Thursday, December 27, 2012

Milonga at the Ponderosa Ranch?

Milonga at the Ponderosa Ranch in Nevada?
Here is a picture of an elegant milonga in Mannheim, Germany -- well, the ladies are elegant and the setting is on the banks of the Rhein.

The former cowboy from Nevada is the only one pictured wearing slacks.  I have obviously lost my cowboy heritage and wild, wild west culture.  I grew up in Nevada, you see.  I miss my horse -- I truly did own and ride a horse.  His name was Dusty.  Goldie, my dog, and I would go out on long rides, even under the moonlight and stars.  I wore mostly jeans as a kid.  I even wore a cowboy hat in middle school.  I am not kidding.  I joined the Sparks Rodeo club in High School for the sole purpose of chasing a cowgirl.

How is it that a person forgets his culture?  Maybe I have.  Maybe that is the question for Argentina and tango in general, too.

Anyway, I am tired of being such a freak, coming to milongas in slacks, a coat and a tie.  I give up!  What a weirdo!  Even Latino men have succumbed to US Casual Dress Imperialism... uh ... I mean cool-dude dress code.  And I am tired of women who say, "How nice that you dress up. You show respect for the women who dress nicely."  Respect?  Ladies, we all have to join the new century!  Get with it!

So my New Year's resolution is to join the crowd.  I even have a few ideas to help out the new world of tango:

Here's my Concept: In the tango world we include three distinct tandas at every milonga:  Vals criollo, tango, and the milonga.  But why stop there?  Since many men both in the US and Europe wear cowboy gear (jeans), I suggest other events!  I think one tanda of calf roping, followed by a vals would be perfect.  A friend in Australia suggests sheep wrangling -- local flair would be nice.  Spain should include the running of the bulls.  I have seen milongas with the running of the bulls in the US -- dangerous, but fun for the bulls (tangueros with horns).

Okay DJs, take some notes: 
  • Two tandas of tango, one tanda of calf roping.  (Tangueras dressed in jeans can rope goats, as they do in rodeos instead of calves.)
  • After the vals tanda, I suggest again two tandas of tango, and then a bull ride on a mechanical bull!  (Tangueras wearing jeans can do barrel racing at the same time in the outside lane of dance.) The last event, of course, would be a milonga tanda.  Then the fun starts all over.
     Comme Il Faut on a bull!
  • To save time and for the enjoyment of the people sitting down, the mechanical bull can be going in rhythm to the music in the middle of dance floor.  We'll just call this Ultra Tango Nuevo.  No bull/no fun.  Biagi tandas are for advanced Rodeo Tangueros only.  Sorry, no bull riding during the milonga tanda, the insurance company refuses to cover the liability. 

  • Note:  Sarcasm aside, there is a perhaps a solution to getting closer to the beauty of Golden Age tango and slowing the Advent of a Tango Apocalypse:  Ladies, praise a man when he finally wears slacks to a milonga or praise a man who is dressed appropriately.  Tango is more than a dance; it's a culture. 

    How is it that people sometimes forget their culture?  You tell me. I seem to have abandoned my own for some foreign culture from South America.

    • Las Morochas Milonga, Mannheim, Germany:  Andy Ungureanu (an excellent DJ and photographer).  


    1. Seriously, Mark? Until the gender balance swings way over to a preponderance of men, we do not want to discourage any guys from tango. No fancy clothes, no prissy ballroom shoes, call it dancesport, call it ( as one uber marketer does) 'seduction tango', but don't let it get out that "real American men" are actually taking dance classes.

      I would be thrilled if he just walked me back to the vicinity of my seat instead of sprinting away at the last note of the tando to go grab his next partner.

    2. Mi Reina... okay, I was being visionary or delusional... well, certainly sarcastic. ¡Perdóname!

    3. Well said Mark. Tango is a culture not a dance only. The magic of Tango lives also in the attire & should be preserved. If the jean dancers want to have some Ponderosa night, they should go to other places and I know many of them. U should start a campaign to preserve the culture. I rather be dancing by myself or with my imaginary friend than with a vallenato dancer in a Tango setting. And I love any dance and music!

    4. Well said! Tango is a culture, not a dance only and the attire to practice it needs to be preserved and honored. We women do. I don't think a real male tanguero feels that he can dance with jeans instead of slacks. We're talking about feelings and respect here. And Tango need and deserve our full respect.

    5. Nice article, Mark :) Perhaps to your Ponderosa milonga concept add the line dancing often taught so-called tango classes - see here :).


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