Friday, March 30

Tango and missing vegetables

"Being more catholic than the Pope" is an expression that is the epitome and embodiment of all things some of us do when we find ourselves passionate about making discoveries in a new belief system, hubby, or any newly arrived at convictions. Dancing Tango seems to be one such example.

There seems to be this never ending discussion of what tango is and how it is "authentically" danced in BsAs or how the traditions are not respected else where in the world. We keep hearing from some that there are evidences everywhere that tango is being destroyed by these "jolly" foreigners putting new nasty things in and taking fundamental things out!

It is useful here if it is also mentioned that many returning visitors from Argentina complain that green vegetables are missing from the menu scene. They are not customarily part of most restaurants' menus in the beloved "tango" capital city of Argentina: BsAs.

As odd as it may initially seem Tango and the missing (green) vegetables are very directly related to each other if we are to discuss merits and pitfalls of the culture of "Being more catholic than the Pope".

When we approach the topic of convictions on authenticity, traditionalism, and argue that there is a betrayal of values by those who introduce new and different music for us to dance to or that there are new forms of movements/steps developed, taught and practiced by some that are distancing us from the traditional tango then the question arises whether Tango is an art form or not.

If Tango is an art form then like any other it has to be dynamic, living, changing, and evolving, and to experience its dynamism as it develops. We may have to start with a recognised structure of an art form but we need also allow it to extend its parameters in order for it to become more creative and expressive. Tango is not static and it can not be asked to become one.

The times that tango was a mere cultural oddity from a far off country in the world is long gone. Tango is now international. The label "Argentine" is to define this art form by its structure and not to force a fundamentalist set of strangle holds on its dynamism and evolving/changing expressions.

Dancing tango to a "non-tango" song or introducing moves that do not find a mapping in the roots of tango, none of these are to be seen as a cardinal sin or even transgressions aimed at destroying tango.

Away from BsAs traditions and culture, everyone has come to learn and know that colourful vegetables and change are good for a healthy vibrant life. It is now time not to shy away from demanding changes to "the menus of BsAs".

Let us be as catholic as the Pope in our churches but allow ourselves and others the permission to be open to change in Tango. We need to recognise the inevitable dynamism of tango and the changes that it has already been through.

We need not fear a non-fundamentalist approach to this art form but embrace the change as we do passionately when we dance with someone very different and challenging in our milongas.

The only cat who loves you back!

Wednesday, March 28

Astor Piazzolla - ADIOS NONINO (Live)

The love of tango music without falling in love with Astor Piazzolla's creations is impossible to imagine.

This is a famous clip of his 1980 tour and concert in Japan. It shows the master at his best of the art for which he is admired all around the world.


Friday, March 23

A tango etiquette (1)

They both sat there, quiet. Neither had said a word, it had been now nearly 10 minutes since the pizza had been brought, sliced, and dished onto their plates. The pieces were still sitting there, nothing in fact was touched by either of these two.

The waiter gradually looked more and more anxious. He kept looking around and could not stop wondering if he had done anything wrong with servicing that table. He was relatively new and he feared another complaint. That would be certainly his last if he got another one again in this place. He did not want to cause one complaint by simply intruding into something private but he had to make sure he was not at fault.

Perhaps it had nothing to do with his service but he couldn't be sure. He eventually managed to take charge of his fear and courage and he went forward, a customary smile on his face, and he tried a little harder with his imitation of an Italian accent.

"Is a very sing Ol rite a, for you?, senior a and seniorina eh , please?!" "Can I, please, a get you som a sing or Especial if you need , ha! si, please?!" but they would not even look at him, never mind taking enough notice of his presence to answer him back. "Perhaps, I pour a you a little more vine, in your glasses, Si, yes? You luv d pitza hot, we make it hot, a fresh ere, just now, si!?", he looked at them studiously for a little while and soon put the wine bottle back again on the table. Both glasses were still full to the brim.

The combination of his stage whispering his words and this couple's lack of response attracted even more attention now. The waiter fussed a little more, moving attentively but without much purpose, then he decided that this may have nothing to do with him or his shortcomings.

He started again, this time trying to speak his Italian theatrical accent slightly louder, he needed to, in case the manager was near enough to hear, he said "Anjoy d luv-e-ly d pitza, a very much, grat zia, grat zia!" and slowly walked away pretending that all is well now.

When left alone, the man looked up and tried to hide his grimace from his face, with a forced smile he said "I thought he would not leave us, alone!", she did not even look up to acknowledge the comment.

Earlier, on the train things were very different between them, they had been laughing and joking the whole time. They had their arms around each other, teased one another as lovers do, being shamelessly absorbed in each other's playful childish games of attention seeking and giving, this went on the whole time till they reached London.

He had been so looking forward to spend this evening with her. All day today he has had a spring in his steps, the thought of spending this evening with her had made him smile to himself in uncharacteristic manner. He did not care, he would have loved to know if everyone knew or noticed how much and why he was so happy these days.

She had been almost the same, she had even caught herself unaware in making ochos between her desk and the water cooler. Looking flushed and slightly embarrassed in case she had been watched she had surveyed the surroundings, no one was looking up, then she had continued with more forward ochos back to her desk late that afternoon.

After work had finished before leaving the building she had been to the ladies and changed, she had dressed very smartly now, far too sexy for the office look. Her make up was spot on and flawless. She had made sure that her perfume scent was just pitched at the right tone and volume. Her appearance from her polished toe nails to the beautifully arranged hair all looked nearly perfect and she had to stop herself fussing further after she refreshed her lips with her lipstick and tried a little more for perfection with the liner.

She was certain that she looked charming and definitely desirable. What she really wanted was to look devastating, in one simple word: "irresistible".

She may not have been certain but there was no way that she could have failed in looking perfect.

It had happened on the way to the restaurant, the argument had boiled over from a simple conversation, better still: a simple difference of opinions on tango 'etiquette'.

A seemingly insignificant matter of acceptance or rejection of a dance invitation from a friend, that was the core of their argument, or at least that was 'it' on the surface, before 'it' had boiled over to other things.

She said "...but, when we are there together, we have gone there as a couple, right? we should simply say 'NO!', that is it: 'NO, Thank You!' there is no need to feel awkward or uncomfortable about this."

"We have both got so many good friends there, we can not suddenly stop dancing with all our friends" he protested innocently, "Yes we can" she replied sharply, "when and if you are on your own that is fine but if we are there together, no, I don't like it and I won't do it either".

Foolishly he had said "but I have known some of these women for much longer than I have known you and...", this was the trigger that had made her explode. What was meant to be a teasing remark by him it had now become a matter of personal conviction to her, means by which to measure self-worth. There was now something that needed to be proved; a matter of honouring and respecting loving emotions, it was no longer a teasing remark to be ignored but the point was something that she could weigh herself against.

Neither of them felt yet unsafe enough to want to stop, so the argument continued....


Wednesday, March 14

Tango is not a religion

There is certainly always divides between men and women, and inclusively all of us. When it comes to the outlook on life, priorities, the long and short term expectations, in almost all aspects of life, we differ on so many fronts. It is difficult but we struggle and manage somehow to communicate our ways for getting ourselves through the simplest and most complex of tasks by our expressions of thoughts, wants, and needs.

By observing the world around us we seem to often make the mistake of thinking that our differences make us more attractive to each other. This is despite the fact that from the moment our relationships come to existence we do our very best to change each other.

We strive so very hard to find ourselves at harmony with others but we always start at the wrong starting point and choose those who are not similar to us right at the very beginning. Is it "the challenge" of the process of change that satisfies us or is it that we find it self-gratifying to see others living in our image of self?

There seems to be this irresistible desire to fulfil a need for wanting to succeed in changing, converting, and trying assimilating everyone else to become like us.

This shows itself off best when we are in the company of those who generally enjoy similar kinds of culture, music, dance, food, language, hubby etc. Although we are to the outsiders very similar but amongst us there are some who would try continuously to differentiate themselves within the group.

For example in our little microcosm of Tango communities, the comments we sometime hear is how dare some exist amongst us who enjoy Tango differently? It is as if there is some sanctity to tango that some are violating and we need to stop them before inferior versions destroy the superior forms!

When it comes to the religious beliefs; everyone has to conform, there is no room for compromise but Tango is not a religion or an ideology and nor should it be treated as such.

It is extraordinary how this process of converting others to our ways of enjoying Tango dominates many. By definition Tango is about personal passionate expressions of a performing art form. Like any other art forms, Tango art can be discussed, taught, learned, enjoyed and practiced and naturally there are going to be differences of interpretation by those who are involved.

However there can not possibly be any inferior or superior versions. There are varying forms of expressions and as long as there is pleasure from that form then no one has the right to spoil others' pleasure of it.

It is a very common trap that we may be setting ourselves to easily fall into when we resent and reject each others' differences by trying to convert others or snub them by dismissing them.

The ultimate goal could be the pleasure of accepting and appreciating our partners' expectations and stop demanding that people in our lives feel, behave, and think as we would.

If the harmony between us is not perfect, perhaps it is not because we are ourselves imperfect but that we need to change whom we are with, instead of trying very hard to change them.

The only cat who loves you back!

Friday, March 2

Her Feet ...His Passion!!!

I have never been able to take it seriously or much able to comprehend that there are people who have a sensual passion for inanimate objects. In my mind passionate sensuality has always been associated with and limited to people finding each other exciting.

Inanimate objects like: - items of clothing, mobile phones, TV sets, shoes, glasses, or kitchen tops I can never accept being expressed as "Sexy!"; they can be called stylish, chic, and described in many varied terms as surely there are an endless many other adjectives that are better suited for use with and for the inanimate objects.

The reason that we should avoid expressions of passionate sensuality with inanimate objects is that there is a line where if we go beyond then our passion for any such objects will be distinguished as having a "Fetish".

The word Fetish originally meant "charm", and it originates from the 15th century Portuguese word feitico. Its common use today is to express if someone is obsessively fixated on either an object or a body part, or both.

Assuming and hoping that we all believe that in Tango men and women find each other attractive for many reasons associated with our abilities to communicate, moving with elegance and precision, sensuality of expressions, creativity, sense of humour, and all else that may include also the way we are dressed up and presented bring me to my question: "How significant are shoes in influencing our Tango attractions and for wanting to dance with someone?"

Would any body here care to admit that he would not ask a lady to dance if she is wearing (in his opinion) the wrong shoes!? Similarly I am curious to see if there are some men who find this irresistible urge to go and ask someone to dance just because her shoes beckon and call upon him from the other side of the room!

The recent and frequently advertised website postings to tango-uk yahoo group on the subject of Ladies Shoes Sales are many but one in particular carries within its website pages stories entitled as tango Encounters that are in fact thinly disguised Shoe Fetish stories.

I am not of opinion that there is some sacredness about tango or feet - far from it! - in fact many of us have seen adverts for cars, holidays, ice cream brands, and many other products and services that use Tango as their sales vehicle to promote themselves and with all those "tango" is the means to get there.

What is rather strange with this new kind of promotion is that tango is not the vehicle any more but the destination to arrive at, together with someone else's Fetish, and it helps if you buy their kind of shoes from them!!!

Whilst I am on the subject I would love to know how these, evidently over-priced imported shoes, will treat the feet of those who purchase them in order to satisfy the Fetish-wishes of those whom they encounter.

To help us along, it may help if we note that "a fetish involves the transfer of power from an original source onto a substitute", and that "a fetishist is someone who operates outside the circle of what is characteristically considered normal".

But hey, "This is Tango!", so what is Normal nowadays in Tango without putting one's foot in it?!!