Page 34 - Bauerfeind life magazine

magazine 2013/1
A selection of the tango festivals being held in 2013
In Motion
Tango demonstration in La Boca, the most famous of the 48 districts in Buenos Aires.
>>> Elegance, melancholy, eroticism – this
dance expresses them all: the Argentine
tango involves a breathtaking variety of
figures, tremendous versatility and lots of
feeling. When watching couples dancing the
tango, you can see their radiance – that is
the belief of Colombian psychologist Cynthia
Quiroga Murcia, who has found that dancing
the tango leads to a reduction in the stress
hormone cortisol while increased quanti­
ties of the sex hormone testosterone course
through the dancers’ bodies. Tango is good
for the health and triggers all sorts of plea­
surable feelings!
The tango was born in Buenos Aires and
Montevideo between 1850 and 1880. At that
time, the capitals of Argentina and Uruguay
were both desirable places to live and the
final stop for many European immigrants in
search of a better life. In the cafés and clubs
of the working-class neighborhoods, they
sought a distraction from the daily grind of
slaughterhouses, tanneries and warehouses,
from unemployment, crime and their primi­
tive lives. Their songs express despair, wist­
fulness and longing. “Tango is a sad thought
that can be danced,” explains ­Enrique Santos
Discépolo (1901–1951), one of the most
famous tango composers. The dance steps
are accompanied by African Candombe
drums. The compositions mix elements of
Spanish flamenco, Italian opera and the
Milonga songs of the Argentine gauchos. The
bandoneón, a handheld instrument similar to
the accordion that was brought to Argentina
in 1870 by German immigrants, became the
characteristic instrument of the tango thanks
to its melancholy tone.
Tango as national music
From the beginning of the 20th century, the
tango became a cult dance in Europe and
was acceptable in all sections of society
after upper-class young Argentinians made it
popular in the salons and bars of Paris. This
marked the start of the tango’s golden age,
which lasted until the mid-1950s.
A vibrant tango scene
The bandoneón has given the Argentine
tango new popularity. There is now a vibrant
tango scene with numerous events held
around the world: every year, tango enthus­
iasts gather in Seinäjoki in the first week of
July (see the infobox). Over 150,000 people
can now be found dancing on the streets of
the small Finnish town during the course of
this week. “Tango is our national music,” says
Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki, comment­
ing on the significance of the genre, which
has inspired many of the country’s composers
and performers.
Although the Argentine tango can be per­
formed with any desired combination of rota­
tions, steps and figures, the sequence of steps
in the standard tango, as has been taught as
part of the World Dance Program since 1963,
is significantly more regimented. Where a
continuous flow of dance in harmony with
the music is typical of the Argentine tango,
abrupt changes of pace and movement domi­
nate in standard tango – long, prowling steps
are followed by small, jagged, staccato move­
ments. The standard tango is nowhere near as
passionate and tender as the Argentine tango
a conscious change implemented by British
choreographers to suit social conventions.
Tangoamadeus in Vienna, May 8 to 12,
• 13
th International Tango Festival in Berlin,
May 17 to 20,
• 9
th Toronto Tango Festival, June 6 to 9,
Tangocamp Festival in Tylösand, Sweden,
June 14 to 17,
• 10
th International Istanbul Tango
Festival, July 3 to 7,
Seinäjoki Tango Festival, Finland,
July 10 to 14,
Tango Buenos Aires Festival and World
Cup, August 13 to 27,
• 4
th Innsbruck Tango Festival, October 24
to 27,
Other dates are also available at:
Tango festival in Buenos Aires in 2012.
Pictures: Tango BA Festival y Mundial 2012, Corbis/Jose Fuste Raga