Sunday, December 9, 2012

Argentine Tango - Where Italian Culture Plays a Leading Role

As many of you know, I love to dance and where almost two years ago I posted my first story on my ballroom journey. Since then, my love for dancing has evolved into something more profound, passionate and intense, hence my new dance of choice, Argentine tango.  I began lessons in Argentine tango as a way to evolve ballroom dancing, but soon after taking many private lessons -I became engulfed in the mystery and intensity of tango.  It's one of those dances that you just can't explain what the feeling is, but it requires a serious cerebral connection.

It's one thing to know steps, but this is far beyond that, it seduces you in 'being in the moment' and understanding movement.  You learn so much about yourself in this dance.  In today's world, we spend so much TIME worrying about TIME and never living in the moment, tango teaches a lesson.  A large element that makes this special is the Argentine tango music, it's like no other. It's a traditional sound, one that I can recall from childhood. I remember my father and mother always dancing the tango at a family wedding or event and then just listening to this type of music at home, so in many ways it brings back amazing memories.

Some of you  may recall as I was telling the story about my father and when he came to America over 50 years ago, he also taught dancing as a way to make ends meet.  I mean this is a man who worked hard his whole life and had a blue collar demeanor to him always, so when he wore his dress shoes, he was someone else -- the dancer.  One of those characteristics about your parents that leaves a huge impression on you as a child.

In learning more about Argentine tango I began researching the history and music, it's pretty amazing to find out that much of the Argentine culture is directly influenced by Italian culture.  A direct statistic of this fact is that up to 20 million Argentines have some direct Italian descent.   They are Argentine Italians as we are Italian Americans.  The immigrant population from Italy to Argentina spikes up to almost 45% during peak years. So you can imagine, everything from the music, food, culture, traditions, dance, art and education were directly influenced by the Italian culture, that's impressive.   After learning this, I feel even more connected to the culture and history of Argentine tango.  My goal is to make it to Argentina for an educational trip on all things tango, but to also learn about the history of the Italian cultural influences.

Here's an incredibly talented group out of New York City called 'Importango' , who are in the process of creating a tango album.  Listen and watch their introduction here:





Photo Credit: E. Cullari 
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