Tango Argentino > When you should start taking private lessons

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by black_cat, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I don't smile much, period, but that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying myself (tango, or not).
  2. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    You are keeping all good emotions for yourself :bookworm: :p
    dchester likes this.
  3. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I have always wondered where this "tango is extremely serious" thing is coming from - Thompson in his book thinks that it is traditional and related to an african root (it seems that some african dances ask for a "stone face" when performed), but this does not mesh with my experiences at more old fashioned milongas - there is plenty of smiling, some laughing and even heckling from the sidelines. Combined with the drinking the attitude doesn't seem to be so different from other urban folk dances like the polka.

    The serious (for men) and smouldering (for women) look seems to something that i have seem much more in stage performances, and i feel like it is filtering down from there to the folk dance. In some ways when people talk about tango they seem to be talking more often about the literary narrative and stage performance than the actual dance - it in some ways mirrors how especially chinese martial arts are represented - the roots of a lot of modern views can be traced back to chinese opera and the way its performance practices influenced the martial arts movie.
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I think this is the first time I've seen this comparison. I wonder which of the two are different in your experience, than it is in mine.

    I just looked at videos of the two milongas I visited in Buenos Aires. And it is as I remembered it. People are concentrating on their dance.

    On balance, I don't think the "serious" thing has anything to do with being a reflection of stage performance or film depictions.
  5. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Not spent a lot of time in the midwest, eh? (i have to admit that my exposure is mostly by accident - events in parks, and at "german" restaurants, and weddings)

    And i can't believe that i just spent my time looking on youtube for polka .... but i found one where we get at least some shots of the people sitting, and a somewhat wider range of ages:

    Does they really look that different? I mean, - aside from the fact that their immigrant dance is based on a different mixture of who immigrated - just attitude wise. People concentrating on their dance. And nobody would ever claim that "serious" is big thing for polka.
  6. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Just one of the reasons why the Argentines dislike the Euro (Itn'l) Tango. When the dance popularized in Paris, it was done so by the upper class, tuxedo and gown crowd, and was considered a dance of status. It's notsuch a strecth to see how or why the smug, I'm-better-than-you, smile-less faces were the norm.

    Re the milongas in BsAs, Steve, I imagine that it isn't so much a concentration as it is that this dance is a cultural norm for them. Most of the old, traditional tangos are about some forelorn and trodden time or situation in the Argentine life/lifestyle, and if one were expressing the song and/or music in their dance, smiles would not be necessarily apropos.
  7. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    There are professional that have fun, smile and enjoy while doing the shows, and there the other ones.
    Who want to show off how great they are and that demand ultimate seriousness and concentration.

    I realized I mixed stage and shows, ups.
    Some professionals keep their performances dead serious, some show their emotions.
    Everyone tries to sell what they have.

    Even in social scene there is buy/sell relationship.
    We all choose to dance with some partners for a different reasons. ;)
  8. NZ_Guy

    NZ_Guy Member

    I think it is.. They were dancing for fun, amongst their own. They may have been snooty to the lower classes, but the lower classes weren't at the dance hall. I suspect (conjecture of course!) that the stony faces came in with increasing professionalism (teachers, and competitors) with theatrical backgrounds perhaps, who were of the opinion that dance must tell a story.
    Angel HI likes this.
  9. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Gssh, if this is for me, you should know that I grew up with the polka in Western Pennsylvania. I lived in the upper Mid West: Wisconsin and Michigan, and Ohio, for about 7 years. Dancing a polka in Brule, Wisconsin was an important event in getting through my divorce.
    Polka is spirited and hoppy. It's a party dance.

    Argentine Tango ...
    Here are two different ways to deal with heartbreak. One is an AT sensibility, the other more polka til you puke like. (Course, you could drink that beer with the tear til you puke, too.. but that's not my point)

    ps this is a very common beat in cw now a days

    Milonga comes closest to the spirit of polka, followed by valse. But as a genre of music, and dance, and the emotions that go along with it, AT is very different (unless you want to look at Euro or US tango).

    One thing missing from country here in Portland is polka.

    DF - broadening your cultural awareness
  10. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    My ballroom pro and I are about to broaden our country and western dancing to polka. I will be searching youtube for inspiration.
  11. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    How did your NC2S go?
  12. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    It was great! It really highlighted the nice aspects of the dance which is what I wanted: my goal was for at least most of the people in the room to think, "hey, that looks like fun--I'd like to learn that!" At this point, they might have preferred it to something other than CW (it is a ballroom studio), but it was very well received. And at the next comp we're going to, at least four people are doing CW and it used to be only me (don't worry, we do our best to keep it non-ballroomy).
  13. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    For me it was being in the german language club at iowa state during grad school - i never thought of it as spirited and hoppy, but a dance of two generations ago that is kept alive by nostalgia. It was never a "fun" party (well, not for me - i didn't dance back then, so as i said, i only saw polka by accident at "german" events - and the stories of the ex-WWII intelligence agents when they got drunk (and the sometimes noticable gaps in those stories) were more my thing), but immigrants trying (sometimes overly) hard to be connected to their roots and their youth.

    And i am a bit tongue in cheek - of course tango is musically more somber - but i would not describe the overall mood at a milonga as very serious - when you sit at a table and get to talk the topics i remember were mostly women (and most definitively not in a sad way...), getting old and how much cooler they were before their last heart attack, complaining about the economy, and heckling each other. Most of the conversations could have happened in a sports bar, too, except that watching football does not lend itself to commenting about the players butts as easily.
  14. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    You should be watching football with an almost exclusively female audience more often...
    Gssh, RiseNFall and dchester like this.

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