Sunday, October 15, 2006

The role of women in tangos

I'm jealous when I see my wife dancing with another man, am I normal ?
It's only dancing, she says, it's my limited mind ...
So I work on it ...
beyond jealousy I sense some dark confrontation ...
with the pain of passion lost ?

I get up,
I'm not done with my performance.

Tango, jealousy and knifefighting ...

The traditional themes of tangoshows are the nuns in the bordello and the knife fight ...

As in tango, many knife-fighters are nothing more than poseurs. However, the true thing is a serious piece of work. Because the focus in tango is't always the female, a show must show some respect for the skill with the blade.
In the world of knife fighting there is an unspoken rule: Go in, cut and get out unscathed. Knifefighting is a fast, fluid and dangerous affair, to master this most lethal of martial arts demands self-discipline, physical sacrifice and years of intensive training. The experienced knife fighter will easily see an opening and go in for the kill without being countered. The thing is, until you have actually faced a blade in the hands of someone who means you harm, you have no idea how terrifying it is. In that moment of singular clarity, you know: They are assassinations and "knife fighting" is a romantic fantasy that can be deadly. If you think that is bad, what you experience when facing a blade bare handed is even worse.

So the obvious tangostory is... flesh against flesh, the scenario of two jealous men dancing in combat over another woman , the passionate or troubled relationship, the figure of the compradito, the male dancer whose role is nearly always dominant on the stage in danza, a lovers quarrel and uncivilized intimate behaviour, traditions of domination, control and violence.

Seen from a narrative point of view, the role of women in tango is finely a twist-apple.

And beyond the show, one can see mirroring movements of shadows exactly like life ... but this strangely obscures what is happening on the stage, which is only obedience to tango's stage conventions and the tyrannical expectations of the vampire-audience.
Their version of tangoshow, as milongueros dismissively call it, is to play on old stereotypes, featuring male dancers dressed in faux 1940s tough-guy garb and women in their whorehouse-lite outfits, including fishnet stockings, very highheels and short skirts with long side slit.
Their dancing is full of kicks, brusque, melodramatic turns and oversized gestures, athleticism and an in-your-face sexuality. Pure Argentine Tango however is subtle. It is a very difficult dance to master, specifically because of the subtlety of the steps as well as the complexity of the lead-follow relationship.
It is revealing to look at the character interactions as a series of shifts in the both the dance partnership and gender dynamic.
As a unit, the pair is in a constant state of communication, give and take, control and release. When that release is fully attained, it is a delicious moment for both leader and follower, and the confidence and attitude of the leader is developed.
Under certain circumstances, with a tuned partnership, the follower can make various types of embellishments according to the tempo of the music, and can even take the lead away briefly.

True, tango is a metaphor for relationship of power, sex, love and control ...
But in the socialized tangoclub, the rotary is civilized ...
rules restrict the social intercourse.
At such tango de salón, one can imagine Gustave Flaubert,
sitting at a table, writing Madame Bovary *...

Who's dancing with whom?

The milonga dancing, or club dancing, is an intimate art. The milonga is full of those subtle considerations. It's a world of intimacy and freedom , but also very strict codes. The codes are needed because in la milonga, the conventions of normal life are not respected. In what other place do you just accept embracing someone you don't know, close your eyes and surrender?
There are milongas every day of the week, at lunchtime, in the afternoon and evening, and true milongueros, as milonga regulars are called, keep a schedule of favorites. They all share, however, some strict but unwritten codes, covering everything from the way to dress to the correct, and incorrect, ways of inviting someone to dance.

Appellation Tango Argentin Contrôlée :

"There are a thousand rules, " says Sonia Abadi, a much respected psychoanalyst by profession, and also a milonguera and author of "El Bazar De Los Abrazos" (The Bazaar Of Embraces) a very entertaining, often fascinating guide to the milonga world.
"La milonga puts you in a place that borders with transgression of the standard rules, ... because it's the night, because it puts body against body. And the more transgressive a situation is, the more rules are needed."

The tango at the milonga, danced in a counterclockwise motion on the edges of the floor, has the sensuality of understatement. Tension and trust hold the dancers together.
The man dances with his eyes open, she dances with her eyes closed so he's guiding her all the time and protecting her with his body so as to not bump into other dancers. She has to trust. What's more, almost instinctively the good dancer, as he sees a potential clash, turns so he gets the brunt of the collision and not the woman. In fact the good dancer is almost by definition, in the tangoworld, a gentleman.

"The milongueros are male geishas,*" says Abadi.

The milonguero is a guy whose aim is to please the woman, make her feel good. The good milonguero must make the woman he's with happy. He doesn't take her to show her off but to make her feel happy. It's like making love. You have those who do it like an athletic event and those who actually take their time to make love. In tango it's the same...

The milonguero is supposed to go to a milonga showered, perfumed and, within his means, well dressed. Many men dance with a jacket on . But if it is too hot they might wear just a shirt but with a vest, a way to keep the woman at a certain distance within the intimacy.
There are rules about inviting the woman to dance. Men and women usually sit at separate tables at the milonga, although that is changing The tangoman looks and nods. This gives the tangowoman the chance to accept or play to be distracted. A man does not come to the table to take a woman out. That's bad form. And a good female dancer does not accept if a man does such a thing, it would be like selling herself cheap. Unlike in Europe, a woman also doesn't start yelling when she sees a good Valentino or get angry if he doesn't come.

The dance proceeds in tandas, or sets, of five tangos, usually recordings by the same orchestra. The standard set-up features three major styles that alternate in a specific order: tangovals, tango and milonga (also the word for a music style).
Depending on the place, the DJ might play a set of jazz tunes, Argentine folk music or even rock. At the end of the tanda the floor clears, everybody goes back to their tables and the DJ plays some sort of theme song to clear the palate.

Good dancers know each other and if there are new faces they wait and see. You see them sipping soda water (serious milongueros don't drink alcohol) and watching.
If by chance they take a dancer who is shit, the unspoken rule is that you dance the first two pieces of the tanda and then beg off. Those first two songs are considered 'courtesy dances.'
"You don't bail out," says Abadi. After that you can make up an excuse, and you are off the hook. But as a courtesy you don't dance the rest of that tanda with anyone else. That would precisely show up the other person.

So, precisely the knife-fight is still sniping ...

Making a geisha from a knifefighter,
can give some identity problems,
or is it the difference between a milonguero and a tanguero ?

promiscuity seems to be the nature of tango,
jealousy is inevitable,
rules make it possible to endure and cover up ...
that it is ...

Madame Bovary was published in two volumes in 1857,
but it appeared originally in the Revue de Paris, 1856-57.
Emma Bovary is married to Charles Bovary, a physician. As a girl Emma has read Walter Scott, she has romantic dreams and longs for adventure.
"What exasperated her was that Charles did not seem to notice her anguish. His conviction that he was making her happy seemed to her an imbecile insult, and his sureness on this point ingratitude.
For whose sake, then was she virtuous?
Was it not for him, the obstacle to all felicity, the cause of all misery, and, as it were, the sharp clasp of that complex strap that bucked her in on all sides."

What is Geisha ?
“Gei” means accomplishment or performance and “sha” means person.
At first, Geisha were men and after a while, female Geishas came.
They were called "On-na-geisha", "On-na" means woman.
In the old period, only men went to parties, they needed someone to make them feel relaxed.
A geisha chat with guests, perform classical Japanese dance, sing songs or play games.
In "Memoris of a Geisha", Nitta Sayuri tells us of her life as a geisha.
We witness her transformation as we enter a world where appearances are everything.
Behind its facade of haunting beauty the salón turns out to be a viciously competitive place where women compete desperately for men's favor and largess,
where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder,
where women are trained to beguile and please the most powerful men,
where personal trust is almost nonexistent ...
and where love is scorned as illusion.

Synopsis translations: E/Fr/Port/Gn/Sp/It/Norge, + Link Milongas Buenos Aires

True tango is subtle, so is jealousy. Popular shows make it more clear...
High heels, sexy underwear and knife fighters. The traditional themes of tango shows are the nuns in the bordello and the knife fight. Many knife-fighters are nothing more than poseurs. However, the true thing is a serious piece of art. A show must show some respect for the skill with the blade, the focus in tango is not always the female. Knife fighting is a fast, fluid and dangerous affair, to master this most lethal of martial arts demands self-discipline, physical sacrifice and years of intensive training. The experienced knife fighter will easily see an opening and go in for the kill without being countered. True knife fighting is no romantic fantasy.
In any Martial Art, the crucial factor is the game of legs, to walk with a perfect balance and grace. In Argentine tango, the body energy-center lies lower than in ballroom tango. A little downwards pressure in the hips, makes the knees bend more and gives a more centered body axes, a sneaking, gliding way of walking. This less royal way of moving is related to knife fighting. The classic story in tango spectacles is the scenario of a woman and two jealous men in combat. Domination, control and violence. Many shows are melodramatic, tangosteps athleticism and an in-your-face sexuality. Seen from a narrative point of view, a women in tango is finely a twist-apple. Beyond the show, one can see mirroring movements exactly like life, but civilized.
At such tango de salon, one can imagine Gustave Flaubert, at a table, writing Madame Bovary. In a socialized tango club, there are rules about inviting, where to sit and a thousand codes how to look. Who's dancing with whom? Rules restrict the social contact and a male is preferred to turn himself into a geisha, which can give a knife fighter some identity problems. And a tanguero? Promiscuity seems to be the nature of tango, envy is inevitable, to keep a true thing alive?

Article from Tango-E-Vita

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