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Tango Innuendos

The national Argentinean tango folkloric dance known especially within the Latin world - including my motherland Romania where I learned first to tango - has made inroads amidst its aficionados. As Carlos Gardel turned it into a precise coordination of movements that fascinated not only a country like Argentina, but all over the world, it grew more important via a whole range of innuendos. And yet, all these years, somehow, no one seemed to notice that certain abrupt positioning of the legs may have disclosed meanings other than the shear exercise design of this dramatic dance.

Whether the dancers’ combined or separate movements, this dance could convey certain signals to those in waiting in the proximity or by a television set elsewhere. It remains for the specially trained to notice and translate them accordingly. Were they or was it, just put simply, only one observant imagination? Namely, whether performing on certain legitimate stages or on the streets of La Boca, certain trained eyes could register the movements’ signaling nuances, innuendos and especially their timing. Could, or did it mean a yes, a no, or anything at all? Could it be a signal pointing to something else than what it was? Was the choice of the fancy designed dancers’ shoes complementing a meaning besides what it actually was as a pair of shoes? And, to what extent and purpose?

The truth is that any audience watching the Argentinean tango cannot but be mesmerized and awed in admiration! As for the performers themselves, those who are totally dedicated, one can feel they live it, enjoy it and are consumed by it. So, could there be any truth in the assumption that their intricate foot movements may intimate certain indication of symbolism or even a mere hint pointing to a clue, leading to a cipher like a hidden code? There are not many who think so, but for a few with a more acute observation, talent and training, do suspect - due to certain incidents including a few when we tried to negotiate ourselves those intricate steps: RAM… TAM-TAM… TARAM… TAM-TAM...

It is not easy at all. And much the way one has to have a special
rhythm and speed to translate the Morse code, so do the legs’ eurhythmics comply with a certain traditional ritual; one may call it even classic. This, however, does not exclude the genuine suspicion that the movements performed at a certain time with a certain speed, may not convey something. Could be a message of sorts, for creative communication is without limits these days. And yet, having exposed these observations, one can not be sure it is the right premise. For, let us face it, there are other dances where certain movements may imply all sorts of things, mostly embedded in sexuality, but not as much as this particular form of tango. And not as precise as is performed in Argentina! Well, maybe we should leave it at that and enjoy it like everybody else. But… can we? For it streams into our dreams; are we that obsessed that we cannot get rid of it? RAM, TAM-TAM... TARAM…TAM-TAM...

Perhaps we are attracted by its elegant posture and its intent to conquer the floor and the audience. Or by the acute desire of even seducing the dancing partner? Either way, we want to reassure ourselves that we can master this difficult dance in order to prove that we can still mastermind it, rather than vice-versa. For it is not an easy task to achieve given the seriousness with which it is performed! What kind of fun is that, general dancing is a form of socializing is it not? Hence, why all this seriousness which, in turn, raises the doubt regarding its true purpose: Hmm...

Innuendos – Vol I ©by Ray Arco

Editing: Ileana Matac Arco
Hollywood, California

©by Ray Arco    1/18/2009


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