After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Latin Fever

LATIN FEVER: Five ways the tango has fired the imagination!

Here are the Fab Five Imagination-Firers according to the UK's The Independent. Obviously this list focuses on influences within the last 40 years, leaving out the first hundred years or so of tango history. I personally don't agree with any of them, although I haven't read the two books. My list will come after, gives me more time to think about it.

1. Valentino (1977) dir. Ken Russell
Ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev stars in this lavish film, famous for its two-man tango scene danced by Nureyev and Anthony Dowell. I think the real Valentino probably fired up a heck of a lot more tango--and people.

2. Tango Fire
The latest tango stage show to arrive from Argentina is at London's Peacock Theatre (0844 412 4300) until 29 September. The show then tours to 18 British venues. What the world doesn't need in 2007 is another mediocre tango stage show.

3. The Meaning of Tango: The Story of the Argentinian Dance by Christine Denniston
Traces the dance's history from the brothels of Buenos Aires through to the 1980s revival. They always love the "brothels" part.

4. Astor Piazolla, A Memoir by Natalio Gorin
Official biography of the brilliant iconoclast and Argentine hero who revitalised the music of tango, creating Tango Nuevo. Betcha he didn't know he was "creating tango nuevo."

5. Assassination Tango (2003) dir. Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall plays a hitman sent on a job to Argentina. There he meets tango dancer Luciana Pedraza who becomes his guide to the sensuous dance. This movie could have been so much better, but to its credit, it could have been so much worse. At least Duvall only put himself into the role of the "tango star dancing with the young girl" in his dreams. But what was all that weird stuff about his relationship with his girlfriend's little daughter?

Tangocherie's list of Imagination Firers:

1. The first traveling Tango for Tourists stage show, Tango Argentino.

2. The tango scene in Scent of a Woman with Al Pacino.

3. Astor Piazzola's music, not a book about him.

4. The zillions of tango videos, good and bad, on YouTube available to everyone around the globe.

5. The many people visiting Buenos Aires since the "crisis of 2001" and see the real tango for the first time, the tango of the embrace.

So what would be on your list?


Sarah said...

My personal top 5:

1. My teacher.

2. "The Tango Project" CD, released in 1991.

3. "Libertango" by Astor Piazzola

4. "The Tango Lesson" movie by Sally Potter

5. "Tango Bar" - movie with Raul Julia in it .. it's from the 80s and I have not seen it since then. I can barely remember it but I do remember it firing me up at the time. :)

Anonymous said...

Cherie, I am so with you on "Tango Argentino". That show was a sensational stage version of what we dance at milongas, without flips, somersaults, and pirouettes.

But I'd like to add Schwartenneger in "True Lies" to the list - the fact that a muscle-bound he-man like the Governator can "dance Tango" (and I apply the term loosely...), was inspiring to more than just a few "dancing is for sissies" men.

la nuit blanche said...

1. my mother, who took me to my first tango lesson.

2. luis bravo's forever tango on broadway

3. the music in "the tango lesson"

4. the milonga scenes in "the tango lesson"

5. an argentine tango showcase performance at an international latin dancesport championship.

Elizabeth said...

After several years of being influenced and enticed by pretty much every one of the items on Cherie's list, I have begun (just begun) to find my way to what my heart desires in tango. I have danced with a milonguero. and have recently been in private lesson with a real milonguera. I have gratitude for the early influences, but frankly, they were only influences because the real nature of tango is so strong,(a very distilled elixer) that some of it was seeping through the glitz, the acting, the acrobatics, the fake romance. I am sure that the music, the ghost, the little steps and stops of the mionguro spirts are always near in these crazy movies. If it were not for these movies, I might never have agreed when my spouse said "hey let's take tango lessons" ! Little did we know how far this passion would carry us, and what challenges it would bring for us individually and as a couple.

So, my personal top influences are the milongueros and the private lessons from a person who has been around for a long time, is from Buenos Aires, and has grown up in the barrios, and who knows and loves tango so much that they will swear at you and roll their eyes if you do it wrong. "There is only one way.." to quote my teacher.

Another influence is the movie "Tango, Our Dance" Which covers some of the disconnect between show business and tango as it is danced by the people.

I am going to include my mother here too. We grew up in the rural west of the U.S. and she/we had some faint background in latin culture. My mother beieves in art and dance and all things authentic, and beatiful. Also, all of my teachers whatever style they were or are teaching, because it all adds up, and it is all part of a journey which will take us to Buenos Aires in November.

tangocherie said...

Thanks, everybody, for contributing your top 5.

My list in the post was general influences; since you all have listed your personal top 5, here's mine:

1. the tango music the pianist played for large movements in my ballet classes

2. The Tango Lesson

3. Carlos Gavito

4. My first trip to BsAs after 8 lessons in 1997

5. Dancing with the milongueros