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Tango and Carlos Gardel
I do believe that when most of the people think about Argentina, they think about tango.
I was told that tango has a long history. It is believed that the starting poing for the tango was the the decade of 1880.
The tango is said to have been born in Buenos Aires brothels and in impoverished neighborhood squats of southern Buenos Aires. The social class in which it developed was a mixture of regional people and immigrants made up by sailors, craftsmen and working class people.
Initially, the tango was played in brothels with a violin, a flute and a guitar. The bandoneon, which gives the specific tango sound, was not a part of the tango until a couple of decades later, around 1900 when gradualy it started replaceing the flute.
The most representative artist in the history of the Tango was Carlos Gardel, whose charisma and talent were more then impressive. He was famous not only in Argentina but all over the world.
The "Tango Day" is celebrated in Buenos Aires on December 11th. Carlos Gardel's date of birth.
If you would like to learn more about tango, you might find usefyl the link below.
Tango dancing is the soul of Argentina! This dance form is thought to have originated in the 1880s as a form of entertainment for the many labourers of European descent who settled in the poorer areas of the city as they tried to make their fortune in the New World.
Because they had left their loved ones behind, the men were lonely and frequently sought out the company of ladies of the night. While waiting for their favours, the men entertained each other with their new dance invention, dripping with sorrow and longing as well as a touch of aggression.
We went to a tango musical while in the city (see my Nightlife tips) which tried to convey this history of the amazing Tango dance!
This couple, on the streets of La Boca, were entertaining for the passing tourists, or you could also have your photo taken with them - for a price!
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Tango and Buenos Aires - they're inseperable and the city provides the visitor with plenty of opportunities to both watch and to participate. You can choose to pay out big pesos for a tango show, maybe with dinner included, very professional and a spectacle but very much for tourists. You can join the locals at a milonga to watch or to dance (if you're only there to watch, dress down; if dancing is your aim - dress up and wear dancing shoes, sneakers are usless) but be prepared for a very late night. Take some lessons - there are tango classes on offer all over town. Cafes and restaurants often stage a show. You can catch the dancers in the Plaza Doreggo at the Sunday Feria in San Telmo (try to get a spot on the balcony of the rstaurant on the corner of Humberto and Bolivar - they also do their own staged performance).
Personally, I'm happy just to catch the street tango around town. Two or three dancers, a portable stereo and someone with a hat to pass around is all it takes and you have a small show. Different dancers perform outside the main entrance to the Galeria Pacifico on Florida throughout the day (the Galeria holds a milonga in the lower floor food court on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights). Wherever they are, a crowd begins to gather - shoppers, school children, street urchins, deliverymen, tourists - they all take time to cast an eye over the performers. Some are very slick, some are young and rather sweet. If you stop to watch, throw a few pesos in the hat when it comes around before you move on.
Tango on the Argentinian way
As you can see on my home page, tango is a passion and it is like that now for almost 5 years! I passed through the different phases : I did tango lessons, a lot of tango balls with the same partner, then I danced with different partners, always improving my style, then I travelled to go to festivals in Spain, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands dancers....but only one experience was missing : dancing in Argentina, the home country of Tango! So I was quite impatient to know how it was!
I saw that dancing in Buenos Aires is quite different than in Europe. I knew it more or less but experience it is something else (For more info about tango, see my travelogue on my Buenos Aires Page :-)
1) The rule for inviting of being invited to dance
In Buenos Aires, the search of the partner is made by the eye contact : you have to look to the person you want to dance. If the other answer with an accepting look and smile with a little move of the head... then it's Ok and you can meet on the dance floor!
The women does not ask to dance (unknown people) as in Europe (It is so frustating!!!!!)
2) The dancing style is close and small. There is not enough space to make big moves and high ganchos!
3) The general use of tandas and intermediary song
A tanda is a set of 3 or 4 tangos of the same style. The intermediary music (that can last 10 tot 60 seconds) means that the people have to go back to their seat. Then they can again dance on another tanda with a different partner. This rule is great to dance with a lot of different people but not when you found a great dancer!
4) The music style is quite "old". There are not a lot of new tango version, orchestra or neo tango (like it is in Europe)
5) When you arrive, you have to sit at a table which is yours till the end of the ball. Sometimes, the people at a table does not want to "share"....
The tango in Buenos Aires is thus quite traditionnal...and I prefer the modern form of tango but it was something I had to experience!!!!!
Just about in every corner
We got glimpses of tango dancers just about in every neighborhood we went. There were some performing one night in Calle Florida, we saw them in La Boca and we saw them in San Thelmo.
There were always crowds surrounding the performers we saw and I learned that they do perform for a fee, so if you stop to watch toss a few pesos their way.
- Arts and Culture
"Tango que me hiciste mal
y sin embargo te quiero..."
(Tango, you hurt me,
nevertheless I love you...)
Tango is a musical style, a sexy dance, a popular culture, a philosophy... This rhythm was born in the 19th century by Rio de la Plata, at the underworld; nowadays, its music is known all over the world.
El tango es un estilo musical, un baile sensual, una cultura popular, una filosofía... Este ritmo nació en el siglo XIX a orillas del Río de la Plata, en los bajos fondos; en la actualidad, su música es conocida en todo el mundo.
sometimes you just gotta dance
This picture below was taken in San Telmo, a district in BA known for artists and craftsmen. There are beautiful old colonial houses here and it's also close to the port (the River Plate). After you walk past the artist's stalls (hawking their art) you may come across some dancers, doing the Tango.
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Everywhere you go in Buenos Aires there is someone performing Tango on the street. Crowds gather, the music play, the dancers put on their show in full dance regalia...... If you stop to watch; then stop and throw some coins...it's only polite.
Sensuality boils over in this famous dance that was born in the streets of La Boca and San Telmo. The tango developed into one of the most famous dances in the world, but its origins are slightly more irreverant than the form we see today. Usually, dancers were accompanied by singers belting out crude lyrics and the dance movements themselves were heavily influenced by African rhythms and the candombe. Often it was performed in the brothels of Buenos Aires.
Immigration eventually brought the tango across the seas to Europe where it was given a slightly more sophisticated spin and after receiving the stamp of approval for the elite of Paris, it became more acceptable and popular in Buenos Aires's own affluent neighborhoods.
Carlos Gardel was the person most responsible for bringing the tango to the masses around the world when he performed on Broadway and in Hollywood.
If you're interested in seeing a show, the San Telmo neighborhood is a good bet. I also noticed a recent VT forum query in which someone asked about the best tango show in town. The most commonly mentioned show venues were Señor Tango and La Esquina de Carlos Gardel. You can also see tango for free on the streets in San Telmo, La Boca and even on Calle Florida (the city's pedestrian-only main shopping street).
Flamboyant, Colourful, Sensual
Buenos Aires and tango are synonymous terms, and tango is an integral part of the city. The history of tango began in the late 19th century. The dance started in the lower-class districts of Buenos Aires taking place in the periphery of the city, bars, cafes and courtyards. The music derived from the fusion of various forms of music from Europe and the themes referred to the ordinary man and his problems, the city and memories. The nice songs are mostly about broken hearts and misfortunes.
Carlos Gardel became associated with the transition from a lower-class to a respectable middle-class dance and became one of the most popular tango artists of all time. His beautiful voice and macho look made him Argentina's favourite star. The invention and wide use of the radio, records and film helped spread his fame worldwide, and make this time the Golden Age of Tango. Astor Piazzola became the next tango superstar. He paved the way for a new age of tango to begin. In the late 1990s a new style Tango Nuevo, a fusion between tango and electronic music, begin appearing worldwide, with most famous Gotan Project, Tanghetto, Bajofondo Tango Club and Narcotango.
Argentine tango is also the main subject of Carlos Saura's film Tango and numerous films show tango in several scenes, such as Last Tango in Paris, Scent of a Woman, Evita and many more.
Tango left the brothels to conquer the world for one thing: the sensuality of the movement. Flamboyant, colourful, sensual, this is a seductive world of tango. You can find tango all over Buenos Aires at milongas and by walking around the city's authentic neighbourhoods, as La Boca and San Telmo. There are hundreds of good tango bars and academies so it won't be hard to find a place.
- Arts and Culture
Private tango lesson
At the end of my holidays, I had finally my fantastic Argentina tango experience with a great tango teacher during a one-hour-private lesson.
He corrected my deportment while dancing and I learned a lot! And all that in a dance room in a old house of San Telmo : waw!!!!
Tango is extremly sensual, emotional and very dynamic too... and it's incredibly difficult. When you watch tango dancers you get hypnotized, at least I do. It's beautiful.
It originated in the late 19th century's brothels and cabarets. As immigrants from Europe and Africa streamed into the outskirts of Buenos Aires many were drawn toward the port city's houses of ill repute. It's said that prostitutes were the only women accepting such dance these times. Tango became absorbed into the larger society after the lower classes were allowed to vote (1912), what legitimized many of their "behaviours". Soon, it bacame very popular not only in Argentina but also in Europe.
It had its good and bad times throughout the century and today again the tango is enjoying a renaissance of popularity.
Buenos Aires is the home of Tango.
While you are in the city do your best to visit a tango show. I thought that as I hadn't booked in advance I wouldn't have a hope of getting to a show at a few hours notice, but in fact our hotel had a choice of two available to us.
We were also offered a third show at a new hotel, but be wary as this is not a tango show.
One interesting thing to note is that although Argentina is recognised as the birth place of Tango, in fact the most famous tango music of all, La Cumparsita, was composed in Uruguay.
- Arts and Culture
Traditional argentinian dance style... you can see couple dancing everywhere for tourist and above all in La Boca where there is a small museum about Tango ...closer to caminito and easy to reach it
In Plaza Francia or Dorrego square every afternoon there are some couples dancing for tourist .
TANGO IS NOT A TRADITION
It is a religion....if you really see deeply the eyes and the real feeling of Tango by the faces of these great dancers, Graciela and Javier, you will feel that Tango is not only part of the argentinean culture...it is part of their intimacy, it comes from the soul, it comes from everything sacred they consider...
Tango is felt in the blood and the tango makes people from all age to experience it, and to live TANGO.
I am proud to introduce you this lovely couple which shows to the world the impressing SENSUAL DANCE!
Sep 15th, 2005
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