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.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I've been wanting to post again about Marcelo Tinelli's Bailando por un Sueño. the Argentine smash hit version of Dancing With the Stars, for some time now. Paddy beat me to it (and he's got more photos and even videos!), and Miss Tango also inspired me with her recent post.
It's astounding how important this show is in the Argentine culture, how much space it takes up. If you miss the live 10:30 p.m. nightly airing, the following day blow-by-blow recaps are on all the talk shows, with repeat video footage, and then repeats of the repeats. Each judge's scoring is hashed, rehashed and argued; if a dancer herself argues, so much the better--hooray, controversy and thus more press. Then of course the weekly celebrity magazines are full of the same photos. For those who want even more, Bailando also has it's own blog, complete with judges' scores and videos. Maybe the show is blown all out of proportion because being concerned with crucial events happening in Argentina and the world is too depressing. Que sé yo?
When I first arrived in Buenos Aires to live more than four years ago, I was sort of disgusted by the show and the exploitation of women's bodies, by all the plastic surgery, by all the pandering. But then with time, I got more used to the close-ups of the ladies' derrieres in the super-skimpy costumes and how it was more about how everyone looked than how they danced. As you can imagine, wardrobe and makeup are huge on this show. The stars on Showmatch are primarily vedettes, or showgirls and spokesmodels, so what can you expect? Sometimes they can dance well, more often they can't, but they all have gorgeous bodies. Once in a while they'll have a guy singer or comedian, but it's rare that a man is one of the stars dancing for his dream (help for various charities and worthy causes).
But also I became somewhat impressed with the variety of dances presented: salsa, cumbia, adagio, caño or pole dancing, strip tease, children's songs, ayé, milonga, cuarte tasso, rock 'n roll, rock nacional, disco latino, bellydance, and music videos (my personal favorite). Another good point besides the variety of dances, is that all the dances are performed as couples, so the pole dance, for example, had little stories to account for the male half of the couple. In the bellydancing, the guy was usually a sheik or a customer, but sometimes he shook it as well.
The truth is that the choreography is similar in whatever dance--designed to show the women's nether regions, and in the "sexier" ones (I use quotes because ALL of them are sexy, even the children's songs category), there is simulated uh, sex. All the dances include certain required lifts and trucos, as well as splits. And in the strip tease and pole dances, the girls exposed their breasts at the end.
What really took the cake, though, for me, a PC and sensitive North American, was the recent blackface makeup on a couple of contenders. I was so shocked I took photos of the TV screen to show you, because otherwise I bet you wouldn't believe me:
When I posted Stripper Dreams about Showmatch a year ago, I was amazed when checking the stats on how readers come to my blog, how many people searched Google for "naked tango," "nude tango," topless tango," and "stripper." So now that I'm using these words in this post, I guess even more people will arrive on tangocherie with hopes of seeing more than a milonga photo or a picture of my new cat.
At least they don't do a naked tango on Showmatch, for which I for one am thankful. Or they haven't done one yet.