Introduction: Tango tango tango. It’s not just a dance but an obsession. Tango clubs are everywhere. Tango courses are offered at universities and ballroom schools. Brides and grooms are now choosing to do a tango as their first dance instead of a waltz. Ice skaters are doing tango’s in competition. Placido Domingo, Julio Iglasis and Yo Yo Ma have recorded CD’s of Tango music. Tango shows have toured the country and played Broadway. There are films about Tango and Tango in many films. Al Pacino’s character in the film SCENT OF A WOMAN said: “Tango is not like life my dear. There are no mistakes in tango…If you get tangled up, you just tango on.”
How did a dance born in the slums of 19th century Buenos Aires, performed by pimp and prostitute, capture and recapture the popular imagination and become an international cult? It’s a rags to riches story and the first of the Latin American dances to sweep the world. Tangomania was born.
Evolution: First known as Argentine Tango Parisian Tango sweeps the Paris dance floors. On to London. To America via Vernon & Irene Castle and became Ragtime Tango. 1920’s film, Rudolph Valentino and into the Ballroom schools. 1930’s Fred danced Tango in a tux with Ginger. Changes in style. 1950’s becomes choreographed for Stage and Show Tango.
For and Against: Quotes and descriptions – dirty dancing of it’s day, sex in black tie, panther after it’s day, vertical expression of a horizontal desire, etc.
Conclusion: I declare Tango today as being good. Dance teachers and performers are being employed. Lot’s of new dance enthusiasts are coming to
the dance floor. There are not books, fashions, music and films about Tango. I believe that those not dancing the Tango still consider it evil.
But those that are dancing it, especially with a good partner, it is oh sooo good.
Now, back to the Ragtime Era and let’s dance.
Nira Pullin, Professor, Choreographer, Period Movement and Dance Specialist, has worked at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada, utah Shakespeare Festival, Actor’s Movement Studio in NYC and has taught in England, Spain, Germany and at theatre’s and universities throughout the USA. She is the recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at Wayne State University and the Standing Ovation Award from Michigan Thespian Society. She is a member of Stage Directors and Choreogaphers and a certified Pilates Instructor. She wrote the chapter “Putting Period Dance on the Stage and in the Curriculum” for the book MOVEMENT FOR ACTOR’S and articles for Dance Magazine and Southern Theatre Magazine. Besides working with actors and dancers whe also coaches ice skaters and opera singers.
Bill Wilson, Professor of Theatre, is currently the Director of Musical Theatre and the Director of the Performing and Fine Arts Commission at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island. Bill teaches Musical Theatre Singing, Musical Theatre Performance, Musical Theatre History, Musical Theate Dance, Tap Dance, Directing and Movement for the Actor. Previously, he served as Associate Director of Theatre at Minnesota State University at Moorhead, where he also was an Assistant Professor, and head of the Dance Program. Bill has a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Musical Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Directing from Wayne State university in Detroit, Michiigan.