How to properly choose your Tango course

How to properly choose your Tango course.

Edited by Marcos – Teacher at Villa Giacomelli.

At the beginning of the last century, a few years before the Great World War, Paris was the arts center of the world. A refined place and an essential reference point regarding each new trend. It was the period of the “Bell’Epoque” that involved a society which loved life and enjoyed in it.

In that period the Tango arrived in Paris preceded by a reputation of a “sinful” dance. It’s success was immediate: it started in the livingrooms of  the Parisian aristocracy and afterwards in the rest of Europe.  Right from the beginning was it clear the difficulty that Parisian men had in learning that dance. That’s what we got from the words of one of the most well seen noblewoman of Paris, the princess Lucia Murat, descending from Gioacchino, the King of Naples.  The princess asserted  provokingly that she loved Tango because “it’s the most chaste dance ever, as long as it’s practiced by an Argentinian”.
The dancing-masters of that period didn’t want to let slip the most trendy dance. It was because of obvious commercial reasons and that’s why immediately started the standardization of Tango. In that way the dance got stripped down of it’s essential features like improvisation and sensuality. It’s useless to say that nothing remained from the original Argentinian Tango. As Josè Gobello reports in his “Cronica general del Tango” of 1980,  the “viejos tangueros”, namely the argentinean “old tango dancers”, wanted to change the name of their dance. In that book he relates the words of an old tango dancer or “Viejo Tanguero” of the time: “the European milieu which is imbuing the Tango, has returned it to Argentina with another accent and with different cothes”.

It’s stay in the old country, made it a stranger… the Tango, as it’s performed, can be adopted by aristocratic living rooms but it would be necessary to change it’s name since it gots stripped of its character. European dancing-masters twisted the Tango at that point that it was necessary to turn to the use of music done by european musicians. Compared to the typical Argentinean orchestras (Orquestras Tipicas), the results were slowlier rhythm sections and less complex arrangements.
That’s what happened at the beginning of the twentieth century but what is it happening today? Well, the same thing is going on. Some Tango movies like Sally Potter’s “Tango Lessons” and some theatre Tango shows contributed a lot to the re-launching of Tango in Italy and in other european countries as well. In the last ten- fifteen years, the local dancing-masters did exactly the same as their collegues of the past. As a matter of fact, these “kind of local teachers” started to teach a type of dance lacking in it’s most authentic components, without even trying to understand the essential characteristics of Tango.

Going along with the requests concerning Argentinean Tango courses, almost every gym or dance school has its own Tango course held by persons who already teach other different dances like ballroom dancing, standard dances, etc.(and to give more emphasis to their didactic abilities those persons show off proudly the qualifications, the graduations, participations and so on… all that stuff that has nothing to do with a real Argentinean Tango teacher). I have to say it because the Tango is the most difficult couple dancing to learn and it’s quite easy to imagine how hard is it to teach that dance. When we started with Argentinean Tango lessons here in Villa Giacomelli, in Friuli and generally in the whole Triveneto, as in most Italian cities, Argentinean Tango was substantially european tango with the addition of  the term “argentinean”.

The true Argentinean Tango teacher:

– Teaches with the heart;
– Teaches only Argentinean Tango;
– Doesn’t show any qualification;
– Knows the history of Tango;
– Doesn’t teach how to imitate steps but how to “create” them;
– Teaches the “milonguero” style, a style performed in argentinean milonguas;