Monthly Archives: July 2008

Change vs. Evolution

Here’s what we’re thinking:

Ballet is to Modern Dance as Argentine Tango is to Nuevo Tango.  Nuevo was obviously a reaction against Argentine Tango. The Argentinean creators were obviously seeking to change the dance drastically. The key word being CHANGE. When a dance EVOLVES, then we are likely looking at the same dance. When it changes… well… it has changed and is no longer the same dance. As well, the very likely chance that Nuevo was created simply as a marketing tool to make big bucks remains. Who seems to lead the way with Nuevo and other alternative styles of Tango? North Americans.

People choose their tango like they choose their religion and those are the people who frustrate us.  They dance something nameless between Argentine Tango and Nuevo Tango. We don’t hate Nuevo dancers or the dance (if done well). Truly. What we dislike is that Nuevo dancers claim to dance Argentine Tango. There’s a reason it has a name… and that name is Nuevo Tango.

We Hate Traditions…

…but we LOVE Argentine Tango

It seems that the majority of people demand the “perfect traditional” wedding with a marriage in a religious temple, something blue/borrowed/old, bride’s maids, ushers, etc (or whichever traditions follow one’s culture and beliefs). Yet when it comes to tango, there are those who shout, “Screw tradition!” and turn their noses up at it. We hate traditions – K wore a red dress, had bride’s dudes, and didn’t scare with any of the superstitions. But when it comes to tango, we respect it. We respect the dance and the culture it is. We are called names and disliked for voicing our respect of tango and not creating our own version or style.

We respect this and believe this to be Argentine Tango:

While this is an interesting and different dance that is called Nuevo Tango:

Nuevo Tango is NOT Argentine Tango

This topic causes us much grief. We do not understand why we constantly have to explain to people that Nuevo Tango is NOT Argentine Tango. It’s the same grief that many Tango dancers feel when they explain to their non-dancer friends that the “Argentine Tango” performance they saw on “So You Think You Can Dance” is not real Argentine Tango (We almost pulled our hair out when Nigel of SYTYCD said that A.T. is danced by men who have cigarettes hanging from their mouths and a glass of Jack Daniels in their hands – say what?!).

Nuevo Tango is no more a style of Argentine Tango than Modern Dance is a style of Ballet. Nuevo is derived from A.T. but it requires very different technique, it is often danced to completely different music, it has completely different musicality, and it has moved in a different direction where it is not a culture embedded with codes. Many people in our community attempt to dance to both (or something in between) and they never excel at either one since they haven’t taken the time to work on one or the other for any extended period of time.

In a perfect Tango world, people would know whether or not they dance Argentine Tango and they would be telling the truth when they said they danced it.

We dance Argentine Tango. What do you dance?

We have been frustrated that we constantly have to defend the fact that we dance Argentine Tango while others who dance “creative” versions of Tango that are sometimes danced to non-Argentine Tango music never have to.

Everyone defends nuevo. We are the minority who try to defend Argentine Tango. We constantly have to defend ourselves and the dance. We are called “traditionalists”, “purists”, “fundamentalists”, etc when we actually dance Argentine Tango (the dance that exists in the traditional milongas of Buenos Aires) – yet for some reason we have to define the kind of tango we dance when it should be the other way around.

We have been attacked for dancing ARGENTINE Tango. We are attacked for not dancing large and “creatively”, we are attacked for not dancing Argentine Tango to Samba music or Loreena McKennitt, and we are attacked for not supporting every self-proclaimed teacher who comes into town to teach their version of Tango.

We will no longer defend what we dance. We challenge others to open their eyes and educate themselves about the culture and tradition that is Argentine Tango.

On a final note, those who dance Nuevo Tango are not dancing Argentine Tango any more than Modern (Ballet) Dancers are dancing Ballet (more on this in the next post).