Not many dances are as popular household names, nor as culturally significant, as the tango. The Tango’s classic two-person style, with all its intimacy and sensuality, is as synonymous with romance as flowers and chocolates.
This has been the heart of the Tango since its birth in the 1880s. With its origins shared between African, Cuban-Spanish and Argentinian influences, the dance can only be described as the perfect blend of all these cultures.
The dance is known for being, as mentioned, pretty sensual and almost raunchy. As a matter of fact, it was prohibited in places like France in 1913. Tango dance instructors were banned from the city altogether.
Times were incredibly conservative, and such a dance was considered pretty indecent at a time when women were still wearing corsets and ankle-length dresses.
Not really a coincidence, as the dance developed within bars and brothels in the border between Argentina and Uruguay. Tango pretty much has “having a good time” in its cultural veins. Despite the backlash and controversy it was met with, the dance lived on.
In the bars, the dance halls and even the streets, people still dance the Tango. Like these two.
It takes two to Tango, they say. So they’ve got everything they need. The extra dozens of spectators are just a bonus. This isn’t just a performance for the sake of it, though. Yes, there is a little bit of a significant occasion going on here.
I’ll give you a hint : It’s the song.
La Cumparsita, recognizable instantly from the notes if the name escapes you, is the Tango tune of all Tango tunes. It’s been used in countless film scenes and competitions. Even if you don’t know its Spanish name, you’ll at least immediately clock it as “The Tango song”.
This street performance in 2015 takes place just about 100 years after the song was composed by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez. Man and woman, crowd and street roughly a century later still dance to the song.
Mora Godoy and Marcos Ayala have a pretty sizable crowd around them here. They’re wearing their dancing outfits, and they know what they’re doing.
When La Cumparsita plays, Señor Marcos and Señorita Mora have each other’s hands held. They know the dance by heart, and they perform the Tango’s iconic footwork with the precision of a cat walking a tight rope.
Not a single misstep or cue missed. Mora’s legs glide in and out of Marcos’ stance, and she follows her Señor’s lead with the grace of a butterfly. When he lifts her, she glides off. When he reaches out, she spins. Mora’s timing and elegance elevates the performance to stellar levels.
Every step seems perfectly timed to the song. Their spectacular routine does justice to very note of La Cumparsita.
The song reaches its faster section, and Señor and Señorita step things up and give it some high-speed footwork too, before closing things up. Muy Bien!
Absolutely flawless performance from Marcos and Mora, and I’m sure the first Tango dancers would have loved it. This performance isn’t just a performance. It’s a story. The story of bold, often lower-class people who weren’t afraid of cultural norms of their time.
A dance that expressed romance and intimacy like no other of its time, and continues to do so 100 years later. It’s a dance and a story that you need to watch for yourself. Watch Marco and Mora Tango in the full clip below!
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Source: [Berto Sabino/YouTube]