It’s safe to say that I do not have a body built for dance – well, unless you count the thing they do in Lederhosen that involves bumping bottoms and slapping thighs and faces as dancing.
I have slightly flat feet, dodgy knees and no sense of coordination. I don’t dance like my dad – it’s way worse than that! If I were a horse I’d have been led out behind the barn and turned into ‘Fido’s Juicy Morsels’ years ago.
But….I like tango music! I think that if I were ever granted a wish to be able to dance ONE formal dance well, it would be the Tango.
I suppose I should blame Tom Lehrer….I think my interest started from hearing Mr Lehrer’s excellent Masochism Tango. I mean – how can one resist a song with lyrics like:
At your command before you here I stand
My heart is in my hand – yecch
that was written in the 1950s, pre-dating the Goth kids by four decades….
I think the next time I came across the Tango was performed by Gomez and Morticia Addams in ‘Addams Family Values’. Again – excellent!
There’s a line in ‘Scent of a Woman’ (see below) where Gabrielle Anwar’s character says that she wanted to learn the dance but that her boyfriend thought that the Tango was ‘hysterical’. I think I see where he was coming from – it is so mannered and passionate that to some people it may appear as overly emotional – hysterical – or quite amusing.
Which brings me to my next exhibit…
I think the thing that finally got me ‘hooked’ on the music was the scene in the movie ‘Scent of a Woman’ where Al Pacino, playing a blind, retired military officer dances a tango with Gabrielle Anwar. It’s a great scene for all sorts of reasons – take a look at it here and enjoy – and there’s a couple of good quotes in there, especially ‘Some people live a lifetime in a minute’.
The dance is a great affirmation of life and passion; a few minutes searching on YouTube will reveal quite a few videos of excellent dancing, and a similar period of time searching Spotify or any other online music resource will reveal a large amount of music, both traditional Tango and modern combinations of Tango and Electronica, like that produced by ‘The Gotan Project’.
For the purists, the Tango referred to above is the ‘Argentine Tango’ which is less formalised and structured than the ‘Ballroom Tango’. I may not be able to dance it, but I can enjoy it! Funnily enough, within a few days of me starting to write this piece I came across two of my friends who were expressing an interest in learning the Tango, and heard that a bar in Sheffield might be running lessons.
Maybe I should go along to watch…