Monday, March 13, 2006

Tango, Si, Flamenco, No Way, Jose

I realize I'm just a dilettante, or whatever the Spanish language equivalent is (no, not pendejo), and know that owning Piazzolla Remixed doesn't give me the right to write. But that's never stopped me before. So, tonight, after watching Bocca Tango I feel moved to explain why tango moves me and flamenco gives me the giggles.

The bandoneon is the sad accordion. No oompah accompaniment or Pink Panther pulses for it. Only wistful twists of the wrist like air whistled down nostalgic alleys. Not that it doesn't have its comic edge, for it's so sad it practically laughs at itself, especially when it gets to gossiping with the high-strung violin. And when the whole band sets to, it might as well be the Carl Stalling project on South American holiday, trying to get free from emotion by caricaturing itself, a rush of notes, a clutch of melody, someone's perfume or anyone's air.

Then again, that's the tango's odd point. It suggests one can freeze frame passion into a series of ritual gestures, pretending choreography is one of the sciences and mating is our field of study. Of course it started in Buenos Aries' tango halls where men danced with men, and therefore got even more codified, as it wasn't dance as metaphor of/excuse for/entree to sex. No sir. Really, no, sir.

So it means to be serious but we all know better, even those playing the music, acting the dance. Therefore love is exposed for the game it is, as we all hope to make our own stumbles towards grace, preferrably with a partner willing to allow for giggling only at appropriate times.

Flamenco, on the other foot, is just silly. Always overheated, the men act so macho, dancing with themselves, yet their moves tend to mince. Do they see the conundrum? Never. And that's why flamenco deosn't fly for me--it's so much only one thing.

Meanwhile tango sounds like tangle and that has to mean something.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi George,

It's hard to tell if believing a fairy tale about men dancing with men the tango at its early stage makes you reconcile with your inner gay, or it is just the plain ignorance of Americans who love to lick on the exotic and forbidden even it is banana coated with chocolate.

8:27 PM  

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