought many beginners to dance. They do not know the difference between AT, BR, or ballet. I can not count the times that a student has said to me, after watching a Ohio Star Ball, "I want to take ballroom, but I could never do that." Of course, then I would explain that there is a difference between social BR and pros vieing for titles. The same theory applies, here in this thread.

    Chris also wants to drive the point that today's AT is not the AT of its origin. Well, Chris, what is? Nothing. Rumba, for example, was mentioned, somewhere, and it is interesting to note that the american nor international versions are not even remotely similar to the original Cuban. Chris, it was completely uncalled for to bold and all caps Me for sharing her concerns on this re tango. None of today's dances are what they were at their origins, yet, in most of them we try to stay true to, or characterize, the true nature of the dance.

    Lastly, BR has long since become characterized by prescribed steps and patterns. Acknowledging the points of lead/follow, proper technic, etc., for the most part, BR dancers seemingly gravitate toward learning the steps. In AT, there really aren't any. I have often admired you, Chris, for your apparent perspicacity of BR, and understand that many in your position do not readily fully understand tango, especially AT, which I assume is the reason for the apparent tirade.

    I hope that none of us ever reach the point of expertise where we cease to learn.
  4. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    It may be well-documented, but it's not exactly agreed-on

    To quote Wikipedia
    It then quotes different opinions from musicians and dancers who were around in the 1970's, all of whom seem to have different ideas. Some people say it's from Cuba, some from Puerto Rico, for example.

    And yes, mambo was a key influence, but so was son - not to mention Cha cha cha, Guaracha, Changuí, Palo Monte, Rumba, Abakuá, Comparsa....

    But this discussion is best in the "salsa" section of course :)

    My main point is that there's controversy and hearsay and argument over how all dance forms originate.
  5. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Fair enough - yes, they obviously have some connections, they're cousins.

    But, again, like Chris, I can't understand why people are thinking that the original description refers to argentine tango, when it's clear from the context that it refers to the ballroom version?

    In fact, it's fair to say that (in the UK) "Tango" usually refers to the ballroom version, which is why we call our dance "Argentine Tango".
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Again not true-- There are several dances that are most decidely identifiable-- one prime e.g.-- Frankie Manning who can attest to most of the " swing " periods.

    As far as mambo/ salsa -- I have been teaching that genre since the late fifties, and can clearly identify when and where those changes took place ( as can many others ) I was also dancing Sq. rumba ( in the forties ) and witnessed the change to the Intern style, and provide the name of the person who made that change . Could give you numerous other e.g.

    As far as W/pedia-- it has more mis information about the latino genre , that would take me hrs to report ( check sweavos delve into that morass )

    And by the way-- an e.g. by you of mis info-- Cha cha is not considered by latinos as " latin "-- their true form , is Gaujira which is an extension of triple Mambo .

    As to the word " salsa " , it is an all encompassing term , that is the descriptive form of the Music.
    People believe ( dont know why ) that because the marketing change, by name, appeared, coined by Fania, that the dance changed, it really did not.

    The basis of the dance has retained its integrity .

    Adding new variations to a specific dance, does not necessarily change its identity . Fact is , that in Cuba today, its still called Mambo.

    And the dance that you failed to give recognition to-- being responsible for more of the curent trends than any other -- Danzon .

    One thing I can say unequivically--- my info is , by and large, empirical.
  7. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    we ask that folks all take a deep breath and stop with the less respectful ways of addressing one another....please be clear that failure to do do will result in infractions....thank you
  8. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    For the simple reason that Me's post is specifically about the conflict between the ABC web page and characteristics and defining history of the sorts of Argentine Tango danced by the Argentine Tango community.

    There are 10 bulleted points on quote of that web page. 9 of them are accurate, if relatively trite, characteriziations of the international and/or american tangos.

    One of them is a rumor-based pre-history of tango dances in general.

    Only that first point could possibly have anything to do with the Argentine Tango danced by Angel Hi or Me - and quite obviously, what they are dancing has nothing in common with the alleged roots proposed there.

    That is why I maintain that the abc web page is not about argentine tango

    On the contrary, I understand it well enough to realize what you have not - that the web page was never intended to be about the dances known as argentine tango.

    In terms of what it was intended to be about, the accuracy is somewhere above 90%...

    Not exactly. What Chris wants to do is drive home the point that the AT community has no call to take offense about something that was never intended to be about either your treasured dances or their defining history. If you go looking for the opportunity to take offense at things that are widely tangential to your dances, well, then I'm sure you will find it now and then. Which is exactly what has happened here...
  9. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Actually I quite agree with Chris' point about Me taking umbrage at the ABC website's description of tango, and her assumption that it was referring to Argentine Tango. As far as history, IMO only dances like the Achy Breaky can be definitively chronicled. Anything else much older is likely to be more vague. Look at all the hoohah from Ric Silver over the Electric Slide...on this very site.
  10. Me

    Me New Member


    You have referred to AT as our "treasured dance." You have accused me of viewing AT as a "sacred cow."

    What is Argentine Tango to you, Chris? I would like to know.

    I am not interested in your driving anything home for me, especially when you speak with such little authority and with such low regard.

    I have given up on trying to explain to you my purpose in starting this thread, but I am not going to stand here while you continue to insult me and other dancers here, directly or indirectly.
  11. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Joe , you are way off the mark--

    let me site you a couple Joe-- Peabody -- well documented about a real person ( a cop ) on whom the dance was styled .-- the " Twist " a stretch, maybe-- --we also have numerous Sequence and Line dances, that have definitive bibliography . Too many to list.

    These are most likely, foreign to you-- but-- they do still exist in very large part, in several countries .

    Some have been in existance for over 80yrs !. There are even comps in many of these .
  12. saludas

    saludas New Member

    I don't think any insult was meant... in fact, I think that in trying to explain that the word 'Tango" does NOT mean Argentine Tango (which is a subgenre of a social dance, which is not even alluded to on Dancing With The Stars) he was trying to save you the 'pain' of thinking that the 'history' was wrong.

    Lighten up - the subset of people who actually do Argentine tango are very well represented on this forum and you can easily correct 'history' here. However, you'll certainly agree that 'Tango' is a generic term for, oh, say the last 80 or 90 years, and that the many styles and interpretations are also still evolving. Who's to say that, for exapmle, that Argentine Tango will not evolve into something more like... a swing style...
  13. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I doubt he intended insult, it IS your treasured dance. How one inflects that word is based on ones current mindset. (perhaps sacred cow was over the edge and stand to be recanted) I would hardly be upset over someone telling me Waltz is my treasured dance... He did not speak with little regard or authority, he was speaking about Tango, a dance he knows and studies quite well.

    It was you who first showed insult as to ABCs description, or else why did you start the thread?

    Yet the fact remains that ABC was characterizing Tango, not Argentine Tango. And so this entire thread is mute.
  14. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

  15. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Followed by the Tantrot and the Quimba ( dont EVEN mention the Walcha ! ) :rolleyes: ;)
  16. spectator

    spectator Member

    I think this has to be a case of "whatever".
    yeah loads of people will think that AT is all about making a constipated face and jerking your head around like a wooden top- they won't make the distinction between Ballroom, international argentine whatever but does it really matter? It isn't the history of ballroom tango (am I wrong or is this what came from the salons of Paris when rich Argentines came to Europe in 1910-20? but actually also quite close to what was being danced in Argentina at the time?) or the history of argentine tango so it's moot.
    It's not important what other people think of your dancing- it's important what you think about your dancing. Tango isn't for an audience-it's between you and your partner.

    And anyway the gauchos in their chaps might have been dancing canyengue. That sounds more like the description they gave.
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    joseph...if he surfaces b/c of this I am coming over there with a blunt weapon....
  18. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    it does seem clear that the references weren't directed toward AT...but beyond that, I cannot see any prudent reson for getting overly exercised about inaccuracies regarding dance on DWTS...unless one wishes to spend a great deal of time annoyed...which is precisely why, though it may be good for ballroom, I absolutely dread DWTS...many people outside various dance communities begin to assume many untrue things and many people inside the ballroom dance community take it all far too seriously.....
  19. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    No one seems to understand, or everyone wants to ignore, that this is what Me's posting was about in the first place. No one, except Bailey, said that ABC's post was about AT.

    The point of her original post was/is that ABC should have, in the wake of the popularity of AT, noted that they were speaking of amer or intern, and refrained from folklore such as [smelly dancers and cartoon chaps]. Why is this such a controversy? BR differentiates between amer and intern...it says Fox and Slow Fox, for example.

    He might not have intended to be insulting, but his tone was/is quite that. I seem to be the master of unintentionally insulting persons; my mother always says that it is my birthright as a frenchman. She's joking!!!! She's American. I respect Chris' posts (knowledge) much, and have said so. Yet, and perhaps, as a degreed counselor, I feel that he misunderstood and/or missed the mark, and was insulting, whether intentionally or not. To say so, or to apologize, would not belittle his position, but would show a lot of class and character.

    OMG, here we go.....you could not have misspoken more. Be it known, and I say this with no bias none what so ever, that amer and intern tango are the subgenres of AT...not the other way around.

    If this is what you meant...agreed.
  20. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    Sorry, incredulously hungover, so bear with me--and this thread just lost me at right about page 3.

    Don't want to step on any toes either, but, are we saying...

    There was one Tango.

    Then three (independently) came out of that (AT, BR, AM)?
    One came out of the other and then the other (in some sequential way)?

    AT identified as THE Tango having evolved directly from it, and the other (BR and AM) some lite version?
    Are they seen as three distinct dances?

    As a lowly practitioner of all three.
    All worthy of equal regard, I find them all to be beautiful exponents of the music, its movement, and its social evolution (independent or otherwise)--.

    In the big scheme of things, isn't that what matters?

    But then that's just my opinion.


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