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Tango & Art flipbook



by Carol Middleton


(first published in Honda:The Magazine Autumn 2000)

The music is sad, passionate, uplifting. The dance is intricate, subtle, creative. The mood is intense, aloof, sexy. This is tango.

Tango came out of the melting pot of cultures that converged on Buenos Aires at the end of the 1800s. The music and the dance of tango capture the earthiness of Africa, the elegance of Paris and the music of Latin America and Europe. Learning to dance the tango is learning to dance from the heart - with sensuality and with style. Tango is tuning in to the music of a culture steeped in nostalgia and longing, expressing all the sadness of immigrants uprooted from their native countries.


"Circle your partner's neck with your left arm, lean against him, and find that spot by his right ear where you can place your head comfortably." I follow the instructions of Kristina, my Argentinian dance teacher, searching for the T spot that will turn me into a true Tango dancer. Luckily, I am tall and my partner is even taller: 1.9 metres. Teaming up with a partner whose T spot is a lot higher or lower than yours could land you in all sorts of trouble.


Intimacy is just one of the attractions of Tango. After decades of dancing solo in discos and raves, romance is on the upswing and partner dancing is making a comeback. Ballroom dancing is as popular as ever, salsa, merengue and lambada have had their day, but nothing has captured the imagination like the Argentine Tango.


Tango is a nocturnal creature and suits the urban lifestyle. The colours of the tango are black and red. The men may on occasion adopt the traditional tango gear: slouch hats, braces, waistcoats or scarves. Young women, who wear chunky shoes and long skirts or trousers to work, change into the short or split skirt, stiletto heels and fine stockings of the tanguera at night.

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