Tango in Buenos Aires .

First time I have been to this beautiful city. Here getting ready to shoot a short film. This is a picture I took getting high on Tequilla shots in a local Tango bar. It’s quite fascinating. First came the people that want to learn the Tango. A few tourists but quite a few Argentinians too. They got together in a group with two instructors and then all begin to dance ! Some compeltely new, but surprisingly many already quite adept at the dance. Teaching others.
Why do they dance ?

Tango is not just a dance, buta national obsession. Its a passion. The Argentinian’s speak about Tango as a way of expressing life itself, of expressing their inner selves. A way of expressing the passion they feel for life, song and dance. I guess many people also come to meet people. What better way to meet people of the opposite sex than come and learn the Tango ? I met one beautiful young girl (the city is full of them !) and she was bemoaning that there just were not enough single men coming to learn the Tango anymore. I guess every city in the world has it’s share of loneliness
But it was fascinating watching the people learn, teach others, gradually get more comfortable and intimate with the dance and various partners. Tango, after all is a very sexy dance. And nothing is as fierce, as passionate as when the professional dancers turned up. Well not quite professionals, but people obsessed with the dance and who had been practicing for years. They were of all ages, some even in their teens – and others in their 80’s. One I spoke to was a senior manager at an automotive company. He has done this for years. Imagine, coming out of your office and changing your clothes to dance a fierce, passionate and vigorous Tango for an hour before you go home to your very normal life.
Did I dance ? No. I was too busy observing and downing Tequilla shots.
But tonight, I Tango in Buenos Aires.

8 thoughts on “Tango in Buenos Aires .

  1. Tango is not a national obsession in Argentina, but is something at it’s strongest in Buenos Aires. The folkloric dances like Chacarera and Zamba have also a large following in Argentina. In fact Tango has only seen a revival in the last 15 or so years. The military dictatorship suppressed a lot of freedom of expression, tango with the Milongas (social Tango dances: which could be seen as a gathering of people) and some songs (whose lyrics edited to be less “subversive”) was seen to be too liberal. People even talk of a missing generation of Tango dancers. So you won’t find everyone in Buenos Aires dancing all the time, yet it is omnipresent from indents on the subte (metro) to dancers being featured in magazines. It’s almost like a parallel universe in Buenos Aires, you have to scratch the surface of the hustle and bustle that it Baires and pass by the cheesy, touristic dinner and dance shows to find the people who have an elegant way of walking and follow them to the milonga of their barrio.
    Philosophical in many ways, it can be seen as a way of life, with it’s codes and customs, the rich history of the music and the evolution of the dance. It’s not something you can just try and get, you have to let it get under your skin, then you’re in trouble : )

  2. Dear Shekhar,
    It is so amazing that you are in South America as that is the only continent that I have not traveled to and so long to go. After seeing “The Motorcycle Diaries” I became even more facinated with Argentina, Peru and Chile that I think I’ll go soon. Also when I was in business school I was really facinated with latin dance and joined the Balroom Dancing association during my 2nd year and learnt Salsa and Merengue. I’m sure Tango is even more amazing and you must be having a great time there, and it surely is the best place to meet people of the opposite sex.
    When ever I think of Tango it reminds of the Al Pacino scene from “Scent of a Woman” one of my all time favorite films – so sexy and mesmerizing
    Here it is
    Hope you have a great time in Buenos Aires.
    Best Regards,

  3. lol..I’m amused. You dancing the tango would be a welcome sight indeed for your fans. You could have humoured the pretty lady, I’m sure she asked!
    what is 3 Graces about ?

  4. First of all, for an admirer who gets too little of your works to be thrilled, this photograph is a sweet excuse..really loved the mood created by the light here..amazed to see how your did npt shake even after (so) many tequilla shots.. 🙂

  5. Buenos Aires — such a vibrant and spirited city with intensely passionate people…one of my favorite destinations! Particularly cherish fond memories, from a few years ago, of experiences at the Teatro Colón, the Casa Rosada, among many others, from the balcony of which the ever-so moving ‘don’t cry for me Argentina’ of ‘Evita’ fame was delivered…and the impromptu tango performances in the corners of charming market squares, which was a different experience from watching one in the setting of an organized cultural show. As a dancer, could only appreciate the intense training & conditioning of every bone and muscle, that was masked by the effortless and passionate delivery of these energized performances. What I also recall is the narration of the Tango’s origins, linkages to brothels before its evolution to its current form of practice/appreciation & its close encounter with near-extinction during the military regime. It was heartening to see the revival of the Tango as a form of national expression, without losing its identity to ‘popular’ art — to the extent of dedicating an entire week to celebrate the art as a national ‘Festival’ with patronization and support from the governing entities of Argentinian culture. Perhaps not so radically divergent from the degenerated phase that some of the Indian classical dances endured as a court performing art of the ‘devadasis’, before it was exalted to its current form of sublime performing art.
    I walked away from the Tango place feeling delighted that the purpose of dance was driven no longer by financial desperation or social suppression, but rather by passion for artistic expression.

  6. Yes, I am one of those “Portenos” whose generation did not learn to dance the tango. In fact, in those days (early seventies to mid-eighties), hardly any young person wanted to listen to or dance the tango. Older folks listened to it and still danced it, but not young people. We preferred rock & roll (American music and Argentine rock music). Well, as we grew more mature, I think our longing for what was OUR MUSIC, also grew stronger and we now embrace this wonderful art-form that is TANGO, in music and in dance.

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