DANCING TO NON TANGO MUSIC

Is dancing tango moves to non-Tango music still considered Tango?

For sure if you pick a song to dance such as any non Tango Composer, Orchestra or Composition the music will not be a Tango. If you choose to dance Janis Joplin, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, etc… I guess we can all agree that the music they compose is NOT Tango.  

Dance, in itself, is a world of free expression. The problem happens when people think that because they are dancing Tango moves to non-tango music they believe they’re still dancing Tango. Problem?  It’s not big deal, but for those who love this Art form that is so very rich, there is a difference.  Let me explain.

In my personal life I very much enjoy listening to Gotan Project.  Do I connect with the music to dance to it? NO. But that is me. I don’t connect and, in my case, I know why.  Because for me tango emanates from the music, with its roots attached to the meter and beats of the main harmony of Tango.

I feel uncomfortable moving, embracing, and walking to a different type of Music that is not Tango.
Can I do it?  Of course. 
Have I done it?  Yes, many times
Why then are the alternative Milongas such a big hit outside of Argentina?  Very simply because people connect to what they know and to what they grew up listening.

I truly believe the reason Argentinean people dance or understand this music so much is because we grow up listening to it all the time, we are exposed every day: Taxi, Bus, Subway, Newstand, Bakery, Kiosk, Gas Station, TV, Radio, Grandparents, Great-grandparents, Parties, Birthdays, History at School. But out of 100% of the population of Argentina, maybe 0000.0001% of the population actually dance tango, but 90% of it have an idea of what Tango is or means: Posture, Embrace, Movement, Bandoneon, Gardel etc…

This doesn’t mean all Argentineans have the talent to dance Tango. Even if you get an Argentinean guy with two left feet and try to teach him to dance tango, he might be very bad, but in his back of his mind, the feeling or image of Tango will pop up as an innate feeling in his soul.

It is simply a cultural thing.  I’ve sometimes heard people in NYC say “I hate Tango Music, but I love the Dance.” It may be because they appreciate the movement without comprehending the music.  To me this is baffling being that I believe the dance, itself, springs from the music.

I was criticized by some people because at the Chicago Tango Festival 2011, I performed to the William Tell Overture, which metrically fits exactly the Milonga Tempo. I enjoyed doing this immensely.

Did I dance Milonga? NO
Did I think I was dancing Milonga? NO
Do I know the Difference between MIlonga, Tango, Tango-Vals and the rest of Generes? YES
That is Why I can Choose to do it.

If I used Tango Movements to a typical Lindy-Hop Song?
Would I be dancing one or the Other?

IMHO

Oliver

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