ABC's Definition of Tango

And I ran across something the other day almost entirely attributing the foundations of the dance as coming from African slave rhythms/dances.

So, so far we've got, contredanse, slave dances, men dancing with each other while waiting for prostitutes (ran across that somewhere else), men dancing with prostitutes... I wonder what other historical bases for AT we can come up with.
I'm minded to believe that anything that involves the twaining of two bodies moving in a rhythmic, sensual way came out of Africa. Later clinicalised (i.e. made acceptably decent) by the Europeans, now fully hijacked and re-named by the Europeans, and thus finally claimed as their own by the Europeans. But much like many other things that came first from the Black Man - it is soon buried and eventually lost from the minds of many including the most worthiest of historians.
 
And don't forget the old chesnut "milonga comes from a dance that was originally danced by black slaves in manacles-that's why it is so grounded and shuffley"..
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
And don't forget the old chesnut "milonga comes from a dance that was originally danced by black slaves in manacles-that's why it is so grounded and shuffley"..
Oh, yeah. I'd forgotten about this one.

(Which isn't to completely dismiss these ideas, before someone gets the wrong idea.)

I just find it kind of amusing that there are so many differing stories of where it all came from.
 
Oh, yeah. I'd forgotten about this one.

(Which isn't to completely dismiss these ideas, before someone gets the wrong idea.)

I just find it kind of amusing that there are so many differing stories of where it all came from.
I attended a class once where a friend was teaching. To say he is well up there with the AT historians would be an understatement..but..come the milonga whilst dancing with him I whispered in his ear and said, "huns, I really do think that, back there in the class, you pretty much blinded most with your science." He replied, "how?" I replied, "well, put it this way when it comes to knowing the history of tango, there is Google. When it comes to learning the steps, there is you." He in turn replied, "Why?" I replied, "well, put it this way, there were many a stifled yawn in the class and the glazed eyes all around were competing hard for second place." He merely grunted his response. But I knew what I meant. 'Nuff said with the yak, yak, yakking already and just show us the bleeding money.
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
I attended a class once where a friend was teaching. To say he is well up there with the AT historians would be an understatement..but..come the milonga whilst dancing with him I whispered in his ear and said, "huns, I really do think that, back there in the class, you pretty much blinded most with your science." He replied, "how?" I replied, "well, put it this way when it comes to knowing the history of tango, there is Google. When it comes to learning the steps, there is you." He in turn replied, "Why?" I replied, "well, put it this way, there were many a stifled yawn in the class and the glazed eyes all around were competing hard for second place." He merely grunted his response. But I knew what I meant. 'Nuff said with the yak, yak, yakking already and just show us the bleeding money.
Ah so; "the Ta(ng)o that can be talked about endlessly and at length is not the true Ta(ng)o"
 
Ah so; "the Ta(ng)o that can be talked about endlessly and at length is not the true Ta(ng)o"
Mr Bordermantangomanperson you, pray, are you teasing me again?
And will you (and any other UKers out yonder) be attending the Tate Tango By The River next month.

Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery.
Dr Joyce Brothers
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
Mr Bordermantangomanperson you, pray, are you teasing me again?
And will you (and any other UKers out yonder) be attending the Tate Tango By The River next month.

Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery.
Dr Joyce Brothers
More detail please on this Tate event.

I will very likely be tangoing in Cambridge on October 6th (all night milonga)
 
More detail please on this Tate event.

I will very likely be tangoing in Cambridge on October 6th (all night milonga)
As follows:

River Tango 2007 - Tate Modern Gallery, South Bank

Saturday 15th September
12:00 Tango Workshop - Intermediate level: Teachers Bianca & Sasha

(Rojo & Negro Club) *
13:15 Tango Workshop: Teachers Cesar & Carolina (Art & Company) *
14:15 Milonga - Tango Free Dancing (DJ David Lurie)
16:00 Tango performance: Ivan & Natalia (Negracha Tango Club)
16:15 Milonga - Tango Free Dancing (DJ David Lurie)
17:00 Tango performance: David & Kim (Tango Movement)
17:15 Milonga - Tango Free Dancing (DJ David Lurie)
18:00 Live Band: Fueye Tango + Tango Performance
19:00 Electrotango - Free dancing - DJ Hernan Atencio + Opticfibre
VJ's (live video mixing)
20:00 - 22:00 Argentinian and Latin American Beats + Free dancing:
DJ Hernan Atencio + Opticfibre VJ's (lilve video mixing)
Presenter: Nikki (The Crypt Tango Club)

Sunday 16th September
12:00 Tango Workshop: Teachers Ivan & Natalia (Negracha Tango Club) *tia
13:15 Tango Workshop: Teachers David & Kim (Tango Movement) *
14:15 Milonga - Tango Free Dancing (DJ David Lurie)
15:00 Tango performance: Bianca & Sacha (Rojo & Negro Club)
15:15 Milonga - Tango Free Dancing (DJ David Lurie)
16:00 Tango performance: Tango Code (5 couples)(Art & Company)
16:30 Live Band: El Ultimo Tango + Tango Performance
18:00 Argentine Folk Band: Guillermo Rozenthuler and Rio Platenses
19:00 Electrotango - Free dancing - DJ Hernan Atencio + Opticfibre


 
Fast Facts:
  • The gauchos (cowboys) of Argentina wore chaps that hardened from the foam and sweat of the horse's body, causing them to walk with flexed knees. Of a night they would go to crowded night clubs and ask ladies of the night to dance but since the gaucho hadn't showered, the lady would dance in the crook of the man's right arm, holding her head back. Her right hand was held low on his left hip, close to his pocket, looking for a payment for dancing with him.
LOL! I think someone must have been having a joke on the programme producers.
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
I'm minded to believe that anything that involves the twaining of two bodies moving in a rhythmic, sensual way came out of Africa. Later clinicalised (i.e. made acceptably decent) by the Europeans, now fully hijacked and re-named by the Europeans, and thus finally claimed as their own by the Europeans. But much like many other things that came first from the Black Man - it is soon buried and eventually lost from the minds of many including the most worthiest of historians.
Interestingly enough anything that involves two bodies touching and people embracing each other actually comes from the europeans. Non-european traditional dances -especially african ones - tend to be amazingly chaste and strictly separate men and women and their roles. The upper class victorians did an amazing job at sanitizing their own history - and in the process inventing the the modern myths of sensual non-europe as the other. Gssh
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
Here's some information on African dancing that I dug up and put where I could find easily find it.


Many dances are performed by only males or females, indicating strong beliefs about what being male or female means, and some strict taboos about interaction. Examples would be dances that celebrate the passage from childhood to adulthood or for spiritual worship.[14] The only partner dance associated with African dances would be the Bottle Dance of the Mankon People in the Northwest Region of Cameroon or the Assiko from the Douala people that involves interaction of Man and Woman and the way that they charm each other.

Early commentors on dance from sub-Saharan Africa consistently commented on the absence of close couple dancing, and such dancing was thought to be immoral in many traditional African societies.[12] In all the vast riches of sub Saharan African dance heritage there seems to be no evidence for sustained one on one male female partnering anywhere before the late colonial era, when it was apparently considered in distinctly poor taste.[16] For the Yoruba, to give a specific example, touching while dancing is not common except in special circumstances.[17]

You would think with all the clamor about first Lindy Hop, and then "Blues Dancing", that "white people" only did ballroom dances in the entire history of mankind. The truth is far from that.

Although the decendants of Africans have made huge contributions to music and dance, there is also a huge amount of misinformation about that contribution.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
I was browsing TodoTango, which has undergone quite the reworking, and found the following article.

http://www.todotango.com/english/hi...ron-and-a-Pope-in-the-social-ascent-of-tango/

regrading something Gssh mentioned back here in this thread.

http://www.dance-forums.com/threads/abcs-definition-of-tango.19914/page-4#post-458273

Wouldn't want our AT'ers to repeat something that has been found to be mere legend any more that I would want our WCSers to say that the original music for West Coast Swing was blues.
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
*laugh* we have been hanging around here a long time, haven't we?

Thank you for this piece of information - though i am a bit sad that this story was made up by a newspaper - it was such a neat one (especially in the version where the pope says "so thats what the young people nowadays dance - it is a bit meh - the venetian folkdances we dances when i was young were much cooler" - and then has one of this longtime servants demonstrate the saltarella to show what a good dancing looks like. Oh well, it seems that the yellow press has not changed over the last hundred years....

That was a good discussion - i miss tangotimes perspective on how ballroom/tango/salsa have changed over time - is he still around?
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
Looks like the answer is yes. Try left clicking on a member's name to see when they were "last seen." (unless that's a mod only thing, which would be good to know)
I just came home with a rental of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence." There's a line in there where a newspaper man says, "This is the West, sir. When legend becomes fact, print the legend."
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
Looks like the answer is yes. Try left clicking on a member's name to see when they were "last seen." (unless that's a mod only thing, which would be good to know)
This is for everybody - thank you- i didn't know about this. He seems to be posting mostly on the ballroom forum nowadays. Peaches has not been here for a while, though, nor has Ampster, though
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
This is for everybody - thank you- i didn't know about this. He seems to be posting mostly on the ballroom forum nowadays. Peaches has not been here for a while, though, nor has Ampster, though
Indeed. I know I was gone for a year, but since I've been back, I, too, have missed many of the old gang especially those whom you have mentioned, and Zoops. TT is posting daily, though on other threads.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
Since we are again looking at this thread, and even though Gssh has already commented on it, let me add something I recently came across regarding the following thought.

anything that involves the twaining of two bodies moving in a rhythmic, sensual way came out of Africa.
"We Westerners, culturally myopic about the rest of the species, tend to think the face-to-face mixed-couples dance is a human universal. In fact, this pattern is rare in the world. In most cultures the sexes dance in segregated groups, or in mixed groups, but rarely as mixed couples. Only in West Africa and especially in Western Europe do the partners face each other, ready for action, so to speak. Moreover, it is only in the waist-swinging courtship dances of Western Europe, our survey shows, that partners continuously hold on to or embrace each other.
...
...black ministers, perhaps reacting to the shock that their followers must have felt at the untoward eroticism of the waist swings their followers must have felt at the untoward eroticism of the waist swings their masters were performing, ruled against the dance even more strongly than their Calvinist preceptors."

The Land Where the Blues Began by Alan Lomax
 

sixela

Well-Known Member
Fast facts from the Sermon from atop Mount Stupid:



Granted, they could be talking about international style, but then the references to gauchos are still stupid. Whatever the merits, people who dance ballroom tango look like gauchos as much as I look like Captain America.

"Jive is an International dance - derived from American swing dances. The Jive is a refined dance, with much energy and bounce. This is different from the swaying and rocking motion found in original American Swing. This swaying and rocking originated from wild parties with much drinking, where drunken teenagers would hold onto one another and attempt to keep their balance. The open hold originated from the 'drinking hand' from where the couple shared a bottle of alcohol.
There goes the impression there's only one true Mount Stupid. It's an entire mountain range!

nobody with a clue would pretend that they are
In that case, those arrogant little snippets of 'knowledge' mean the authors do a very convincing impersonation of someone without a clue.
 
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Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
Links go dead all the time on the web, so, here is the essence of the article on TodoTango that was mentioned above.


A Baron and a Pope in the social ascent of tango? by José Gobello/Néstor Pinsón

Explanation about a legend.
It is costumary to hear among tango fans about an episode that involves Pope Pius X. The one played by the dancer Casimiro Aín who, being in Rome, was allowed to have a meeting with the Pope in order to show him that tango dance had nothing connected with sin. It is said that for the occasion, he put aside his dancing partner Peggy (whose figure was not appropriate) and was accompanied by a female employee of the Vatican whose family name was Scotto (and curiously knew how to dance it) and, with the accompaniment of a harpsichord played by a collaborator of the Holy Father, danced in a straight manner a piece by Francisco Canaro.

Some years back the musicologist Enrique Cámara de Landa, on our request, taking advantage of the fact that he was working in the newspaper library of the Vatican and after we gave him a summary of the story he thoroughly checked the copies of the Vatican journal —a documentation which contains even the slightest movement of what happens there—. But he told me in advance, knowingly, that it was strange for him that a Pope would pay attention to such a trifle, because for those cases he used to send a subordinate person.

After a time he gave us a negative answer. He found no mention of it. A couple of years later I asked it again and confirmed dates and some other information. But he neither found anything connected with tango at all.

As a conclusion for this issue he was able to find out that everything was born out of the imagination of the Roman correspondent of the Le Temps journal of Paris, Jean Carriére.

Then it is a fake story like the end of this tale which says that after that tango was accepted by the society and started to be danced without a guilty feeling.
 

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