Thinking about Argentine Tango

It’s a majestic walk with a contented look; the stuff of nobles and royalty. Like many partner dances, it’s a music and it’s a dance. A family of music (tango, milonga, vals) driving a family of dances with movements of complementary motion between the dancers. It necessarily takes two to tango; the knowledge of its bliss would be unknown otherwise.

There are variants of the tango, and none can compare with the originals. Everything else feels like an aberration. Forgive me if you’re into Finnish or ballroom tango. Cases of innovation going on a ‘wrong’ course?

Although the brothels of the barrios of Buenos Aires and Montevideo contributed to its evolution, the popular idea of tango as the vertical expression of horizontal desire does little justice to its beauty and character. This idea, with the thought that clients negotiated terms with potential hosts in an embrace, doing dance, has been used as a sales tool, colouring the view some have of the dance.

Regardless of the perception anyone might have of Argentine tango, the experience of the dance speedily corrects funny notions. Then it starts to draw one into its kind of meditation—of a music with its movements—that is like play and like a sacred play, fun, refreshing and relaxing.

Someones audible stream of consciousness went like this: “they look so serious, few people seem to smile… its a beautiful dance… it’s nice….” Sometimes, observers have seen dancers with like solemn faces on the dance floor and wondered how they also got the palpable feeling that the tango, (or the milonga, or the vals) was beautiful and nice and good for the soul. There is something about the tango—truly. And there’s no substitute for being present at a milonga, the dance social.

The music that moves the dance is in essence classical music of a special character. A dynamic blend with some African rhythm played using ‘Western’ instruments. (The signature instrument is the bandoneon.) In some pieces, you feel the flow of Italian operas. There are the playful sounds, the cheeky ones … and all very cool. It makes for great chill music.

Life is a ball; to live, you have to dance.

With tango, I’m currently a reserved liberal purist (RLP); I’ve danced it to rap, classical, and zoukish music etc. Certainly not every tanguero’s cup of tea, particularly the P3 (Purist Purist Purist). The point is, that, if it’s you, or you’d like to see if it fits, you could dance to many non-traditional tango music.

Vals is the tango waltz. You get the rhythm: 1, 2, 3; 1, 2, 3; 1, 2, 3.

Since the milonga is a music and a dance of the tango group, and the tango dance social, we can milonga at a milonga to a milonga.