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THE TANGO LEGACY: UNIQUE VISUAL AND AUDITORY ELEMENTS THAT MAKE TANGO DANCE APPEALING BY MEGAN ROBINSON A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Professor Sonia Labrador Rodrguez Sarasota, Florida May, 2009
ii TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction ... 1 Chapter 1 : Why is Tango so Appealing? : The Tango Elements and Their Historical Influences and Evolutions......10 Chapter 2: The Performance Process: General and Tango Specific... 33 Chapter 3: The Allure of the Distasteful: Analysis of Tango Elements in Cortzar's "Las puertas del cielo"... 50 Chapter 4: Even Foreigners are Enthralled: Analysis of Tango Elements in Guillermoprieto's "And Still They Tango"...... 78 Conclusion 100 Appendix: Questionnaire... 103 Works Cited ... 105
iii The Tango Legacy: Unique Visual and Auditory Elements that Make Tango Dance Appealing Megan Robinson New College of Florid a, 2009 ABSTRACT For this thesis, the problems addressed were what makes the tango dance appealing to watch, and ultimately, how does the audience attraction turn the dance into a performance. In order to gain an idea of what made the tango so alluri ng, there was a necessity to return to the roots of the dance to understand what generated the dance form and music genre in principle. Also included in the research was an exploration of performance studies to have a proper knowledge of the key factors in a performance, different type of dances, as well as audiences. Overall, four different tango settings were documented, a live theatrical performance, a milonga at a local dance club, a fictional work, and an informative piece, but only the last two were thoroughly analyzed. The first two settings were the foundation of typical scenarios. Also included was a questionnaire used to obtain information about the theatrical performance to understand the relationship between audience and the performers. I have found that there are three elements of tango that exist in each setting I documented, dance movements, music, and clothing, suggesting they are what attracts an audience. These elements provide an appealing visual and auditory atmosphere that draws in the audience, which can be necessary or unnecessary to create the performance.
iv Professor Sonia Labrador Rodrguez Humanities
1 Introduction My experience from traveling to and around Argentina for almost six months had an effect on h ow I viewed the tango and my perspectives changed. This change came about by observations and dance experience while abroad, and also talking with others about my possible thesis on the topic. Thinking about my trip and also before that, when I first becam e introduced to the tango, only two years ago, there are many different reasons why I am interested in it. They have built upon each other as I gained more knowledge on the subject, especially from taking my class on tango theory and dance in Buenos Aires. I explored the touristy side of the dance by attending tango shows, and then I also tried to immerse myself in tango classes taken by native residents to the city to see both sides. There are several reasons why I am attracted to it. The first reason fo r me is that I love to watch and dance it, and it does not bore me. I think it is elegant and a beautiful type of dance. I only wish I had the abilities to learn how to dance tango in a smooth and graceful way. Movements of the tango are interesting becaus e some of them are very subtle like the foot movements, little circles on the floor with toes. Then there are small kicks and hooks made with the leg. Other times, the movements are well defined such as the woman being launched into the man's lap, crossing her legs in the air and then coming to sit comfortably on his leg Ochos are another movement that is hard to miss, since they are ever present in the dance and can been seen when the dancer moves either forwards or back in a diagonal motion with big or s mall steps. The second reason I enjoy learning about is the tourist industry. It is extremely profitable and successful for bringing foreigners to Buenos Aires. At the local artisan fairs, such as Recoleta, La Boca and San Telmo, artists used the popula rity of the tango
2 and have created artwork and collectables. I went to two tango shows at Caf Tortoni, one of the most popular tango cafes in the city and both times I went the performers asked the audience where they were from. The audiences ranged from Europe to the Americas and were more varied than I had thought. Besides the tango cafes, tango classes are offered to tourists where the teachers speak English. Everywhere I went in Argentina there was something correlating to the tango. At Iguaz Falls, o n the Brazilian, Argentine, and Paraguayan borders, there was a restaurant with tango shows on the weekends. There were always brochures for some type of class or show in the hostels at which I stayed. It really didn't matter what other attractions or even ts were available in the area I was in, there was always some promotion of the tango. A third reason that tango was curious to me was because I was also interested in gender studies and I found that the tango had some layers that concerned gender issues. Therefore, I became more interested in the dance the more I read about it, whether it was about gender or about another part of the dance. For me, what was interesting was the aspect of machismo that so many tango scholars thought existed. I agree that in the dance, the choreography is like a power struggle, but dancing it first hand in Buenos Aires, I did not feel hindered by masculine superiority. In addition to gender studies, there are many ways to discuss it. There is a political side pertaining to the near disappearance of the culture in the 70s, or the reasons why the Pern's were so involved with dancing it. Peron's influence over the tango pertains to economic stimulus as well and the people associated with the labor initiative, which will be see n in chapter 3. There is mass media, such as movies, television, music, and literature. Several of these devices are demonstrated to contain important tango
3 elements. Of course there is the history, tourism and the economy, and globalization. It is interes ting that even though every topic is different, they all pertain to the focus of this thesis, unique elements that make the tango appealing. I did not know what to expect when I first arrived in Buenos Aires regarding the tango. I did not know whether t he people went out to milongas every night or had no interest in dancing whatsoever. What I found was a mix of the two extremes. It was popular to an extent with the porteo s, but overall it seemed to be touristier and had more of an exotic appeal to forei gners than something that held a lot of national pride for the locals. When considering the preferences of the Argentine citizens, the tango music seemed to be more popular than the dancing itself. In popular music there are traces of tango sounds, accordi ons/ bandoneons for instance or the same type of beat. Also, there is the radio station that plays nothing but the genre. My host mother had a tango class once a week, but then she had a tai chi, yoga, salsa, and juggling class as well. Therefore, I decide d she was just keeping herself occupied and not dancing because she had a passion for it. On the other hand, I would pass a park which had tango class and social dancing a couple of nights a week and I could see most of those who attended were older and I could see that they really enjoyed the dance. This dance class/ milonga occurred in a gazebo in the Plaza Barrancas de Belgrano on the corner of Calles La Pampa and 11 de Septiembre de 1888 It was a fairly large gazebo, being filled to its capacity eac h time I had passed by with couples that were older in age. I had stopped every time I had seen this event and watched for a few minutes. There was music that could be heard throughout the plaza and I think that is what caught my attention first. I am not sure if I would have stopped if I did not hear the
4 music playing, I might have simply looked over to the gazebo and kept walking. The music made me realize that something was happening that was unusual as far as the space I was in. There was not usually mu sic being played in the parks I had passed or be in before. So I stopped and watched the milonga unfold. The dancers appeared to be elderly, and from what I remember there was a dance class/ milonga taking place. At one moment the dancing stopped and som eone shouted out something in Spanish, maybe directions, but then the music started again and the dancing continued. The dancers were dressed nicely, and I remember a man wearing nice tan dress pants. I cannot be certain, but it would not be uncommon if al l of the participants were wearing tango shoes. All of the time I was far away from the gazebo, not dressed for the occasion because I rarely would dress up to go out, and as far as I know, the only audience member. It was my experience of stopping to watc h the milonga that the event became a performance. If anyone else had stopped to watch, the performance would have become clearer along with the audience. If I had not been present, the milonga would have probably continued to be a performance because oth er people were bound to have stopped to watch the dance or enjoy the sounds of the well known tango music, although performing was not the intentions of the dancers. What Does Dance Give Me? / Why is performance important? For me, dance brings an emotio nal outlet of stress and health benefits. I first started dancing when I was very young, as I was involved with gymnastics. I have taken ballet, modern, salsa, tango, among others, exploring the possibilities of movement and expression. Dance is an activi ty that is a good cardio exercise and change from rigorous
5 schoolwork. Dance also gives me an opportunity to be creative because there are no set standards to what is expected or a definition of what is an appropriate dance; there is no right or wrong answ er. I believe the freedom is what I like most about it, to be able to express myself in another way besides writing or talking in a classroom. Academia is what I am surrounded in everyday, doing homework, going to class, and taking exams. However, academia is a fantastic way to express oneself as well, for example through a thesis. The creativity and understanding of what I am capable of physical is a great way to complement what I know I can do mentally. The aspect of the tango I choose to explore has to deal with performance studies. I chose this topic because in my childhood I was dedicated to gymnastics, competing in front of an audience, and essentially performing. Through this experience I gained knowledge of dancing and growing up in this environmen t is what keeps me interested in the performing arts still today. There are so many different types of performances, some artistic and others everyday activities; however, I have become very curious about the tango, seeing its potential to be analyzed in s o many different ways. The combination with my history as a performer along with my interest in tango has worked together to examine the intricacies of how dance performances are created and why the tango is so appealing. This thesis focuses on the tango as a dance performance and the unique elements that make the dance appealing to watch. The questions to be answered are, what makes the tango dance appealing to watch and how does the audience attraction turn the dance into a performance. To know what mad e the tango appealing, an exploration of its history was necessary, uncovering the evolutions and influences of tango dance, music, and
6 clothing that are unique to the genre. The performance studies concepts are significant because they provide different c ontexts, different dance categories, for the tango to be analyzed, arguing that the elements are relevant in different types of performances. In addition, the audience that is attracted to these dances through the elements can be seen as necessary or unnec essary for the creation of the performance, based on intentions of either the performers or the audience. To demonstrate the existence of the elements in different settings I chose two texts that come from different time periods, have different authors, ar e different literary genres, and are for different reading audiences. The first text is written by Julio Cortzar, the famous Argentine author, and it represents a social dance performance. The second text is by Alma Guillermoprieto, a Latin American journ alist, which portrays a theatrical performance. The two texts that are analyzed are different from each other, yet the tango elements are still present. Cortzar's tango scene takes place in Buenos Aires and it is from the third person perspective of a l ocal man, which was intended to be read by other Buenos Aires residents. This is different than the second text because Guillermoprieto is a foreign journalist, writing an informative, not fictional piece for American audiences. The time gap is about 50 ye ars; Cortzar's work being published in 1951 and Guillermoprieto's in 2003. These periods in time also consist of different social situations. The older text was written during the Golden Age of tango and the more recent was written just after and also abo ut the 2001 Argentine economic crisis. In each setting, the tango is popular for a reason. In 1951, the popularity was due to good economic times, the recent death of tango icon Carlos Gardel, and musical and choreographic innovations. In the early 2000s, the tango represented a form of national identity,
7 comfort, and provided a way to mourn or express grief in lieu of the crisis. No mater the differences, the analyses of the to texts finds that the tango elements are present in both cases. Introduction t o the Chapters The first chapter is an introduction to the history of the tango, beginning in the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries until the 1980s, considering tango mania, the Golden Age, and the era of Tango Argentino The three social groups that com posed the tango are discussed, the gaucho the Europeans, and the Africans, explaining what each group brought into the tango in the form of music, dance, or style. These elements are understood to be unique to the tango. For example, the bandonen the in tricate dance movements, and the sensual style of women's clothing were results of Buenos Aires social history. Compadritos and prostitutes are different social groups that intermixed with the already distinct immigrants or provincial peoples. The evolutio ns and creations of the tango elements are also discussed, chronologically or in terms of different influences. After reading the chapter, the historical significance of the early Buenos Aires society in relation to the tango elements will be made clear, a s well as their uniqueness to the genre. The second chapter provides information of the creation of a performance. I distinguish between four types of dances that also act as performances, three traditional, one untraditional. The three traditional dance types are ritual, theatrical, and cultural. What I mean when I say "traditional" is that in order to be turned into performances, the performers or dancers need to have the intention of performing, and in this way an audience is not necessary. The untradi tional dance type is social, and in order to be a
8 performance, the audience needs to watch, since social dancers are dancing for themselves, not others. The concepts of audience and performer are addressed as well as examples of how each dance type can be made into a performance. For the purposes of this thesis, only theatrical and social dance types are considered for tango performances represented in the selected texts. The next chapter is an analysis of the short story, "Las puertas del cielo" by Julio Cortzar. The story contains a well established tango scene, which is a proper example of tango as a social dance and how it is turned into a performance. Cortzar's familiarity with the tango and his interests with cultural and social aspects of Argentin a are discussed, making the lead character and narrator in the story believable and the plot anecdotal. The story takes place in the 1940s, therefore historical features of the Golden Age and also the Peronist government are noticed in the descriptions of the dancers and the setting. The audience and performers are analyzed in detail, explaining what their intentions are, what type of audience role they convey, and what elements of the tango are appealing to them so that they watch. It is an interesting sto ry, because two performances are created, a traditional milonga and an unexpected social dance, "a performance within a performance." What differs is not the type of performance, but who makes up the audience and performers and their intentions. Chapter four is an analysis of "And Still They Tango," an article by Alma Guillermoprieto published in National Geographic The background of the article has to do with the economic crisis of 2001. The crisis helps legitimize the location for the tango scene, as does the tango history the Abasto has witnessed, dating back to the time of the compadritos. The setting is regarded as a theatrical dance performance, even though the
9 type of dance that is going on without the audience is considered a social dance. The se tting and the description of the scene make the otherwise social dance turn into a theatrical performance. Not only in the dance class, but also in milongas the author attends are the tango elements present. The performers include the dance teachers as wel l as the students, with the audience being composed of random shoppers, unaware of the performance until they see the dancing or hear the music. Throughout this thesis, performance studies concepts will be utilized, although some definitions have been co nceived of my own criteria in order to express my purposes. The tango as a dance utilized elements that are different than any other modern dance including music, movements, fashion, and even settings. These elements are what makes the tango so appealing t o watch and why the tango can be turned so easily into a performance. For dancers with the intention of performing, all that is necessary is the visual and auditory elements that already come with the dance. For dancers in a performance made by the audienc e, the reason they are being watched is because of the tango elements, some or all of the components are appealing to the audience members. This will be seen in the analysis chapters 3 and 4, taking into account the time difference, one setting is from the 1940s and another from the early 2000s, as well as the difference in social status, a lower class tango versus a more glamorous tango. Even though the two scenes analyzed come from different times and contrast socially, the tango elements are present in b oth cases and are still just as alluring. The tango is one of the most versatile dances I know, being able to be danced and become a performance even in the most unusual places, it is appealing to any audience, and its intriguing history, music, dancing, a nd fashion are unique of modern dances.
10 Chapter 1 Why is Tango so Appealing? : The Tango Elements and Their Historical Influences and Evolutions It is generally agreed upon that the tango's roots originated in Buenos Aires and the Ro de la Plata region at the end of the 19 th century. The eclectic composition of the city composed of African, European, and gaucho cultures all contributed elements alluring to the tango. There are many interpretations of the origins of the tango and the creation of the word However, most scholars concur that the tango etymology has African influences. The word "tango" has several different theories surrounding its meaning, but the slave trade is probably where it came from, either with the Portuguese word for touch, "tanger e" being imposed into the African vocabulary, or from some derivative in African languages, since there are two African cities, in Mali and Angola, that have the name Tango. It is highly possible that "tango" came from Africa since it means an enclosed spa ce or a circle in the languages of Africans that provided the majority of slaves. Wherever it came from, the facts are that the meaning changed to define a place where slaves came to dance, and eventually evolved, by the 1860s at least, into a term used to describe black dances in Argentina and in Spain (Collier 95 6). According to Ricardo Rodriguez Molas, an Argentine folklore historian, he suggests that slave dealers, mainly Europeans, called slave markets and places in which slaves were kept as "tangos ." There are also theories that imply the tango was similar to the sound a drum made in African religious ceremonies in Argentina (tan g), and there is even an African dialect that uses "tang" as a word to mean to touch, similar to the Portuguese, perhaps because of the language transfer mentioned above (Jakubs 134).
11 Even though the etymology may be unknown, the result of the African influence in the music and dance is more concrete. It is tango's syncopation that imitates the rhythm of African music of the slave candombes (an African derived rhythm and dance) that were constructed in Buenos Aires in the late 19 th century, rural milongas of gauchos and European accents such as the waltz, polka, and mazurka that complete the tango in terms of dance and mu sic (Pellarolo 414). The barrio of Mondongo in the Eastern part of Buenos Aires is still known for the drum festivals and maintains pride in its African heritage. In the 19 th century, the slave community had formed mutual societies 1 for the purpose of fund raising to free other slaves. In these societies, they would celebrate holidays in the form of candombes usually ending up with the local authorities being called to stop the festivities because of the sound of drums and the performance of "sensual dances that went on for hours and were almost always immodest" (Bergero 75). From these "crude" dances, the Africanization of the milonga and partner dances like the mazurka and waltz was achieved in these societies, surrounded by Europeans and gaucho s, along wi th the creation of choreographic elements. The call and response interaction between the dancers is a type of African dance trait, especially seen in candombe (Bergero 75; Guillen 31). During the influx of immigrants, from 1880 to 1930, gauchos had migr ated into Buenos Aires. They were rugged cowboy like men, carried knives, and had prideful tendencies. Social mobility and employment were the reasons the gauchos moved into the city, leaving behind their freedom and rural culture. The gaucho tradition 1 Mutual aid societies are organizations formed to provide aid or insurance from difficulties, in this case the societies were used as fundraising tools by already freed slaves to free current slaves.
12 is based on knife and dagger skills as well as cattle herding, which led to the men carrying weapons as resources for self defense and also helped them gain employment in slaughterhouses. 2 There were two types of people that received the gaucho influence, the compadre and the compadrito who according to Simon Collier, an expert on Latin America, and Sirena Pellarolo, an Argentine born activist scholar, are described as displaced gauchos The compadre as indicated by Julie Taylor, a tango scholar, was still essentially a man of the country, who brought with him myth and memory, song and poem in which the gaucho figures as a great lover and fighter"("Tango" 275) and compadritos who imitated compadres and had similar personalities when it came to pride, indepen dence, and over emphasized masculinity, such as knife fighting (Collier 94; Pellarolo 413; "Tango" 275). The essential difference between a compadre and a compadrito according to Taylor is that the compadrito 3 had less of a legacy. Even though women were attracted to both types of men, they played different roles in urban society; compadritos were pimps, robbers, bullies, lazy and dishonest, and sometimes could murder, while the compadre retained more rural customs, was a "valiant fighter," had morals, an d could pose as a type of "urban Don Juan." Compadritos were also known to work in the local political organization of the comits. After a time, the compadre had disappeared, transformed into the urban culture and embodied the compadrito The compadritos could be easily identified from the clothing they wore and according to Collier this style was 2 At slaughterhouses because of the ir background as nomadic cowboys, they would bring cattle from the Pampa (Argentine plains) to the city (Savigliano 275). 3 The ito ending of compadrito makes it a diminutive of compadre
13 their standard attire: "slouch hat, loosely knotted silk neckerchief, knife discreetly tucked into belt, high heeled boots" (95). Taylor explains the evolution of the compadrito image very well. It is what secured his fame and promoted the fascination people seemed to have. The compadrito was influenced from the European and gaucho customs since they both were strong cultures in the city, but then he seemed to c reate his own ostentatious style, removing himself from both the country and old world associations. The unmistakable clothing of a "dandy," the high heeled boots and neckerchief being a few examples, was at first a caricature of the wealthy because of the resentment the compadritos felt towards them, most likely because of the uncouth stereotypes compadritos had been given by the upper classes, but this was transformed into the perfect image of an urban man: rings and perfumes, his tight black suit and lo ng hair, his high heeled shoes and carefully studied postures" ("Tango" 276). As will be discussed, the compadrito's style had a great influence on the tango and his movement inspired tango choreography. Compadritos tended to live in the arrabal or suburba n outskirts of the city, in which a majority of the marginal, impoverished, and criminal folk lived as well, which gave the compadrito a negative stereotype as a dangerous, different, and illegal type of person (Collier 94 7; Tango" 275). The image of t he compadritos made its way into literature and drama, available to those living in or away from the arrabal es, which made the stereotype of the man even more intense. Two examples of famous dramatic compadritos are Juan Moreia and El Cvico, although ther e are many others. Juan Moreia was characterized as an outlaw and as a gaucho His story was performed in the circo criollo ," or the rural entertainment of
14 the gauchos which included acrobatics for some scenes (Pellarolo 415). The second example is El C vico, a man presented in a tango cancin and appears to be a pimp, lazy, a drunk, a fighter, and very macho, but unmanly because his partner La Moreira watches out for him and is overly aggressive like a man. Full of illegality, melancholy, lust, loss, and tragedy are the lives of these legendary compadritos (Savigliano 52). Because of the developing situation of the city and country, men were needed more than women for hard labor and the creation of an urban environment. "Men, it has to be remembered, ou tnumbered women in the expanding metropolis by more than 100,000 in 1914" (Collier 96). Since there were so many men, prostitution became a trend and an illegal one. Compadritos frequented brothels and this led tango to be danced among prostitutes and isol ated from the upper classes. The tango originated in the conventillos (tenement houses for immigrants) in the suburbs where lower class men were first known to practice the dance on the back patios, where the mixing of African, European, and gaucho culture s had its impact on the tango dance technique and music. The more practice men had, the more of a chance they would get to meet with a woman. According to Christine Denniston, a leading tango expert, the connection between brothels and tango probably devel oped from upper class men first discovering it and practicing with each other while waiting for a prostitute (Collier 95 7; "Clichs" par.10 12). Cabarets and dance halls had been established between 1910 and 1920 and the women there were referred to as milonguitas because of the association with the dance music milonga to which they were performing. Milonga is a dance and music genre, a gaucho folk song with tango rhythm, but with a faster tempo (2x4) to dance to as well as
15 the lack of a bandonen and e mphasis on guitar, which made the sound more uplifting. In addition to the employees of the dance halls being known as the musical reference, the dance halls themselves became known as milongas for the same reason (Pellarolo 417, 421 ; Savigliano 153; "Tang o" 275; Footer 20 ). In the early 1900s the tango went abroad, probably because of the wealthy sons of the elite studying in Europe who brought their culture with them. They would have learnt the dance in brothels and they probably had an idea that in Europ e the dancing would allure other women (" Tango" 282 83). Dennison explains that Argentine sailors were seen dancing tango with the French women at the ports, specifically Marseille, suggested from evidence of tango being danced on stage in Monmarte in 1909 ("Couple" par. 3). By 1912, the tango had popularized in Europe and established tango teas, literature, and fashion. This period in tango history is known as tango mania, lasting from 1912 to the 1930s. There was even a tango ball in 1913 at the Selfrid ges department store in London, four years after it's grand opening in 1909, something that could have promoted the novel tango fashion because of the novelty of the store ("History" par. 3). While dancing tango, the corset and the hoop skirt used in the W altz were obsolete and inefficient, therefore the style had to change to fit the trend. As stated by Denniston, tango shoes, stockings, hats, dresses, and any other accessory women could wear or use was created under the influence of the tango, which creat ed an appropriate style ("Couple" par. 6; Savigliano 125 7). The creation of the tango fashion has its background surrounding the competition between France and England in accordance with politics, economics, and culture, so each country created its own co mpetitor for tango. The British competed with literature of dance guides to create their sense of tango. In Paris, cabarets,
1 6 namely the Moulin Rouge and Olympia were homes to stage tango performers at the height of its popularity. Out of London came Vernon and Irene Castle, the two dance instructors that brought the tango to the United States (Savigliano 128 130). From Paris, the popularity grew into a worldwide phenomenon, Carlos Gardel developed into a celebrity in 1914, and tango grew to be romanticize d to what we know today. At first, the tango, like the waltz and the polka, which had preceded it, was shunned from the circles of the upper classes, but eventually became fashionable (Pellarolo 429). According to Deborah Jakubs, a Latin American scholar, the engagement of the upper classes was caused by the culture of the taboo and off limits culture being attractive to them. This occurrence can be seen over and over again through history. The Harlem jazz movement is an example that started in the lower, m arginal classes and popularized in the upper social strata around the same time as the tango, in the 1920s and 1930s (137). Because of the fascination and popularity the European elites gave the tango, it was also accepted into the social centers of Argent ina, new cabarets and cafes for instance. It had changed from being affiliated with the compadritos to become a symbol of Argentine national identity, allowing all types of classes to enjoy and relate to the genre (Jakubs 138; Collier 99). The tango trans formation did not lose the essence of the compadrito While in Europe, Argentine singers, musicians, and dancers had traveled abroad to work and teach the tango, but in France could only perform wearing their "national costumes" according to a French law. This included gaucho or compadrito dress and the performers complied because it was important for their careers to be able to perform for a "first world" audience, boosting their resume and fame (Pellarolo 429). From 1918 to the 1930s, the
17 compadrito and t he theme of his lost lover was a prominent character in tango cancin or tango song. However, the sentiments of the compadrito changed after the transformation of tango from the lower to the upper classes. The subjects of lyrics changed from violence and r esentment to nostalgia and melodrama. For example, knife fighting was replaced with lonely nights at a bar. These tango lyrics were first made popular through Argentine popular theater. This allowed the Argentine audiences to be exposed to the character of the compadrito as well since the theater made the compadritos dress like stereotypical dandies or placed them in their arrabales such as in "Los dientes de perro" or "Mi noche triste". In addition to the different themes of lyrics, to please the upper cl asses, the choreography also became more polished and the tempo of the music became slower, 2x4 changed into 4x8 (Savigliano 62, 68). One of the most established tango artists and icons of tango history has been Carlos Gardel. Even though Gardel was born in France, he embodied the identity of Argentina because of his immigrant background. Gardel lived in the arrabal for most of his life, trying and failing to succeed in various careers, and was hired by the political comits to start his singing career. It was from that point forward he gained fame and fortune (" Tango" 285). In the 1920s, Carlos Gardel, Enrique Santos Discpolo, and others popularized the music in the form of tango cancin Even though it was a very distinguished genre in terms of the audie nce's social status, musicians were from middle and lower classes and tango lyrics were clearly about arrabales and the life of the compadrito as mentioned previously (Collier 99). As his fame grew, Gardel traveled to Europe and the United States, meetin g royalty and celebrities. He had truly disguised his lower class heritage, creating a timeless
18 image, dressing in a three piece suit with a striped shirt and a matching tie or a tuxedo with a bow tie, combing his hair perfectly, never forgetting his trade mark fedora hat, tilted or slouched in just a way. There were never any traces of the arrabal among the success and grandeur he had achieved. Gardel's untimely death in a plane crash over Colombia in 1935 immortalized him. His face can be seen painted on walls, subway stations, and buses all over Buenos Aires, evidence that he is one of the true tango icons (" Tango" 285 6). Being from the arrabal having a position in the political comits and dressing like the ultimate urban Argentine man makes Gardel re miniscent of the typical compadrito and thus a perfect person to perform tango. The Golden Age of tango had begun as soon as Gardel died. The Golden Age was the period from 1935 1952 that saw the innovation of new challenging music for tango dance, better singers and songwriters emerged and their voices were considered instruments, and more complex choreographic patterns were being tested. Tango was the dominant element of Buenos Aires culture (Denniston 61). Dance music was the most competitive and profes sional it had ever been, which led to a much more creative and complex criteria of music compositions. This era was the finishing point of tango dance choreography. It was in the Golden Age that the standards became regulated, the technique less improvised and more fundamental, so much that the style most widely used in tango is called Golden Age tango. That is not to say that there were not variations of dancing styles. Depending on where a dancer lived influenced the form he used. If a dancer lived in a r ich neighborhood he would usually dance elegantly, while those living around arrabales would choose to dance more obnoxiously and with more decoration (Denniston 73 4).
19 There are three elements: fashion, music, and choreography that can be traced back to more than one of the three cultures prominent in Buenos Aires, providing evidence of the intense exchange of customs, cultures, and traditions, essentially created from a melting pot. The elements described make a tango setting into an alluring performance enticing people to watch and become audience members, allowing tango to be a versatile dance genre by being able to be various types of dances and to obtain different audiences. The tango has unique qualities, which will be discussed during the overview of the fashion, music, and dancing also contributing to the fascination of the audience. These elements are appealing in a certain way, through sound or sight, creating an atmosphere where they combine to form an unpredictable and attractive performance to watch. Tango fashion evolved from the time of the compadrito through the Golden Age, and ending with Tango Argentino 4 There was never a tango "costume," but what those that danced tango wore was the same as their working clothes. Lower class men woul d wear the black jacket and white trim, striped grey trousers, white scarf, and black hat, having nothing better to impress the prostitutes with whom they were dancing (Denniston 189). The compadrito also a member of the working class and seen among broth els, had transformed his appearance into something less ragged, as a dandy to identify himself as separated from the suburbs, as a motive to lift his status. The nicer suits and the meticulous grooming, as well as the slouch hat are reflected in the way th e tango icon Carlos Gardel dressed as soon as he became famous. Even though Gardel's signature hat was fedora, it still mimicked the tilted angle of the slouched. He was dressing to hide the 4 Tango Argentino was created in 1983 by Claudio Segovia and Hector Orezzoli. It began in Paris, but then traveled to New York. It featured some of the most prominent tango signers, dancers, and musicians, and reinvigorated the tango internationally (Guillen 42).
20 fact he was from the arrabal to promote his success, much like t he reasons of the compadritos after they had established their style The tango had become so popular in Europe, especially in France, that after World War I restrictions applied to foreign performers and musicians in order for them to work. The French e nforced a law that stated the tango would only be danced in Argentina's "national costume." Because there is no tango or national costume, the gaucho and compadrito were chosen to demonstrate the Argentine ideal of nationality. Europeans were more likely t o see the gaucho dance a tango, since to Argentines, gauchos were folkloric and held nationalistic value, but compadritos were still affiliated with the lower classes. In Argentina, the compadrito was more widely seen because of the tango lyrics acted out in the popular theater. The clich of the gaucho became so integrated in the global tango culture that in Rudolph Valentino's 1921 American film, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse he was dressed as a gaucho while he danced a tango. It can be seen that h e wore a tilted wide brimmed hat, a loose white shirt and black pants, a scarf and a wide and elaborate belt. Screen shots and promotional movie posters capture Valentino looking stern and proud, appearing stereotypically like a gaucho (Denniston 190). In the middle of Tango mania (1920 30's), France was reported to have imported pomade from Argentina, the substance that gives hair its shinny appearance, in copious amounts. This suggests that the tango style of Carols Gardel had affected those dancing in E urope, influencing the trendy tango fashion to have pomade in one's hair. Today, in Argentina, it is believed that using pomade and its variants are very Argentine, signifying the importance of the tango style as a medium for national virtues (Taylor 66). Men in the
21 of the texts of Cortzar and Guillermoprieto are described as having pomade and brilliantine (another hair tonic) in their hair, suggesting it is a common stylistic endeavor in both periods of time. Men along side of women carry on this legacy a fter tango mania and the Golden Age have long passed, dressed in suits with sideburns and patent leather hair due to various hair tonics, but the women are seen as the center of attention when it comes to tango fashion (Carter 126). Perhaps the attention on the woman is because the tango, from its beginning in the brothels the dance exploited the sexuality of the woman, making her become everything the man desired and ultimately his prize. The women in tango were modeled after the prostitutes, and just as the men were seen dancing in what they had worn every day, prostitutes danced in their working clothes as well. This sexuality and sensuality was highlighted in the color chosen by the leaders of fashion in France, which was established to be red, orange, or a warm hue to demonstrate the sensuality and flare of the dance (Savigliano 125). While tango gained popularity, in the tango mania era the fashion became more fitting towards the dance, in the sense of attitude and comfort. The dresses were designed fo r easy maneuverability while gliding with the feet close together and also at times when the woman would wrap her leg around her partner as well as performing other intricate legwork. This meant that there had to be a slit up the dress so the legs could mo ve, also known as the tulip skirt, and an additional innovation was the ankle length skirts with bloomers underneath. This slit was imitated from the style of prostitute dresses as well, having first been worn as a visually appealing element for the men. W omen's hats changed, losing the wide brim and placing feathers vertically instead of horizontally to let women dance without interruption since the tango dancers were
22 instructed to look at each other or even have their faces touch while dancing (Savigliano 125). In the 1910s and 20s the fashion industry still had precautions when it came to sensuality. Usually, a tango dress was accompanied with something called a harem trouser skirt or a lampshade skirt, which gave the dancer an extra air of gracefulness, but acted to provide a limit as to how much bodily contact partners gave each other. Harem trousers are loosely fitting pants covered by a skirt that would wrap around, which made it easily manageable. Other changes in fashion included the abandonment of the corset, or at least a modified version. It seemed that a corset was too binding when dancing and some women were seen without wearing one, or without "constraint" (Savigliano 125). An invention called the "tango corset" was introduced, having to be put on over the head and made of elastic so that the women as more comfortable and her body more controlled. When at a tango tea or midnight champagne tango, women would wear an oriental type of make up consisting of dark red lipstick and dark eyeliner. More events of tango popularity showing its importance in European fashion included novelties such as women smoking cigarettes with long cigar holders and a form of walking with the feet close together was dubbed " la tango" (Savigliano 125 7; "Couple" par. 6) Another important development in tango fashion during the tango mania era was the slipper. Tango shoes need a smooth sole made of leather to let the dancer be able to turn easier. Another reason leather is the best material is that when a dancer is perf orming they are using the balls of their feet to support themselves so the extra grip proves useful in case there is a slippery floor, whereas shoes poorly equipped would cause the dancer to fall. The straps or laces on a woman's shoe should be wide and ti ght enough at the ankle
23 or at the high of the arch to support the ankle for backwards movements of the feet. Men's shoes are preferred to have thin soles for a lighter and more flexible feeling. A woman's heel should always be higher than her partners beca use of the extra support (Denniston 192 3). 5 In the Golden Age of tango, men carried on the tradition of dancing in what they wore everyday, which included more well dressed and fashionable clothes since the upper classes were more involved with the genr e. A Golden Age dancer looking back from the 1990s concluded that, "if a man didn't go to a milonga with his shoes shined to perfection and his best clothes, it was, and he said this with great force, An insult to the woman'" (Denniston 190 1). The Broadw ay show, Tango Argentino created another tango fashion outside of Buenos Aires in the form of wearing black, since the costumes in the show were only black, grey, or silver; however, the reality is that in Argentina tango dancers dress in colorful clothes suggesting a type of party, especially when they are in a milonga (Denniston 189 93). The second element that completes the tango is the unmistakable music. European influence over the tango came in the form of the bandonen an iconic instrument to the genre. Argentines were able to identify with the mournful sound of the bandonen because of its ability to express their feelings of nostalgia, love, fear, melancholy, and loneliness. It had come from Germany and was invented along with the harmonica and a ccordion, however it was far more complicated to play. When the instrument was conceived around 1840, the architects Carl Friedrich Zimmerman and Heinrich Band had the incentive to have it replace church organs so it could be small enough to be portable 5 Along with tango shoes, in recent years people apply hand sewn elastic loops, elastiquitos around the instep of street shoes (Taylor 26 7).
24 in order for it to accompany religious processions. Unfortunately for the Germans, it failed to popularize, mostly due to its unorthodox system of notes. Because of the failures at home, in good years [the Germans] exported as many as twenty five thousand bandonons to the Ro de la Plata region" (Footer 20). Before the bandonen the tango was played mostly with a guitar and was more upbeat, being influenced from gaucho music. Nowadays bandoneons are the main instruments used in tango. It is interesting to note that although the bandonen was invented for religious purposes, it found its way to conventillos and brothels to be played for a seductive dance. Even today, the instrument cannot to be played in an Argentine Catholic church. Since the majority of A rgentines were immigrants, they could relate to the German instrument as a fellow displaced European settler. The bandonen is the only instrument to not have the notes in order from A to F. Instead, the buttons, which act as notes, are positioned in incom prehensible arrangements in order to facilitate chord making. In addition to the 171 buttons, there are four keyboards on either side. In reality, the bandonen can produce 142 possible notes, and on top of everything, the performer cannot see what he is d oing so it must be learned from muscle memory (Footer 19 20). The way in which a bandonen is handled gives the audience an idea of the emotion, passion, and sacrifice it takes to play. An image depicted in Kevin Footer's article describes Carla Algeri, a rare female bandonen player, dressed in a suit that has her pants "worn ragged across the thighsit comes from the constant rasping of the bandonen back and forth across the lap" (21). A bandonen is played while sitting and the instrument is placed on the lap. It is constantly being opened and closed to allow wind to move through to make different sounds. The bandonen is described by Denniston as
25 an instrument of torture, for both the performers and the audience (65). When listening to the music, the torture feeling can be heard in the nostalgic, desperate, and mournful sound that emanates from the instrument. According to Footer, when a man is seen and heard playing the bandonen in Buenos Aires it "sends a thrill through even the gruffest porteo Th e instrument is still casting its spell" (20). The torture can be visually detected in the facial expressions of the musicians and also at the sight of worn pants like Algeri's, which signal the constant practice, fervor, and dedication. In the Cortzar' s text the dancers are described as having grave expressions, indicating painful emotions or a type of torture, perhaps because they are listening to mournful music or concentrating on their dancing. The understanding that the musician has the ability to b e able to remember where all of the notes are kept is one more instance that shows years of learning and mastery. Watching a bandonen performance can make an audience member feel exhausted with the pushing and pulling by the musician, his entire upper bod y moving, intensely at times of rigorous playing, and perhaps the feet are stomping to the rhythm. Emotions of sadness, sorrow, and lament may resonate from an Argentine or foreign audience because of the visual and auditory components. However, at the end of a musical piece, the feeling of fulfillment, relief, and success could be considered since the performer has played vigorously and intensely through the entire song and the audience has watched and listened in the same ways. The visual appearance of a bandonen being played corresponds to the dancing. If a tango orchestra is present, there are two things happening at once, the dancing on one side of the stage, unpredictable in which direction the dancers will go next, and the bandonen player, standin g out from the rest of the band. This is because the musician's
26 constant motions with his upper body tend to be more active then a violinist or a pianist. The bandonen may act as an opposition to the dancing. In tango, the legs are the only body parts tha t move, but the bandonen uses the upper body and arms. This visual effect is interesting because it acts like a contrast for the audience, but also acts like a complement. The dancers may not use their upper bodies, but it is made up for in the bandonen and vice versa. In reality, the bandonenist could use his entire body, since the instrument is portable, although, the body's usage in tango is to sit. European influence provided the invention of the bandonen but also came from the Italian immigran ts who were mostly from Naples. Neapolitans contributed a musical style to tango through their violin skills in a slower and smoother style (Denniston 70). The effect of these instruments in contrast to the bandonen can be seen and heard in the speed of h ow they are played, as well as the lack of movement violinists provide in a performance. After describing the European factors of the bandonen and slower rhythm, African and gaucho factors can be found in tango music. The Africanization of the milonga is what resulted in the tango. In both candombe and milonga there is a broken rhythm that can be heard and it had been transferred to tango. There is not a lot of repetition, but unpredictability, spontaneity, and there are detailed factors such as silences syncopation, and acephalous phrases that make tango different from regular milonga music The Africanization makes the milonga even more unpredictable, there are more polyrhythmic sounds, and more syncopation integrated into the music (Bergero 75; Savigli ano 161). As mentioned above, for an audience, the visual factors of body parts used in dancing and in playing the music differ to complement each other. The auditory factor of unpredictability occurs in both performances and may
27 supplement each other. In this case, two senses (vision and hearing) are being used for the same purpose to be aware of the randomness happening as the music and dancing take place. These elements make a performance even more unpredictable because the music and dancing do not corre spond to each other as will be discussed below. One last element that creates a tango setting is the dancing itself. The choreography of tango has been scrutinized and praised throughout the years. The choreography is based on different influences, Europ ean, compadrito and African and does not focus on chronology since these influences combined during the same period and have remained timeless. The dance is as identifiable as the music, and takes dancing to another level. Tango choreography is different from other modern partner dances because of the body parts used, the dancing in relation to the music, and its unpredictability, which makes it even more recognizable and intriguing. From Europeans, the Viennese Waltz is attributed to lending the embrace b etween partners. At the end of the 18 th century, the waltz was the first partner dance to establish the man's left hand on the waist and the woman's right on his shoulder, while the other hands clasped together. The waltz was followed by the polka, and tan go was only the third modern dance to include this specific hold (Denniston 83). The tango's main focus is on the legs and the bottom half of the body. In the Argentine tango, the upper bodies promote a space, while the legs intertwine, move, and configu re on the floor. Other modern partner dances, such as salsa, swing, and forms of contra dance include the torso and upper body moving. The choreographic style of the male partner can be traced to the movements of the compadrito. The straight, solid, statio nary upper body is compared to the way in which the compadritos held themselves,
28 in a proud and intimidating way. In addition, the manner in which the tango steps are performed, smoothly and close together have been related to the ways the men used to knif e fight, and even small techniques, such as the way the man's spine tilts forward is supposed to imitate the high heeled shoes the men wore ( Tango" 276, 281). The compadrito may have been responsible for the expressionless face and the hardened gaze the d ancers have while performing. Perhaps this demonstrates their determination to compete for a woman and win her over or an expression to show other men how serious they were about the dance's first purpose (Jakubs 138). According to Guillen, if anyone were familiar with the history of the tango, they would be allured to the dance because of its sense of illegality. Not only is there a history of danger and wrongfulness, but the choreography also contains a power struggle between two people, those of which w ere first seen in brothels between the compadrito and the prostitute, and it captures the man's masculinity and pride. Savigliano implies that the techniques used are specifically designed with the intention of grabbing a man's attention through the moveme nt of the hips and legs (Guillen 23; Bergero 218; Savigliano 60). This resistance makes the dance appealing because it is a call and response, unpredictable, and audiences may even take a side while watching the type of competition. The sexual appearance o f the dance steps including the close proximity of the dancers to one another, legs moving up and down, in between, and around the other partner, and the rotations of the pelvis, have something to do with audience attraction in the sense of observing somet hing taboo and off limits (Guillen 25, 33). In 1917, American Waldo Frank wrote, "Within the chaste contours of the tango figures, rages the desire of sex. The bodies do not touch, yet they are joined" (Collier
29 173). The bodies are so close together, yet far apart, but the intention is present along with the imagination. The tango plays with the audience in that the dancers are in a hold, going whichever direction they may choose to go, but the upper bodies are not touching and the legs touch for only a s econd at a time, then return to walking or turning. It feels like there is a magnetic power that pulls the dancers together, but as soon as they connect a force field pushes them away. The dancers tease the audience by never truly connecting, but by dancin g with such emotion and force that the audience can want and imagine the dancers joined. In the Guillermoprieto text, the dancers start from different areas, who then start walking towards each other, appearing as though they are being pulled together. The woman's fashion combined with the dance techniques gives the audience a sensual color to observe, as well as a slit and the exposition of the legs, all suggesting an intimate scenario. African influence can be seen as tango choreography in the form of c ortes and quebradas (stops and turns), and caminar cabyengue (swaying gait) demonstrated in the candombes of the mutual aid societies. After a time, the milonga of the gauchos and the musical instrumentation of Europe began to combine with rapid and unpred ictable African choreography (Bergero 75). African dance patterns are different from European genres such as the waltz and the polka. One reason is because of the direction in which it is danced. In modern dances, there is a unidirectional movement a coupl e tends to adhere to, but the tango is curvilinear, using the footwork to change direction at any given time and each partner may be competing to go a certain way from the dance step he or she chooses to do. This aspect of the dance was a reason tango was banned from some social
30 scenes. The unpredictable motion of a corte for instance, a sudden step backwards, went against the direction and flow around a crowded dance hall (Denniston 70). Space issues are important when dancing the tango because one coupl e is not going to know where the other couples are going to go next. In milongas the floor is usually crowded to the maximum capacity, so couples have only a small space to dance and it is inevitable dancers collide. In dance classes, in my experience, be ginners are oblivious to where they are heading and I have been bumped and pushed even though there was more than enough space available. An African aspect occurs in the tango's tempo in relation to the music, which also has different qualities than other dances. In other popular dances, according to Christine Nielson, a professor of international business and strategy, the dancing responds to the music; however, tango dancers vary and the movements do not necessarily correspond to the rhythm of the music (Nielson 20 21). Call and response, traced from candombe and African dance forms are basically when one partner reacts to a movement the other performs (Guillen 31). The call and response way in which tango is danced is through the marca of the leader. Th e marca is a pressure the man makes on the woman's back, which tells her what dance figure she should perform. The interesting part is that the woman may do a movement that is completely different than what the man is doing (Taylor 65 6). This establishes more unpredictability when the dancers are not coordinated and are doing separate dance steps. Corresponding movements can be seen if a man is doing a forward ocho 6 and the woman 6 An ocho is a movement performed either backwards or forwards when the feet trace a figure 8 on the ground and can be done by either the man or woman, although each partne r has a different use for the figure.
31 is performing a backwards ocho ; however, a man may keep doing a forward ocho but in place while the woman performs some boleos. 7 The movements depend on the leader, not the music, so the dance cannot be determined by the speed, silence, or rhythm of the music. In conclusion, the tango is composed of three different elements, th e fashion, music, and dancing, that make the tango appealing to audiences. These elements were dependent of the social history of Argentina, which included the cultural groups of Europeans, gauchos, compadritos (the mix of Europeans and gauchos ) and Africa ns. The fashion was determined chronologically, evolving from the late 19 th century from compadritos and prostitutes until the late 20 th century with Tango Argentino. Europeans, creating the bandonen the key instrument in tango music, heavily influenced the music but it also retains gaucho and African elements, which combined to give the tango its rhythm and style of syncopes and unpredictability. The dancing was also a composition of influences, combining the European hold, African unpredictability, an d compadrito movement. The visual appeal is seen in the fashion, through color and sensual style, as well as the random dancing, which maintains the audience's attention and the sexually implicit figures the dancers perform. The bandonen provides visual a nd auditory appeal of a nostalgic, depressing, but unique form of music, acting with and against the dance through the unpredictable sound and the complementing motions. Overall, tango is a genre that is full of unique elements of 7 The woman may be performing either a backwards or forwards ocho, but is stopped by her partner to reverse the direction she is going, and her lead leg picks up to give her more momentum, letting her leg make a hook i n the air as she is changing directions.
32 fashion, music, and dance which maintain an audience's attention through detailed factors of emotions, vision, and sound.
33 Chapter 2 The Performance Process: General and Tango Specific The concepts of the audience and performer are int egral for the explanation of the tango performances that will be analyzed. A dance, categorized as theatrical, social, cultural, or ritual, made into a performance depends on the intentions of the dancers and what they want to convey to the audience. Audie nces can create a performance as well, usually relating to those who dancing, but as will be seen, this is not always the case, since an audience can create a performance without depending on the intentions of the dancers. In a tango performance, the audie nce is composed of individuals that are attracted to the elements of the music, fashion, or dancing and this may also contribute to the type of audience watching the performance. These elements are present in each tango performance examined in this thesis, varying over different scenes and contexts. For those attracted to a certain element, the purpose may be different and perhaps the role of audience as evaluator, witness, or participant. A performance is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as bein g "A public presentation or exhibition, the action of representing another thing than the performer's true identity" ( Merriam Webster Online ) In tango, the performers are representing tango dancers, personas different than those of regular businessmen and women, students, or any other everyday identity they have apart from dancing tango. No two performances are the same because of the different audience members, decisions of the performers, historical circumstances, and/or location. Performances happen in everyday life, through our actions, demonstrated by rehearsals and training, which are better recognized in the establishment of a production in the performing arts, but even normal activities are practiced from everyday, such as talking, walking, and soci al interactions (Schechner
34 xvii, 29). I have categorized the different dance types into traditional or nontraditional groups. In a traditional performance (theatrical, ritual, or cultural dances), there is not a necessity for an audience. What are necessar y are the intentions of the performers, which are intending to be watched by someone else, the intention to entertain, or to receive a reaction from the audience through their expression. Traditional performances rely on the will of the performers to achie ve a performance. In a nontraditional situation (social dance), a performance is created through the intentions of the audience; the entertainment relies on the viewer watching an unwilling or unknowing performer. The audience can make the performance happ en by their wills to observe, evaluate, or participate. The audience can act as the performer by taking on the audience role as participant. An important point to make is that the music, fashion, and dancing in a tango performance 8 attract audiences beca use of their individual interests surrounding one or more elements and create a unique atmosphere and support the roles of the audience. If the audience at a theatrical tango performance is watching the show, the visual and auditory elements are going to c ombine to give the viewers something special to appreciate because the purpose of the performers is to entertain with those elements and the purpose of the audience is to observe those attention grabbing components. If audience members have backgrounds in tango, they may be more inclined to evaluate the styles of clothing or the quality of the dance and music. The tango is a very versatile dance, which can be found in different dance categories. In each dance category, there can be a different purpose of the dancers and of 8 For the purposes of this thesis, the criteria consists of only theatrical and social tango dance performances that will be discussed, although the dance types of theatrical, social, ritual, and cultural will be pr esented in this chapter for reasons of distinction.
35 the observers, but the tango elements remain the same. Below will be an overview of the intentions of the dancers and audience, how each dance is created into a performance, and the ability of a dance to adjust its purposes, which will then be related towards the tango dance. The main types of tango dances/performances will be discussed, outlining examples and their differences to distinguish the performance settings to be analyzed in the following chapters. There are different types of audiences that watch dances to make them into performances. First of all, the witness role is given to an audience that is present to simply watch the dance, and it is the event that gives them enjoyment and interests them (Beeman 379). The evaluator audi ence plays the role of critiquing or judging the dance performance because of a certain background or knowledge with the genre performed. If an audience member has more knowledge of a particular genre, then the capacity to be an evaluator is stronger than an individual that has no background. The audience as a participant is one that has the opportunity to get involved with the performance, whether it is from clapping or by dancing on stage. Marco De Marinis provides grounds for participants in the perform ances besides those of dance. He indicates that there are times where an audience is given the opportunity to become a character in a play (106). These participatory instances are when the audience can become more engaged with the performers and share a st ronger experience than audiences that do not participate, or rather when the performers do not have the intention of giving the audience a role in the performance. On some occasions, audience location may have an impact on the success of the performance. According to De Marinis, the emotional and intellectual experience of
36 audience members is dependent on the position they have in relation to the performance (104 5). Some members may have been able to hear things better than others or see choreography and the results of rehearsals in a more detailed scale. Along with the different location of individual members, there are certain criteria of these groups that they rely upon as well, such as considering common goals, composition, and behavior. It is importan t to remember that these criteria may not be the same for every individual, especially taking into account the different contexts and locations in which performances occur; however, they can provide insight to the roles of each group. A theatrical dance i s the most literal type to distinguish the dancers from the audience because of the traditional purposes each group maintains as well as the standard location of the event and the clear division of the audience, who remain in their seats, and performers, w ho utilize the stage. They usually occur in performance halls with trained professional dancers and contain choreography. W.O. Beeman, an anthropologist, cites Victor Turner and Richard Schechner, two leading ritual and performance scholars, who agree that the intention of theatrical dancers is to act in front of an audience or to entertain (Beeman 379). However, the presence of an audience is not necessary to have a performance because theatrical dancers already have the intention of performing, they have rehearsed their movements time and again, and the audience is simply present to observe. If no audience were available, the dancers would still have the purpose to perform, the want to perform, as opposed to a social dance, where an audience is necessary t o create the performance since the intentions of the dancers are not to act in front of an audience, but to entertain themselves instead.
37 A theatrical dance can draw in different types of audience based on the experience of the members or the intentions of the performers. The audience as witness is most noticed in theater since the purpose of the dancers is to entertain and the audience has the capacity to receive the entertainment (Beeman 379). Depending on the backgrounds the audience has with the genre they may be able to evaluate a performance, but their first role is as witness. An audience may be able to become participatory through the goals of the performers if the dancers have the audience interact with them through verbal cues or actual activity An example of a theatrical tango performance is the Tami Tango Trio performance that occurred in September of 2008 at the Sainer Auditorium at New College of Florida. The tango in this setting was transformed into a performance by the intentions of the performers to entertain an audience, to display themselves for an audience's enjoyment and curiosity. The performance was presented as a type of history lesson that demonstrated the development of tango music and dance over time. Through the lecture secti ons of the show, which came at intervals in between musical pieces and dancing, Eduardo, the leader of the group, told the audience of the gauchos slaves, and the European immigrants that comprised Argentina in the turn of the century and how the country' s dance originated from their cultural mixing. The costumes of the dancers and musicians showed off the style that came with the tango including the sleekness of the man's hair, the professional black suits of the musicians, and the classy and sultry dre sses of the woman. The female dancer's costumes were always flamboyant, in color or style, to grab the attention of the crowd as well as her partner. The male dancer was never smiling; he had a very serious attitude, his eyes
38 looked close for most of the d ance. The woman would be smiling, but it seemed like a sly smile, not one for entertainment purposes, but for her own pleasure. The dance for them was enjoyable because they had a passion for tango, but they also enjoyed sharing their passion with others, therefore they were theatrical dancers instead of just dancing socially. The dancers would always enter the stage from different directions, meeting in the middle. The different examples of the music genres that compose the tango such as the samba, haban era, and the milonga were effective because they emphasized the message of how Argentines embrace their heritage as immigrants, but also provided examples of different dance and music types that have combined to produce the tango. The musical instruments u sed in the performance were piano, guitar, and flute. The replacement of the bandonen with the flute does not usually compare in term of sound and feelings produced, but Eduardo danced his body to the rhythm, stood up instead of sat down, was passionate i n his performance, and when he chose to play a samba he had written, he was so enthusiastic that he yelled at the end of the song, causing the audience to clap. In the beginning of tango music there was no bandonen being played, and this might suggest tha t the Tami Trio was attempting to be an examples of a very early tango orchestra. The goal of the performers was to entertain the audience, and to give them knowledge about the origin of tango and how it had evolved over the years. This corresponded wit h the audience's intention of being curious about the tango as a reason for attending the show, which was catalogued through a questionnaire sent out after the performance to determine the intentions and expectations of audience members. The purpose of the questionnaire was not an evaluation of the performance, but it helped gain
39 a better understanding of the connection felt between the audience and the performers, as well as the notion of performance, and the role and intentions of the audience and perform ers as separate groups. Many of the questions were formatted as multiple choice for generally simple questions, but some required short answers to get specific or personal information towards the performance. Through this data, the audience believed it cou ld evaluate the show in terms of success, but not in terms of tango critique, since none who participated were familiar with the genre. The audience was called to participate by clapping at one part of the performance, but their intentions did not match th ose of the performers because the audience was less enthusiastic than the dancers and musicians leading the clapping tempo. The musicians and performers were from Argentina and the leader only spoke limited English. Even though there was this cultural and language barrier between the performers and the American audience, the audience saw the performance as a success with regards to a good show, which utilized the unique tango elements of fashion, music, and dancing, engaging the audience not necessarily to participate, but to watch. Ritualized dances are considered significant because they are created by a single dancer with a special introverted purpose to direct the dance towards a receiver or an audience who acts as either a participant or a witness, but there is an added factor that the audience believes in what the performer is doing and acts as the purpose of the dance, demonstrated by a god or a dying community member. A ritualized performance follows a blueprint of what movements to perform, how, an d why. Therefore, the performers intend to display themselves, like the theatrical performers, but it is not for entertainment, they always need an audience, although it can be invisible. These dancers practice the
40 dances many times within a community for spiritual and magical purposes, and they have an inner feeling or commitment to fulfill towards this audience in order to benefit others. Schechner distinguishes ritual and theater in terms of entertainment and efficacy. Ritual dances can include spiritual dances for the gods or a type of healing dance for a sickly person in the community (Lange 81 2; Beeman 378). In a ritual dance performance, the audience acts as a witness in that he or she is receiving what the performer is doing. This can also be seen a s a participant trait because the audience not directly receiving the performance may assist the performers by singing or indicating a symbolic gesture (Lange 81 2). In some cases, one dance may be put into various categories, depending on the purposes of the performers and those of the audience. The tango is one of these dances, but unlike others it maintains the same auditory and visual elements in every setting performed. In Sally Ness's article "Seeing is Believing" she analyzes a form of dancing that was used as a ritual tradition performed by the inhabitants of the central Philippines, originating before the Spanish arrived. The dance form is called sinulog and Ness compares the change of the dance from its ritual worship practices to a theatrical/ cultural parade attraction. As soon as the Hispanic era (colonization of the Philippines) occurred, from the 16 th century until the early 20 th century, the ritual dance changed into a worship dance for Santo Nio, or their image of the baby Jesus. In this period there were many types of sensory aspects that were lost or changed in the present day ritual practice, but the intention of the dancers was still the same. In the Hispanic era there were colorful costumes, much more movement, sounds, and kinesthetic gestures that to the dancers (men and women) was
41 what the Santo Nio wanted to see and hear. At this point of the sinulog dance the audience was not necessary because of the purpose of the ritual dance, but nonetheless, they wore attractive costumes and h ad intense movements for God to see (Ness 2). In the present day the sinulog is performed by the tindera middle aged and older women who stay outside of the church and perform towards the Santo Nio, who acts as the audience, while there may be more obse rves (tourists, local passerbys) that remain completely ignored because the ritual is designed to be watched and enjoyed by God. Although there are instances that observers ask to have the women perform, which could be for entertainment, it is mostly as a worship practice that the audience as a participant (because they are supporting the tindera in their purpose, not able to perform the ritual themselves, and are receiving spiritual guidance through the performance) lets the tindera complete it for them. T he tindera in the present sway side to side, staring into the church at the image of the Santo Nio, moving their hands slightly. It is not very visually appealing, but it is not meant to be. The tindera do not use sound and they barley have any movement i n the ritual. This is unlike tango, which has both visually appealing clothes and dancing no matter what dance category is being performed. They do not scream at God because "[he] might become deaf...and if you whisper God can hear you." For the dancers, s ilence is a demonstration of the sacredness of the dance (Ness 2 4). What Beeman calls "cultural dances," are defined as a "public functions that are heightened occasions for the community and are scheduled and open to an audience and their participation" (378). The difference between a cultural and social dance is the fact that something social is not a heightened occasion for the community; rather it is on a smaller scale and more routine as well as having differing intentions of the dancers.
42 These perfo rmances are rehearsed in order to be shown in public. An example of a cultural performance would be something like a Carnival, a sporting event such as Balinese cockfighting (Beeman 370), or a dance festival. The audience in a cultural performance is dif ferent than in a ritual or theatrical setting because an individual member can take on each audience role in the same time and space. This is unlike the other performances because an individual in theatrical or ritual performances only has one role, but th e audience may be composed of many individuals, each providing a different role. Cultural performances normally have audiences that are flexible and flow in and out of participating, evaluating, and witnessing, although the intentions of the performers are still prominent in determining the intentions of the audience members. In Argentina, there is the annual Buenos Aires Tango Festival from February until March. During this time the city is taken over by more than 150 performers giving 100 free shows and concerts. There are also the finals of the Metropolitan Ballroom Tango Championship, which is a big highlight ( Event Guide ). A cultural performance has the criteria from both a ritual and theatrical setting. It is theatrical because there does not need to be an audience to make the performance exist, since the performers commonly have the intention to perform in front of a crowd because these dances are those that unite the community through a similar cultural demonstration. It is seen as ritual because the other intention of the performance is to better the community. Cultural dances may be many times larger than those that are theatrical, ritual, or social, and for this reason it may be hard to distinguish the audience from the performers.
43 The sinulog tr ansformation from a ritual dance to a cultural dance provides a good example of a dance transcending different dance categories and also determining what makes a cultural dance a performance. The practice had changed into a type of cultural dance in 1980, a festival to celebrate the sinulog and the people's history. To make the sinulog into a cultural performance, choreography, costumes, more witness and evaluator types of audience members, and performers with different purposes were needed to make it succe ssful. The parade dance was controlled by the government and sponsors that created the event for college aged students as a type of "cultural revival." It also acts as an attraction to visitors and tourists to Cebu. Through this event, the ritual dance co uld be seen maintaining its religious purpose, but it was established as less serious and more appealing to youth, and became part of a new context, which was the representation of the ideal self image of the city of Cebu and its "religion" in the global a rena. There were millions of spectators from the local level to places like the United States who came and saw the "universal visual language" that represented many themes important to the community, but were entirely unrelated to the sinulog (Ness 5). T he change that was the most dominant was the choreography introduced to the sinulog in order to win the parade competition. It was much more visually appealing in order to allure audience members. Students from different places in the Philippines were brou ght to witness the parade as an historical and cultural experience. The parade sinulog according to Ness, was created in part because of economic and leadership struggles the city had so as to demonstrate unity. The dancers of each sinulog had their reaso ns for performing, including the attention and honor they attained by representing their ethnicity and cultural heritage, while on the other hand, the tinderas danced to
44 become closer to God (Ness 5 12). Through the transformation from ritual to cultural d ance, the sinulog had reinvented the intentions of its performers and also those of the audience members, which is normal to see in different contexts. Tango, in its different settings has different types of dancers and audience members, the purposes of ea ch group depending on the context of the situation; however, unlike the sinulog the tango does not lose or gain its elements, they remain the same, a unique quality of the dance. A social performance is something that does needs an audience; this is bec ause the intentions of the performers are not to entertain observers, but to concentrate on dancing well for a partner and personal enjoyment. While dancing, there is also a focus of socializing (Garden 1). Theatrical performers as opposed to social have m ore of a purpose of work, when in a social setting dancers will be dancing for their own fun and pleasure. Social dances may be demonstrated by partner dances, circle dances, line dances, or solo dancing like in a club (Lange 85 6). An example of a social dance is an Argentine milonga a location where tango dancers come to partake in dancing and sometimes practicing. These dances occur at a similar time and place on a constant schedule and in this sense are rehearsed as a normal activity. A social dance ca n also be demonstrated through a club scene or a dance class. In a social dance setting, the audience member creates the performance through his or her intentions. The performers do not necessarily want to perform or have an audience watching, but as soon as there is an observer they become performers and the setting becomes a performance. At a dance club there are individuals on the outside of the floor without dance partners, taking breaks or socializing. Depending on their intentions, these individuals can judge the dancers in terms of their own skill, or in another sense, they are simply
45 present to enjoy the music and dancing. After a break, an individual may choose to dance and this purpose transforms him into a participant, getting to become a part o f the performance for the rest of the members off of the floor, and ultimately returning after a song or two to become an observer once again. In a social setting, the observers with higher skills may be judging how the performers are dancing because of t he dance movements they are utilizing, the clothes they are wearing, or what music playing in the background. In order for a member to participate in the performance, their reasons to dance with a partner may lay in the way they dance, how they respond to the music, or what type of shoes they are wearing. On the other hand, the audience member may be present just to listen to the music, enjoy watching the social dancing, or not care with whom they dance if only to participate. For performances that are crea ted by the audience, the purposes of the observers are based on their individual attractions. I may walk past a tango class being held outside in a park and will only notice when I hear the music, see the clothing, or gaze at the dance movements. At least one of the elements presented in the situation is alluring for an audience member to watch. The article written by Anne Beatrice Scott, a dance professor, is an example of a dance class as an instance of a social dance setting, and an example of the int entions of the audience creating a performance. Scott is at a bloco afro 9 dance class to observe for research purposes, she does not have the intention of participating, but does evaluate the dancers because she is a highly skilled Brazilian dance scholar. The dance instructor, 9 Bloco afro is a hybrid of samba and reggae music that utilizes non Brazilian costumes and themes with the focus of black nationalism. It represents the formation of community ideals in the unification o f the bloco afro groups demonstrate that they are an organized black community, which is why they are seen performing in different places (260 Scott).
46 Betho, also a friend of Scott's, cannot seem to get his point across to the class about a certain dance movement. He suggests that Scott come out and demonstrate. She accepts and leaves her intent as witness and evaluator to become a participant. Betho says, "she knows how to do it," which gives the students automatic focus on her so that they can imitate her perfection. The performance has also changed in this setting because the focus is now on Scott and the dancers are acting as th e audience (Scott 266). She was only there to observe, however, the performers in her perspective made her into a performer as they switched roles The reason why Scott changed roles was because the action of looking switched from one group to another. Sco tt started out as the audience by watching or looking at the performance, but changed into the performers as soon as she became the one being watched. A specific example of how an audience creates a tango performance comes from Julie Taylor, an experienc ed tango dancer, who recounts her experiences in dance classes and milongas while living in Argentina for many years and explains how an audience is an essential part of a social tango as a performance. She expounds that dancers know they are dancing alone within the context of the couple they form together and they only focus on each other as individual components of the space they in which they are dancing. They do not notice the outside audience or choose not to concern them in their purpose. However, fr om an audience perspective from the outside of the couple, they are seen as one unit and how they dance together reflects back on them as good or bad performers. They do not acknowledge the audience, but are aware that they are being watched. It is known t hat both partners need to dance well to set the standards of the audience. She concludes, "the audience can be others as close as those at the dance hall or Others with
47 their gaze fixed on tango from a point as distant as Paris," therefore it ultimately do es not matter where the audience is, it is the fact that they are always watching (Taylor 69 70) An example of a tango social dance setting comes from the Sara Dance Studio' milonga party" I attended in February of 2009. The local milonga was different from an Argentine milonga because it was a place to practice dancing as well as just to dance for pleasure. After talking to one of the dance instructors, it was understood that only a few people really came to dance for themselves. The milonga supposedly varied in the number of people that attended week by week. It was held at the same location, at 9:30 to midnight every Friday night. I had once attended a tango dance class there and recognized at least three of the same people present from that event. Ove rall, there were five couples in the room that has participated in the tango class that happened right before the milonga and no new couples of individuals ever arrived. As soon as the music started to play, the lights were lowered so the ambience could b e set. Throughout the evening, the lights would fluctuate in brightness, especially when the music would be changed, signaling to me that the atmosphere was different from an Argentine milonga because there would be no need to have the ambience falter. The re could also be music heard from the neighboring dance studio, compromising the tango atmosphere as well. The dancers were all dressed nicely in skirts, dresses, proper dance shoes, and nice pants. The outside of the room was designed with tables and chai rs, at which I sat and observed. The dancers were seen to move in and out of the dance floor space, I was the only real audience member in the studio. The couples that left the dance floor were very engaged with watching the dancing at first. When more co uples began to leave the floor, socialization occurred, as
48 well as pointing to the dancers, and simple observation. All of the dancers seemed proficient in tango, which meant to me that they had been coming to the tango classes for a while, probably at thi s facility and knew each other fairly well. After talking, some couples would go back on the floor, switch partners, correct each other's movements, and dance with an introverted attitude, a sign that it did not matter that I was watching, or even their f ellow dancers were watching from the side, this space was for pleasing themselves and the only thing that made it a performance was through the intentions of the audience. The definition of a milonga has several meanings, including the one used for a plac e of dancing. First of all, in early Buenos Aires, before the tango, folk music called milonga was the most popular form in the city. Folk singers were very reputable and people who wanted to hear them would refer to the concerts as "going to see a milonga ." The meaning eventually changed into the second definition, the place where the folk singers would perform, so the saying was, "going to a milonga ." The milonga at the time, fast paced music with improvised lyrics was probably danced to at one time or an other, but the word did not refer to the dance in the early twentieth century as of yet. A theory is that milonga was also used as an umbrella term for any music and dance favored by compadritos, probably for the reason that they frequented the folk music venues more than anyone. As the years progressed, during tango mania, Francisco Canaro wrote in his autobiography that he had invented the third version of the term, tango milonga in 1917 to describe a type of tango music designed for dancers, which maint ained the 4x8 rhythm. The last definition of milonga is like the original folk music, but has no lyrics, it is simply instrumental and also designed for dancing, but to the dance that is also referred to by the
49 same name. The milonga music is known as par t of the tango trinity, tango, milonga and vals 10 (Denniston 197 9). In conclusion it is important to address that the presence of the audience is necessary to make a performance in social dances that are not intended to be by the performers. The audienc e creates untraditional social performances through the act of watching, even though the performers intend to please themselves, not others, and only then do the purposes of the audience members become clear, as evaluator, participants, or witnesses. The e xception to this are the more traditional theatrical, ritual, and cultural dances that are created by performers to entertain or to display themselves, but the lack of an audience does not deter their purpose to perform and in this sense the creation of a performance. The tango in the settings to be analyzed is portrayed as either theatrical or social. The features of the audience and performers distinguish the settings, if the audience relies on the performer's intentions, or the audience creates the per formance through their own intentions, disregarding those of the performers, as well as taking into account the different ways in which the dance is performed, since theatrical dances are more choreographed, while social dances are improvised. The tango ha s transcended different dance types, able to be performed in different scenarios with different intentions of the performers and audience, but still maintaining the elements of music, dancing, and fashion that make it unique. 10 Vals, or vals criollo, is tango in time. Tango Vals utilizes almost the same vocabulary as Tango, the biggest difference perhaps being that in response to the music the dancers tend to choose more turning steps, and also choose not to pause as they frequently do in Tango. It is lighter, happier and faster than tango (Ray, Par. 1 3).
50 Chapter 3 The Allure of the Distasteful: Tango Elements in Cortzar's "Las puertas del cielo" Julio Cortzar was born in Brussels, Belgium from Argentine parents in 1914. In 1918 the family moved back to Argentina, to the outskirts of Buenos Aires. In 1932 Cortzar became certif ied as a teacher, continuing his teaching in the primary, secondary, and university levels. His first book of poems was published in 1938 under the pseudonym of Julio Denis. Cortzar tried to go to college at the University of Buenos Aires, but his financi al situation would not let him finish, so he went back to teaching. After a few years of teaching literature at the University of Cuyo in Mendoza, he moved back to Buenos Aires and managed a publishers' association. He did not publish his first book under his real name until 1949, titled Los reyes Two years later, in 1951, he published Bestiario one of his most famous collections of stories, containing "The Gates of Heaven." 11 After living in Argentina for 33 years, he moved to France where he lived for t he rest of his life. During his time in Argentina, from 1918 until 1951, he had lived through the Golden Age of tango (1935 1952), so he was influenced by tango in its most popular time, especially while living in Buenos Aires. In Europe, he worked as a translator, married, and his writing flourished, while he continued publishing another collection of stories in 1956, called Final del juego From the late 1950s until his death in 1984 at the age of 69, Cortzar continued writing and publishing short stor ies, plays, novels, and poetry (Standish xv xvii). Rayuela (1966), Los premios (1965), and El libro de Manuel (1978) are some of his most famous novels. In 1980 Cortzar published a collection of stories known as Queremos tanto a Glenda, 11 Translated from the Spanish, "Las puertas del cielo."
51 which contained th e story "Tango de vuelta." Even though the title of the story has tango in the title, the story does not have a tango based plot or scene. However, the story has disheartening undertones because the main character, Matilde, abandons and murders her first h usband and another character seduces a woman to get his way. These themes show up in tango lyrics, but the dancing component is not seen except in "Las puertas del cielo" (Standish 47). Also in 1980, Cortzar collaborated on the creation of a tango album called Les Trottoirs de Buenos Aires He wrote lyrics for Edgardo Canton, 12 who provided the music. Some songs recorded are "La cruz del sur" and "Veredas de Buenos Aires" (Standish 173, Gamero) The production of a tango album, the word "tango" used in th e title of the story "Tango de vuelta," and the large role the tango plays in "Las puertas del cielo" all point towards his interest in the Argentine culture of the dance. At the time the story was written, estimated sometime between the late 1940s and 195 1, was when the height of the Golden Age was taking place. Tango was everywhere; a perfect component for an anecdotal story of Cortzar, something that could be understood by anyone (Savigliano 5). In the early years of his writing career, Cortzar had an interest in a more anecdotal style, taking elements from his daily life and implementing them into his stories. These different anecdotal aspects of Argentinean society are expressed by his characters through representations of socio cultural practices, su ch as music, and sports. It gave off a more self reflective and personal style, which will evolve into an interest for the fantastic and surreal storyline. The combination of the tango themed story and his focus on more anecdotic plots makes it very plausi ble he was familiar with the tango 12 Born in Crdoba, Argentina in 1934, he became a composer of electroacustic music (Edgardo Canton).
52 dancing, going to milonga s, and competent of creating a realistic fiction of the culture. Using his narrator as an observer, Cortzar creates this realistic representation of the Argentine society. The story begins wit h the news that there has been a death of one of the narrator's good friends, Celina. The news is brought to Marcelo, a lawyer and good friend of Celina and her husband Mauro. Marcelo drops what he is doing and goes to the aid of his friend, although not w anting to be at the wake or have anything to do with the people that are present. He seems more concerned with analyzing and observing the people attending the wake, instead of becoming emotional, concerned, or grief stricken. Celina had died of tuberculos is and Mauro is seen grieving on the patio, getting drunk. After the wake, Marcelo goes on to describe Celina in more detail, her past as a milonguera 13 and how Mauro and she met. Celina had been working at a milonga of a man named Kasidis. She had been th e only dark skinned girl working there. In his interpretation of Celina's life and character, Marcelo says that the bar owner possibly hired her to attract the darker skinned clientele. Mauro, a simple produce seller at the Abasto market, took her away fro m her milonguera career and they married. Mauro and Celina had different tastes in entertainment and fun. The characters' ideas of fun were established by their social statuses. Marcelo is from the upper educated class, not dancing in a lower class milon ga one can infer that Mauro is in the middle class because of his career as a seller at the Abasto market, and Celina is from the lower classes, since she worked as a milonguera at a cabaret. Celina liked going dancing, to 13 Translation into English is "taxi dancer." The significance of milonguera is a woman who is hired to attend milonga s to dance with single or available men, to give them entertainment.
53 parties, and carousing the town, while Mauro liked to be alone, "in the courtyard of his own house, long hours of bull session with the neighbors, and mate (103). 14 If Celina were alive, Mauro would have gone with her to the milonga never because he wanted to enjoy himself through danc ing, but to make her happy. Marcelo simply observed the couple for his entertainment, composing mental "files" for his "sociological studies." A milonga was not Marcelo or Mauro's preferred destination, but they tolerated the nights out for Celina. The c ouple would go out dancing and Marcelo would join them, but almost never danced. When he did dance, it was a surprise to Celina that he could so well, because of his upper class status. How well you dance Marcelo,' as if surprised a lawyer could follow a machicha (100). 15 Even though Marcelo is seen dancing in this circumstance, it is not even a tango. It is possible he does not feel like it is appropriate for him to dance, maybe because of the history of wrongfulness or illegality and its associations w ith brothels. Marcelo used the couple not as "guinea pigs"(100), 16 but as friends. Marcelo used his relationship with the couple as a starting point for his observations with them, but he became so involved with the friendship it made his observational inte ntions weaker. He was a "witness to their hard, hot happiness" (99), 17 sharing their happiness through osmosis, simply being in their presence. 14 "prefera el patio, las horas de charla con vecinos y el mate" (20). 15 "Qu bien baila, Marcelo", como extraada de que un abogado fuera capaz de seguir una machicha" (18). La machicha is also known as the maxixe, the Brazilian tango, which include tango and polka elements, although it is simpler to dance than tango and contributed to the samba (Powers). 16 "cobayos" (18). 17 "para asistir de costado a su dura y caliente felicidad" (18).
54 Celina and Mauro never used the familiar with Marcelo, probably because he was different than them in terms of status, a lawyer, better educated, and they respected him. Marcelo remembers how "it gave [Celina] pride to use the title with her friends" (100), 18 an indication of their different social classes. On his way back from his lawyer convention, he was reminded of Celina again because of two dancers on the train, reminiscing of how unlikely she and Mauro were as a couple because of her gaudy make up and the way she moved her hips, as opposed to Mauro's "aggressive simplicity" (102). 19 Marcelo then ends his memori es of the couple and decides to go visit Mauro a few days after the wake. He is still in bad shape, drinking and smoking. He is in desperate need of distraction, he tells Marcelo, so they end up going to a dance hall, a milonga at the Santa Fe Palace. T he Palace was a tasteless place that Mauro reasoned would be a good place to forget about Celina, since they had never been there together, but Mauro had been before he met her. The Palace is not air conditioned, as Mauro complains, the booths of different dance and music genres are poorly isolated so one can hear the different music overlap, and it is a generally second rate establishment; there are dirty rooms and it smells like sweat and smoke. It was a place that Celina would have enjoyed going to dance she would have blended in with the dark skinned crowd. Even with the absence of Celina, Mauro's main goal was to find another girl to ease his pain and forget the present, not to enjoy, but to distract himself. His purpose changes into nostalgia after he realizes how much the milonga reminds him of Celina. 18 "le cost dejar el "doctor", tal vez la enorgulleca darme el ttulo delante de otros" (18). 19 "La sencillez agresiva" (20).
55 In the building there are three booths that have tango, country music, and another type of folkloric music, malambo 20 The two pick the tango because of the feelings of melancholy, love, nostalgia, and despair it creates through the music and dance figures. On one hand, the men were reminded on Celina because of the tango dancing and music, because the tango was a great part of her life, even though Celina had never been to the Santa Fe Palace with Maur o. On the other hand, tango music of the bandonen as well as the tango lyrics produced a sense of despair, mournfulness, and sadness. They begin drinking at a table and listen to the tango lyrics, the sound of the music, and watch the dancing. Eventually Mauro feels like he needs to dance and find another woman, so he chooses one of the most attractive girls there, Emma. An old tango song begins to play, which gains applause and cheers from the dancers. The two men ignore the girl as she asks Mauro to da nce, both reminiscing about Celina. At the end of the story they believe to have seen Celina on the dance floor, or someone who looks exactly like her. Mauro is so enchanted that he gets up to go look for her, but it is in vain. We do not know if he does f ind the Celina look alike or if it was her ghost, only that he is searching for something he cannot have. The fact that Celina's apparition is seen in the milonga is suggested by Marcelo that her resting place, "the gates of heaven" implied by the title, w ould be a dance hall very similar to this one. Her "heaven" according to the narrator is at a milonga where she enjoyed herself during her lifetime. This vision of Celina gives the men different feelings. For Marcelo, seeing Celina gives him a sense of cl osure, relief that she is in a better place. Mauro, seen 20 A dance dating to circa 1600, originating from the gauchos in the Pampa, danced to guitar music, and only danced by men. The dancing consists of brushing the floor with the feet, hardly having them touch the ground (Malambo Dance).
56 searching around aimlessly does not get the same reaction, but it is made clear that he is not ready to let go of his dead wife. Cortzar's narrator, Marcelo Hardoy, is described as a lawyer who had "to go to Rosario later in the week for a lawyer's convention" (104), 21 and is also referred to as "doctor" (101), someone well educated. However, these are the only images of his profession the readers encounter. Marcelo seems to have a passion as an ama teur ethnographer. He entered into their lives in order to watch them live and "Mauro and Celina had not been [his] guinea pigs" (100) 22 are more direct examples of his ethnographic tendencies. He also says he does not fit the typical lawyer type in Buenos Aires, but he realizes his curiosity of observing is his true calling. I am Doctor Hardoy, a lawyer who doesn't fit in with Buenos Aires, not is law courts or its music or its racetracks; and I move as hard as I can in other directions, other bags. I k now that my curiosity lies behind all those, notes that fill my files a bit at a time (100). 23 An ethnographer's purpose is to observe others, their customs and daily lives. Even though Marcelo goes on to say Mauro and Celina were his friends, the terminol ogy Marcelo uses, "guinea pigs," is an example of a scientific, rational attitude as opposed to a more open minded and sensitive outlook. Cortzar has placed an ethnographer to narrate a story where the tango is the main element, an effective way of emph asizing his interest in approaching society through 21 "tuve que ir a Rosario por un congreso de abogados" (19). 22 "Mauro y Celina no haban sido mis cobayos" (18). 23 "Yo soy el doctor Hardoy, un aboga do que no se conforma con el Buenos Aires forense o musical o hpico, y avanza todo lo que puede por otros zaguanes. Ya s que detrs de eso est la curiosidad, las notas que llenan poco a poco mi fichero" (18).
57 cultural aspects. According to Marta Savigliano, an Argentine born dance professor, "Cortzar's story offers the opportunity to look at quasi ethnographer at work, fascinated and scandalized by an underwo rld that escapes his judgments as it conforms to his categories of analysis" (Savigliano 5). Marcelo is made into an ethnographer because of the constant descriptions and observations he makes about others around him. An instance where his ethnographer side is directly noticed is when he takes his notes: (For the files: note, following Ortega, the contact between the common man and technologyMauro talks about refrigeration units and audio frequency amplification with the self sufficiency of the Bueno s Aires inhabitant who firmly believes he has everything coming to him) (105). 24 He composes his "files" throughout the story, stopping to "write notes" in his head pertaining to what he has seen. These "files" are similar to the polyrhythmic style of tan go music, many rhythms happening at once. He is taking notes while simultaneously narrating or being an audience member. Marcelo tends to go to different places in the city, as well as the country. He attends Celia's wake, he travels to Rosario for a lawye rs' convention, he walks through Palermo (the neighborhood in which Mauro lives) and he goes to the milonga at the Santa Fe Palace. These interpretations of Marcelo's ethnographical alter ego occur even in the most unusual or inappropriate places, such as the wake of Celina: 24 "(Para una ficha: estudiar, siguiendo a O rtega, los contactos del hombre del pueblo y la tcnica. Mauro hablaba de refrigeracin o de superheterodinos con la suficiencia portea que cree que todo le es debido)" (22).
58 The mate was already going strong. The wake was organizing itself, by itself: the faces, the drinks, and the heat. Now that Celina had finished dying, it was incredible how the neighborhood could drop everything (even the quiz progr ams), and congregate at the scene of the disaster (98). 25 This observation is not only made at her wake, among many others, but it captures two more events that are ethnographically characteristic. He mentions mate the herbal tea that is a part of Argent ine culture and habitually drunk by the inhabitants. There is also the mention of quiz programs, something that was important enough to note in the story, perhaps a big part of life in the 40s because of the invention of the television in 1939. The inventi on was still a new technology and consuming to viewers (Television). More cultural notes, besides the tango, are observed by Marcelo; one is La Razn a free Buenos Aires newspaper that is still published today, which someone is seen reading at the wake. L una Park is noted as a place that the couple and Marcelo went dancing for a carnival in 1942, which is also a host to concerts and other large events (98 9). The milonga is a particularly good example of tango culture, as opposed to a dance class or show, because milongas provide an opportunity to recreate traditions and values, such as the boundaries of men and women on either side of the room, the eyes as a signal to dance, the music, the clothes, and above all the dancing. Marcelo went to visit Mauro ab out a week after the wake, after he had gone to Rosario for a lawyer's convention. Mauro is still depressed and his "face had the same 25 "En la cocina andaban ya con el mate. El velorio se organizaba solo, por s mismo: las caras, las bebidas, el calor. Ahora que Celina acababa de morir, increble cmo la gente de un barrio larga todo (hasta las audiciones de preguntas y respuestas) para constituirse en el lugar del hecho" (17).
59 expression as last time, beside the grave" (103). 26 Mauro says "the time drags," and that his brother had replaced him at work, himself not being emotionally stable to return. When Marcelo suggests to Mauro to drive around Palermo, he puts on a: blue suit, stuck an embroidered handkerchief in the upper pocket, and [Marcelo] sees him put on some perfume from a bottle that had been Celina's. [Marcelo] liked the tilt of his hat with the brim snapped up, and his silent walk, loose and bouncy (104). 27 This preparation is probably something nostalgic, since he is seen putting on Celina's perfume. The smell is something that re minds Mauro of her, it is a type of memento that he can carry with him wherever he goes. The blue suit might also remind him of her, of dancing tango together. The style is typical of the male fashion in the Golden Age, which resembles that of Gardel, the tilted hat, the handkerchief, and the suit. The perfume may be referring to the compadritos and their stylistic tendencies to dress more ostentatious, with perfume, rings, and jewelry. Mauro then tells Marcelo his intention to distract himself; he wants to forget. Anything, get loaded, go to a dancehall, pick up some chick, any chick" (104). 28 This is the motivation Marcelo needs to suggest they go to the Santa Fe Palace. Even though the event is for lower classes, it is a typical rendition of a milonga fr om the type of music, the dancing, and the setting. The social performance consists of the audience, Marcelo, 26 "Tena la misma cara de la ltim a vez, al lado de la fosa" (20). 27 "azul y pauelo bordado, lo vi echarse perfume de un frasco que haba sido de Celina. Me gustaba su forma de requintarse el sombrero, con el ala levantada, y su paso liviano y silencioso" (21). 28 "olvidar deca tambi n Cualquier cosa, emborracharme, ir a la milonga, tirarme cualquier hembra" (21).
60 Mauro, and the tango dancers 29 as well as performers, Mauro, Emma, and the tango dancers. In traditional performance the two groups are usually se parated, but performers and audience members here tend to overlap, allowing the audience to be the witness, evaluator, and participant, while the creation depends on the intentions of the audience instead of the performers. The participants (performers) in a social dance are not necessarily there to dance for an audience. Social dance performances are different than cultural dance performances because of the time span and grandeur of the event. Milongas last for a few hours, but consistently, each week or m onth. Although others may be watching the dancers, their first purpose is to dance for themselves in order to gain a sense of pleasure and enjoyment. Once they arrive, the men can hear the music from the other two booths inside the Palace playing country and malambos The men choose to sit in the tango orchestra booth and begin to drink, Mauro more heavily than Marcelo, who is there to accompany his depressed friend as well as have the opportunity to observe the milonga practice. The dance floor is extrem ely crowded, described later on as "the couples dance[ing] nearly without moving from where they were" (110). 30 The table at which the men sat was next to the dance floor, across from chairs along the wall on the other side of the room where woman sat, rep lacing one another as they went up to dance. This location seemed to be a perfect place for Marcelo to take his observations. He was situated right next to the band and could see the whole dance floor, giving him a better perspective on the actions of the participants than someone in the middle of the floor or in the corner of the room. The 29 When referring to tango dancers, it is implied the mix of milonguera s and "monsters," unless there is a specification of either category. 30 "las parejas bailaban casi sin salir de su sitio" (25).
61 music was loud, even a little too loud, and the bandoneons described in the story as "squeeze boxes" or "accordions" were "blasting" (106). 31 Marcelo sits with Mauro for a while, until he orders another drink, which "gave [Marcelo] a break in which to turn [Mauro] off and look around" (106). 32 While he is ignoring Mauro, Marcelo gives the readers a description of the musicians: [The singer] held the microphone as if he were about to puke into it, with a kind of tired lasciviousness that had to be organic. For long moments, he'd put his lips against the chrome grid, and a voice like glue emerged from the loudspeakers (106). 33 Marcelo pays attention to the visual sensa tion the singer is acting out, a very sensual type of "dance" with the microphone. He also describes the sound he makes, "like glue," that is not said to be bad or good, but he made "something dramatic out a beat that was rather fast and basically without cutting edge" (106). 34 Marcelo appreciates what the musicians are trying to accomplish, which suggests he is getting a certain pleasure or enjoyment out of the music, even though it is played in a lower class way. There are two types of tango dancers that m ake up the setting in the milonga that night, the "monsters" and the milongueras The men are described: like Javanese or Indians from the north bound into tight black suits with checks, the hard hair painfully plastered down, little drops of brillianti ne 31 "Fuellestocando con ganas" (22). 32 "me dio calce para desentenderme y mirar" (22). 33 "Se prenda al micrfono como a los barrotes de un vomitorio, con una especie de lujuria cansada, de necesidad orgnica. Por momentos me ta los labios contra la rejilla cromada, y de los parlantes sala una voz pegajosa" (22). 34 "milagrosa su manera de dar dramatismo a un comps ms bien rpido y sin alce" (22).
62 catching blue and pink reflections the men nowadays wear their hair loose and high in the middle, enormous, faggoty foxtails (107). 35 This description, once again, reminds the reader of compadritos the "dandy" appearance of the men, the tight suits and the hairdos. The "monsters" are there to have a good time and are both men and women, as opposed to the milongueras made up of only women, "with an absent air taxi dancers have when they are working or amusing themselves" (106). 36 Marcelo does not bot her to describe the milongueras in detail, only that they are "a pile of women who replaced one another..." (106). 37 From the description of Celina, "in near professional makeup, still swinging her hips in anything but housewifely fashion" (102) 38 it can be assumed that the milongueras of the Santa Fe Palace had well done makeup, acted seductively, and probably dressed in attention grabbing ensembles with bright colors and tight dresses. The milongueras are moving in and out as well, sitting in chairs and waiting, watching, and then being chosen to dance, participating in the performance that the other milongueras Marcelo, and perhaps the "monsters" watch. According to Savigliano, she mentions the milongueras and their roles as audience members. The "abse nt air" of the women is not negative, they are not ignoring the dancers, but they are waiting to be chosen by the men. They are being passive, like Marcelo, watching patiently. Savigliano says: 35 como javaneses o mocoves, apretados en trajes a cuadros o negros, el p elo duro peinado con fatiga, brillantina en gotitas contra los reflejos azules y rosa ellos les da ahora por el pelo suelto y alto en el medio, jopos enormes y amaricados" (23). 36 "con ese aire ausente de las milongueras cuando trabajan o se divierten" ( 22). 37 "un montn de mujeres se renovaba" (22). 38 "con un maquillaje casi profesional, movindose a bordadas anchas" (20.)
63 They observe the movements and gestures of their potential ma le dancing partners in order to actively ignore those emitted by the ones they are not interested in dancing with. At the same time, milongueras are busy not missing the inviting winks of the milongueros 39 they like, and also sending encouraging looks t oward them (Savigliano, 13). They are always aware of the potential dance partner they will have for a song or two, but have to make sure that the partner is worthy of their own skills. The milonguera is not going to choose a partner that does not make her look talented while dancing, but at the same time she is working, trying to give each man an opportunity that wants to dance. On the dance floor, the tango dancers are called, "monsters" by Marcelo because of the way they look and act. The reference danc ers as monstruo s or "monsters" in the milonga can be attributed to Cortzar's anecdotal style. Although they are always referred to as "monsters," the time and place Cortzar was writing about would suggest another cultural term, cabecitas negras 40 For the readers in Argentina, the "monsters" of the story would most likely remind them of the new immigrants to the country that were ill received by the local labor force. Marcelo describes the "monsters" in a critical way, judging their appearance, the way the y act, and how they smell and sound as something unnatural, ugly, and below him. Marcelo's class and racial differences leads him to be racially and socially biased towards the exploding working class of the Peronist 39 In this context, a male tango dancer. 40 Cabecitas negras is a racial slur that refers to people with mestizo or provincial charac teristics, dark skin, and from less developed and rural parts of Argentina and neighboring countries, used originally in relation to the expansion of the labor market under Pern (Savigliano 10).
64 government (Savigliano 10). 41 Bernardo V erbitsky, who coined villa miseria a word for the overpopulated, marginal, and poorly developed parts of a city, is the first to use the term cabecita negra in his 1953 novel, Calles de tango (translated Tango Streets ). The origin of the term is often bel ieved to have been an opposition against Pern, as a xenophobic and derogatory rebellion (181 2 Garguin). At 11:00 at night they tend to transform into tango dancers from their professional appearances from the outside of the milonga Marcelo describes t he "monsters" as substandard, ostentatious, and annoying. The women "monsters" are described as "dwarves and very dark" (106). 42 The "monsters" flow in and out of audience roles. They watch each other from the side and "they recognize and admire each other in silence and without letting on" (107). 43 The individual "monsters" are observing and judging each other. In their admiration there is the act of evaluating another person, comparing appearances and dancing skills. As they recognize each other silently an d without letting anyone know, they become witnesses, watching what the other does. This recognition allows the reader to know that the dancers form a community. As well as judging and watching the dancers, the "monsters" are dancing for themselves, they: come to this place, then, grave monsters twine with one another in grave esteem, one number after the 41 Juan Pern began his ascent to power by assisting in a cou p d'etat in June 1943 that let him take over the department of labor. As the head of the department, he enacted new laws, created unions, and expanded the department. Shortly after, he served as president from 1946 52 ( Nevarro, par. 2 3). 42 Enanas y achin adas" (23). 43 "Se reconocen y se admiran en silencio sin darlo a entender" (23).
65 other they twirl slowly without speaking, many of their eyes closed, enjoying at last complete parity and fulfillment" (107). 44 Through their dancing t he "monsters" become fulfilled, it gives them enjoyment, even though it may not seem that way through their "grave" expressions. Their faces do not match up with their unusual clothing style mentioned above. It seems to Marcelo they are a joke, and like th e women, they are trying too hard. The grave expressions are part of the dancing and they heighten the attention from the audience. The expressionless face, or the stern look of the men may also be associated with compadrito and his concentration or deter mination to have his skill recognized and impress the women. The "monsters" are at the milonga for the same purposes, they are described as looking the same, and they know each other. The milonga is "their dance and their meeting" (107). 45 In Marcelo's pers pective, as well as those of the other dancers, the "monsters" are performers, dressed and acting to gain attention. The women have: enormously high hairdos, which make them look even more like dwarves, tough, laborious hairdos of the sort that let yo u know there's nothing left but weariness and prideat the tables they're arrogant and the women talk in shrieks so that they'll be looked atthey even practice blonde expressions, wear green dresses, convince themselves they are authentic (107). 46 44 "van a eso, los monstruos se enlazan con grave acatamiento, pieza tras pieza giran despaciosos sin hablar, muchos con los ojos cerrados gozando al fin la paridad, la comp letacin" (23). 45 "es su baile y su encuentro" (23). 46 "las mujeres con enormes peinados altos que las hacen ms enanas, peinados duros y difciles de los que queda el cansancio y el orgulloen las mesas son jactanciosos y las mujeres hablan chillando pa ra que las mirenhasta se estudian gestos de rubia, vestidos verdes, se convencen de su transformacin" (23).
66 These fashion elements are not described in an uplifting way, but in a criticizing tone. Marcelo does not stop judging their clothes, but focuses on the smell and the tacky make up they use to try and impress potential partners: Furthermore there's the sm ell; one could not conceive of the monsters without that smell of damp powder against skin, of rotten fruit, one thinks of them washing hastily, the sour washcloth over the dace and under the armpits, then what really matters, lotions, hairspray, powder on all their faces, a whitish crust, and under it the dusky patches shining through (107). 47 When Marcelo describes the "monsters", all he does is criticize their appearance and actions. On the other hand, he does not criticize the milongueras. This rea soning goes back to the social distinction between Marcelo and the rest of the dancers. Perhaps Marcelo sees the milongueras as more refined than the "monsters" because Celina was one of them or simply because they present themselves in a more sophisticate d or polished way. The theme of class distinction and status is a recurring theme in Cortzar's writing. For example, in 1953 he published an essay titled "Gardel," in the journal SUR, which talks about Carlos Gardel in the 1920s as an expression of the po rteos in their own little world, but true to the feelings of misery and sorrow conveyed through the tango and his presence In the next decade, the porteo and immigrants from the interior are described together in the same little world, but the expressio n contained resentment and frustration. With the immigration of the provinciales the tango changed for Cortzar, from Gardel, a man who received friendship and admiration for his accomplishments, to 47 "dems est el olor, no se concibe a los monstruos sin ese olor a talco mojado contra la piel, a fruta pasada, uno sospecha los lavajes presuro sos, el trapo hmedo por la cara y los sobacos, despus lo importante, lociones, rimel, el polvo en la cara de todas ellas, una costra blancuzca y detrs las placas pardas trasluciendo" (23).
67 Alberto Castillo, whom he describes as having bad taste and vulgarity ("Gardel" 137). 48 Gardel represented the more refined extreme of the tango, perhaps the milongueras while Castillo was at the other end, another possible representation of the "monsters". Mauro as an audience member is watching the tango m usicians more than the dancers. "[Mauro] was watching the bandstand of the tango orchestra and the singer who gripped the mike in both hands and moved it slowly back and forth in front of him" (105). 49 Later in the story he is described talking to Emma, his dance partner, about tango music, "Mauro seemed pretty well turned on and talked of orchestrasEmma rambled on with the names of singers and memories of Villa Crespo and El Talar" (109). 50 For Mauro, he likes to listen and watch the musicians on stage, to hear the mournful, nostalgic, and dramatic sounds of the bandoneons Milongas can attract people to observe the event because of the setting, dancing, and/or the music, depending on the interests of the audience. Mauro sits at the table and drinks four shots before going out to the dance floor. Mauro transforms into a participant when he decides to dance, leaving Marcelo alone at the table to carry on his observations, which one would believe would include him more than before since he is dancing. Howeve r, Mauro is never described dancing by Marcelo, it is implied from his exit to the dance floor and actions with a partner. The fact that 48 Gardel no causa, viviendo, la historia que ya se hizo palpabl e con su muerte. Crea cario y admiracin, como Legui o Justo Surez; da y recibe amistad, sin ninguna de las turbias rezones erticas que sostienen el renombre de los cantores tropicales que nos visitan, o la mera delectacin en el mal gusto y la canaller a resentida que explican el triunfo de un Alberto Castillo ("Gardel" 137). 49 "miraba el palco de la tpica, al cantor que tena con las dos manos el micrfono y lo zarandeaba despacito" (22). 50 "Mauro pareca bastante embalado y hablaba de orquestasmma se iba en nombres de cantores, en recuerdos de Villa Crespo y El Talar" (25).
68 Marcelo does not describe Mauro while he is dancing may show his friendship towards him, not exploiting him like the re st of the "monsters." Mauro is on the dance floor with a girl, but his movements are not elaborated on while he is performing. Mauro finishes dancing and returns to the table with the girl, Emma, to become an audience member once again. Emma, I have cate gorized as a tango dancer, but has a specific role as Mauro's partner. Most likely she is part of the "monsters" from the way Marcelo describes her. "the girl, outside of her tango, seemed suddenly to grown stupid and open mouthed as a fish" (109). 51 Marce lo seems to have less respect for the "monsters" because of the class distinction. Even though she was skinny and good looking on the dance floor and as a performer, looking the least like a "monster," Emma had turned out to be nothing too special. She is never described as an audience member, but if she is a "monster" it is implied she is judging and watching others from the side. When she is with Mauro and Marcelo, she simply sits at the table, ignored by the men most of the time, and then goes back to da nce, to a place where she feels comfortable. When Marcelo says, "It seems right for me to say here that I come to this dance hall to see the monsters, I know of no other place where you get so many of them at one time" (106), 52 it provides the purpose of Marcelo as ethnographer wanting to attend the milonga. It seems that first and foremost, Marcelo wants to observe for his own gain. After all, when Marcelo "casually mentioned the Santa Fe Palace, [Mauro] took it for granted that [he and Marcelo] were goi ng to the dance and he was the first to stand up 51 "que pareca sbitamente entontecida y como boqueando fuera de su tango" (25). 52 "Me parece bueno decir aqu que yo iba a esa milonga por los monstruos, y que no s de otra d onde se den tantos juntos" (23).
69 and check his watch" (104). 53 It was therefore the initiative of Marcelo to go to the milonga probably because of the opportunity it provided for observations. A caf in Palermo, where the men had been previ ously, did not provide much diversity or "ethnographic observations" for Marcelo's "files." There are sociological and tango aspects that are appealing to him in their different ways. Sociologically, the actions and appearance of the "monsters" and milon gueras emphasize his ethnographic observations, but the music and dancing are part of the tango and are attractive to Marcelo in a pleasurable way, bringing out his role as the audience. Marcelo becomes fascinated with the tango elements, describing the da ncing without condemning the movements and especially enjoying the old tango played by Anita Lozano. He describe both elements at once, "the accordions came up simultaneously and full strength, the reply was a fresh violence in the dancing, lateral swoops and figure eights interlarded mid floor" (110), 54 emphasizing that the sound of the bandoneons and movements of the dancing blend together to create a climatic effect. The elements work together through sight and sound instead of acting against each other visually to produce a type of power struggle, such as described in chapter 1 of the bandoneonist's upper body versus the dancer's lower body. There may be a slight competition between the rise of the dancing and the music, still suggesting a struggle, but not in terms of opposites. These tango elements are not marred by the appearances or manners of the "monsters." He has a passive attitude when it comes to dancing tango at the Santa Fe milonga which can be in part explained by his upper class heritage. At a 53 "cuando yo mencion el Santa Fe Palace como de pasada, l dio por hecho que bamos al baile y fue el primero en levantarse y mirar la hora" (21). 54 "los fuelles respondi a la renovada violencia del baile, las corridas l aterales y los ocho entreverados en el medio de la pista" (25 6).
70 location not for lower classes, where the famous Canaro Orchestra is playing, he explains that he dances, not an Argentine, but a Brazilian tango, but in this setting he may associate the lower class establishment as something below him or that he is to o good to dance there, which might be another reason he remains at the table on the outside of the dance floor. The tango elements in the story are made to describe a lower class milonga unlike the glamorous tango portrayed in the previous chapters. The setting, the way the music is played by the unknown tango artist, and the clothing of the regular participants are associated with a low class dance hall. Marcelo's evaluations are first of all the key to understanding the class differences. His reference of the dancers as "monsters" gives the reader a sense that he does not respect them, they are different, and they are maybe not even human in certain ways. Everything is different about them in comparison to himself and Mauro as well as explained in an un flattering way. It is a deliberate criticism of the way the "monsters" live in the tango world, the lower class tango world that Marcelo would never be seen dancing in or affiliated with, but only to observe for his ethnographical gain. The clothing of the men is different than that of Mauro's blue suit. His physical traits differ because of his "Italian features, the face of the Buenos Aires docks, with neither Negro or provincial feature" (108). 55 Mauro was purely Italian, with no indigenous or African inf luence in his genetics. The milonga's setting is first encountered from the outside, making it seem like an inferior. After seeing the "filthy box officewhat follows is worse, not that it's disagreeable, just that there's nothing there that's precise; j ust plain chaosa hell like 55 "rasgos italianos, la cara del porteo orillero sin mezcla negra ni provinciana" (23).
71 amusement park" (105). 56 The musicians are also described as being a little too powerful, trying too hard. In a higher class establishment, the music would be played in a better fashion, it would probably be softer, and the way the singers act would be less sensuous. "We heard the tango orchestra only too well, backed by squeeze boxes and blasting away with will." This makes it seem like the orchestra was not conducted properly, the bandoneons were playing at will something that should be controlled in a more elegant setting. The description of the musicians is lascivious and sensual. Marcelo suggests that they should replace the microphone with "a rubber doll with the mike concealed inside it," so that the singer "could get as ho t as he wanted while he was singing" (106). 57 The uncontrolled and lascivious actions of the musicians were inappropriate, things probably not seen or heard in a cleaner, fresher, and dignified milonga After the unknown tango singer leaves the stage, Ani ta Lozano enters and receives cheers and applause. The song that Anita starts to sing triggers something, perhaps a shared memory about Celina, that both Marcelo and Mauro can relate to that changes their experiences at the milonga Marcelo has an epiphany about the milonga and Celina, who is brought back to his memory by the singing of Anita, because their voices sound so similar: [Anita] had a way of singing it dirty, and the hoarse voice helped some, especially when the lyrics had to be belted out. Wh en she'd been drinking, Celina 56 "La turbia taquillaLo que sigue es peor, no que sea malo porque ah nada es ninguna cosa precisa ; justamente el caosUn infierno de parque japons" (21 2). 57 "una mueca de goma y el micrfono escondido dentro, as el cantor podra tenerla en brazos y calentarse" (22).
72 had a voice like that, and suddenly I realized that the Santa Fe was Celina, the almost insupportable presence of Celina" (108). 58 Marcelo thinks Celina is the Santa Fe Palace, that it would be her "heaven." Even before th e old tango song begins, Marcelo realizes that "if she hadn't had to work in the dance halls, Celina would have enjoyed staying there" (108). 59 Celina simply had a love of tango, but her working situation was not the deciding factor if she stayed in the mil onga of Kasidis or not. One can say that Celina's "appearance" becomes a performance inside of the performance of the milonga at least for Mauro and Marcelo who seem to be the only ones aware of her, watching her. If the men had not been there to watch C elina, it is doubtful that the performance would have occurred. The reason for this is because the recognition Mauro and Marcelo had towards the vision or Celina look alike was the only thing that led them to watch her dance. To the other "monsters" and mi longa participants, Celina would not have stood out since she had the same physical characteristics of the "monsters," but she may have been observed for evaluation purposes instead of witness, that is because of dance skills instead of recognition. The on ly time when Marcelo stops being an ethnographer or passive audience member and lets his emotions and feelings take over is when he sees Celina. Celina's appearance can be viewed as being unpredictable, an aspect of tango music and dance. This is because C ortzar's style was still anecdotal at this time, he had not ventured far into surrealism. Because the story is so 58 "porque su estilo era canalla, necesitado de una voz un poco ronca y sucia pa ra esas letras llenas de diatriba. Celina tena esa voz cuando haba bebido, de pronto me di cuenta cmo el Santa Fe era Celina, la presencia casi insoportable de Celina" (24). 59 "pero si no hubiera tenido que trabajar en las milongas a Celina le hubiera gustado quedarse" (24).
73 realistic until Celina appears, the readers may be caught off guard by the supernatural addition. Seeing the vision of her makes the performa nce more personal, and it seems like he is able to appreciate her dancing in a way that it gives him closure and relief instead of simply observing unknown people for his "files". Marcelo's purpose changes from being the ethnographer to friend because, "su ddenly the table shook, I realized that it was Mauro's arm that was shaking, or mine, but we were not afraid it was something closer to dread and happiness and stomach aches" (112). 60 Marcelo loses a little of his observational skills, is disconnected from reality, not knowing whose arm is shaking, but at the same time feeling excited, happy, and emotional. These feelings are related to the performance because he is becoming more engaged with what he is observing and this reception of engagement makes Marcel o transform into an audience member instead of an ethnographic observer. The two men are transfixed on her image, doing nothing more than observing. The vocabulary used in the story is interspersed with terms such as "watch", "see", "look", as well as o ther forms of visual actions. The scene of Celina is especially full of this vocabulary, emphasizing the audience role of the two men. They have the exact same perspective and Marcelo says that he, "was following the direction of [Mauro's] look; without lo oking at each other [they] realized [they] were both seeing the same spot, 60 "La mesa tembl de golpe, yo saba que era el brazo de Mauro que temblaba, o el mo, pero no tenamos miedo, eso estaba ms cerca del espanto y la alegra y el estmago." (26).
74 [they] would fall on the identical couple, seeing the same head of hair and trousers" (111). 61 Her performance is still considered a social performance because of the setting at the milonga as well as the witnessing intentions of the audience creating the performance. Celina is not there to perform for anyone, she is there enjoying herself. The description of Celina mentions her "whirling" around the floor when the other dancers, who were always moving before that point, seemed to stop. Celina and her partner appear to be the only dancers in the milonga for a brief time. She dances so that her profile is shown from either side, her back, and her front were made visible. When Celina is dancing, smoke was filling the room from the barbeque in the booth next to them, distorting the faces and the walls, making the dancers and Celina look even more like "monsters." The smoke is so thick in the milonga that the line of chairs on the oppos ite wall became invisible, but somehow the vision of Celina can be seen through the smoke. It makes her look unlike herself; her face is disfigured, but also happy. The smoke plays a role of accentuating the performance in terms of atmosphere. The smoke ma kes the milonga more mysterious, as well as making the dancers seem like they are transforming even more. If we remember the definition of a performance, "a public presentation or exhibition, the action of representing another thing than the performer's tr ue identity," the smoke is assisting in the development of the tango dancers as representing "monsters," lower class tango dancers that have professional loves outside of the milonga Marcelo again realizes this is where Celina should be: 61 "le mostraba el camino; sin vernos sabamos (a m me parece que Mauro saba) la coincidencia de ese mirar, caamos sobre las mismas parejas, los mismos pelos y pantalones" (26).
75 I had enough in telligence left to gauge the devastation of her happiness, her face enraptured and stupid in her paradise finally gained; had it not been for the work and the customers, she could have had that at Kasidis' place. There was nothing to stop her now in her own heaven (112). 62 After the initial sight of Celina, Marcelo goes back to being an ethnographer. His excitement when he saw her is evidence of his fondness of her. Even though Marcelo has his epiphany about Celina before she becomes visible, he is sti ll fascinated to see her in the dance hall. The appearance of Celina transforms Mauro's purpose of distracting himself by dancing into a feeling of nostalgia by watching her feel so happy in her "heaven." After the song stops, the other dancers move back i nto the dance floor, at least from the perspectives of Mauro and Marcelo, and the crowd makes Celina disappear. Marcelo returns to being his old self, observing the crowd and "recovering [his] famous cynicism" (112). 63 Mauro, on the other hand, is shaken an d finds it a necessity to go find her. The vision of her makes him nostalgic, longing for his old life with Celina. The nostalgia of the tango music, the atmosphere of a low class establishment, the "monsters," the milongueras and the enjoyment of the tan go dancers happened to all be reminders of Celina. Cortzar had an interest in tango, as demonstrated by this story and its descriptive tango scene. The importance of tango, I believe is brought out by the character of Marcelo as an ethnographer, copyi ng everything into his "files" for further use. He is interested in the culture and customs of Argentina, also seen in other places, such as the 62 "Me qued inteligencia para medir la devastacin de su felicidad, su cara arrobada y estpida en el paraso al fin logrado; a s pudo ser ella en lo de Kasidis de no existir el trabajo y los clientes. Nada la ataba ahora en su cielo slo de ella" (27). 63 "rehaca y mi notorio cinismo" (27).
76 wake, among other random memories he has throughout the text. The tango scene demonstrates the creation of a so cial dance performance by using the unique elements tango provides of music, the setting of the milonga and the clothes of the "monsters" used by Marcelo to describe the lower class milonga becoming an audience when he is focusing on the music and dance that are tango aspects that do not change with the setting, but he is an ethnographic observer for the ethnic and social observations. The "monsters," milongueras Mauro, and Emma flow in and out of audience and performer roles. Along with Marcelo as the p erpetual observer, their intentions to observe as the audience make both performances occur in the same setting through the action of watching. The groups are separated by their appearances and purposes, and different elements attract them to the milonga Marcelo is there to observe for his "files", but he is attracted to music and dance as an audience. Mauro is dancing to distract himself, but is interested in the music. The milongueras are there to work, focusing on the dancing skills of their clients, a nd the "monsters" are enjoying themselves, watching the dancing, listening to the music, and attracted to the clothes. When Celina is seen, the tango dancers are ignored and Celina, sharing the same intentions of the "monsters," is made into a performance. Their experiences change as a result of her apparition, Mauro feeling nostalgic and Marcelo becoming more emotional because of the old tango song, Celina's manifestation, as well as her dance movements. Celina's performance produces the change in Marcelo that makes him become a true audience member through his visual engagement and emotions, unlike his entity as ethnographer where he avoids any connection with those whom he observes. The events at the milonga are appealing though
77 vision and/or audio for ea ch group present, transforming them into audience members through their interest in watching, desire to listen, and motivation for dancing.
78 Chapter 4 Even Foreigners are Enthralled: Tango Elements in Guillermopriet o's "And Still They Tango" Alma Guillermoprieto is a Mexican born journalist who consistently writes for The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books covering topics such as Nicaragua's Anastasio Somoza, as well as Mexican, Brazilian, Peruvian, Cuban, and other Latin American issues that are pertinent in understanding contemporary Latin America. She has written many books and articles about Latin America, including, Samba "Don't Cry For Me, Venezuela", Dancing with Cuba and "The Cuban Connection" (Th e New York Review of Books). She has received various awards for her writing, including the Latin American Studies Association Media Award in 1992, the George Polk award in 2000, and was chosen to be a part of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2 001 (Alma Guillermoprieto). She has "set the standard for elegant writing in English on Latin America," writes The New York Times Book Review ("Printable Biography"). Her account of the Argentine tango was written just after the economic collapse of 2001 a nd it provides a different type setting and chronological perspective from Cortzar. Guillermoprieto is an experienced dancer, having studied in New York with modern dance revolutionaries Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. She had been a performer in Twy la Tharp's company, another big name in modern dance. After her dance education and experience, she received an opportunity to teach in Cuba in 1970. Because dancing was so much a part of her life, she continued with it in her writing after she had left he r dance career. She had no previous experience with tango before she wrote for National Geographic in 2003, but while she was in Buenos Aires, she took dance classes, using her new found knowledge in her article, but nonetheless
79 Guillermoprieto is a foreig ner to the dance and it still seems intriguing to her in an exotic way. The economic crisis started many years before the actual market crash. According to Peter Katal, a journalist for TIME Magazine, there were three different causes that ended up coming together to produce the crisis. The first was that the Argentine peso and the dollar were valued as one to one in the world economy ten years before by Minister Domingo Cavallo in the Menem 64 administration. The reason for this equalization was to end hype rinflation, but in 1999 Brazil thwarted Argentina's plan by devaluing its currency. Therefore more could be bought for less in Brazil than Argentina. Secondly, the Menem administration borrowed too frequently, which led to an increased foreign and domestic debt, increasing interest rates in the process, and causing credit rates to become too expensive for many businesses to handle so many were put out of business. Third, the credit problem along with increased privatization in the early 90s created a proble m of unemployment. Each of these problems converged at the same time in 2001, causing the Argentine market to crash, devaluing the peso, and producing unrest in the country in the form of riots and cacerolazos (Katal par. 1 5). 65 There were terrible conseq uences that came from the crisis, including the GDP dropping 15% just after the crisis hit and the unemployment rate countrywide increased to 25%. Poverty was overwhelming, affecting almost half of the population, and it can still be seen almost ten years later. Guillermoprieto wrote her article, "And Still They 64 In 1989 he was elected president of Argentina in the first transfer of power in Argent ina from one constitutionally elected party to another since 1928. He worked to reform the structure of the state, privatize business, achieve a free market, and restore connections with the United Kingdom." (Carlos Menem, par. 2) 65 Cacerolazos are types o f riots that occurred during the time of the crisis when people would bang pots and pans in protest.
8 0 Tango," two years after the financial crisis of 2001 devastated the Argentine economy. One of the many results from that event was the reinvigoration of the appeal of dancing and listening to tango for the Argentine people. "And Still They Tango" is an informative National Geographic article that was written a few years after the initial crisis; however, it is still an important issue which the author relates to the new tango revival in dance and m usic. She recounts her journey as a foreigner, learning to tango, observing milongas and watches a dance class in a mall, which becomes a performance through her descriptions. The article contains aspects of tango history, culture, and techniques with whi ch foreigners are not familiar without losing the importance or awareness of the recent economic struggle. Guillermoprieto conveys the effects of the crisis in her article: Accordingly, on this Tuesday in October there are some 30 couples crowding the da nce area. An informal visual scan determines that many of them don't need classes. An informal poll establishes that, with five exceptions, at least one person in each of the couples is unemployed (8). The tango's popularity because of the crisis was one of the rare positive outcomes it had on the population. Since many of the participants in the class do not need lessons, it may be because the class is being offered as free. "Yet even as they struggled to pay their utility bills or avoid eviction, many p eople found new meaning in a music and a dance -that was neither easy nor frivolous. It suited the times" (2). The feelings of belonging and comfort are important to consider a cause of dancing when nationally the feeling is despair. "What [do] people who want to learn the dance come looking for. Company,' he says" (5). Along with the human comfort that arose from a dance class or a milonga,
81 the music could be related to as well. "The music's heartbroken, soaring, yearning lyricism is part of the essenti al definition of what it means to belong to this much abused, resplendent city" (2). According to Morgan James Luker, ethnomusicology professor at the University of Wisconsin, with fieldwork surrounding the crisis in relation to the tango, the nation's i dentity was called into question, the people did not know if their culture would survive the hard times, so the tango was an outlet for national and cultural values and identity since it was an aspect of the culture that was shared (Luker 69). For may tang o artists, Luker says that they see the tango as a way of, (re) exploring and (re) articulating a sense of Argentine identity that was radically undermined by the 2001 crisis and the political climate that contributed to it" (69). The present day tango bo om is set in different circumstances than that of the Golden Age; however, there are elements that have returned from that illustrious period that had disappeared until the crisis, such as orquestras tipicas 66 not seen in forty years (Luker 70). Larry Ro ther, a writer for The New York Times wrote an article in 2003 on the melancholy aspects of tango in relation to the economic crisis called "A Downer of a Dance, the Tango is in Again." Sentences such as, "every Argentine knows that when you're depressed there is nothing like a well played tango to make you even more morose" (Rother 1) and "Argentina's crisis would seem to be a perfect theme for new tangos" (Rother 2), are examples of the themes of tango songs that still create the sense of loss, nostalgia melancholy and even that the "new tangos" that he refers to will 66 Orquestras tipicas or typical orchestras are large section based ensembles that are made up of four violins, four bandonons, a piano, and bass, created in the Golden Age and reappeared after the 2001 crisis (Luker 69 70).
82 capture the essence as well; therefore, the fundamental themes of tango are timeless. There is nostalgia for the good days and melancholy for the present, in terms of the early 2000s, of wh ich Guillermoprieto is writing. The dance class Guillermoprieto portrays in the first pages of her article is reminiscent of the origins of tango. The Abasto was a neighborhood where immigrants thrived at the turn of the century. Toward the end of the 19 th century a flood of European immigrants, the largest number of them from Italy, settled in Argentina, and a great many of them found or invented work for themselves in this market and its environs. With their melodic singing -operatic, one might say -they enriched what was initially a plain music and a roughhouse dance: the tango (2). As a working class neighborhood, in the early 20 th century it was one of the marginal sites where the cultural exchanges happened to create tango music and dance. The Abasto is also referred to in Cortzar's "Las puertas, del cielo" as a market, the place where Mauro worked, demonstrating the historical significance of the location. Gardel had various opportunities to sing in the Abasto, making the barrio famous for it s association with the tango mania superstar. In the present day neighborhood, memories of Carlos Gardel remain painted on the Subte 67 stop, and his name is seen as the names of tango clubs, streets, and stores. Before the shopping mall, the neighborhood wa s the Mercado de Abasto, the city's central market until a few years before the crisis, when it was transformed, connecting to the Subte as a departure and arrival point (2 3). 67 The name for the Buenos Aires subway station, it is short for subterrneo or subterranean.
83 The article begins with the Abasto mall scene, the setting that is going to be analyzed as a theatrical performance. It is constructed like a performance, highlighting the dance teachers, Alicia Monti and Carlos Copello as performers and those who act as the audience, the shoppers. The dance class is composed of ordinary people and t he dance teachers are actually performers that have a tango show for tourists across the street. They provide their instructional services for free, maybe as a consequence of the crisis. The history of the tango is presented next, giving the reader a brief lesson about the tango's origins until the era of Carlos Gardel. Gardel's influence is still seen through the present day tango dancers in terms of style. Guillermoprieto enters and exits the Abasto scene occasionally, giving a historical fact, or her ne wly found experience with the tango. This change of settings and events can be unpredictable; she focuses on one topic, such as the dance class, for a few paragraphs then switches to the history, and returns to the dance class. As seen in the Cortzar stor y, Celina's appearance is also unpredictable and reminiscent of tango music and dance. Guillermoprieto has gone so far as to write about her nights at various milongas Salon Canning, El Beso, and Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso. She explains the standards of milongas the time that the dancers arrive, around 2 or 3 in the morning, orchestras that play, and how the women wait for men to chose them to dance. She is impressed with the milongas so much that her next scene is her taking a tango class. Music, ch ampagne, beautiful women, gorgeous men, perfume that drifts through the air like a song, songs that linger in the mind like perfume. The union of two bodies transformed into one? Total subjugation? My Humphrey Bogart? I decide that it's high time to sig n up for tango lessons (4).
84 It is her first tango experience and her dance teacher, Luis Lencioni keeps critiquing her movements, she drags her feet, looks at the floor, bounces instead of glides, even though she is a trained modern dancer. The movements a re so different she has trouble mastering them properly. It is also noted that she does not have enough emotion while dancing, another aspect she is not familiar with. The experience of dancing for her is not as romantic as it was to watch the performances unfold. Hard work is necessary, tango steps and figures are totally different than any other modern partner dance or dance in general. Guillermoprieto has two interviews in her article, one from a man at her dance class, and another from a man at the Aba sto class. Mariano, a man at her dance class, shows up almost every day at the studio, initially [he] came looking for simple human comfort" (6). He has been hit hard by the crisis, unemployed, without love, and homeless if it were not for the kindness of his brother to take him. At the tango class, he fell in love with another dancer, and is motivated to move to have a better life. It wasn't your typical approach,' he recalls, smiling. We had to dance together, I said hello, and then I embraced her. Before we had even had a conversation, I realized that, in the steps, we understood each other.' He would like to end up in Italy, he explained, and to this end he was taking language lessons at the Italian Embassy's cultural institute (6). After all o f his hard time, he found relief in the tango, by dancing. There he found someone he loved and is planning for his future. This is an example of why the tango has been such a positive influence on the Argentine people in the time of crisis. It provides the m with an outlet of their fears and sadness through the nostalgic music along with the comfort of dancing with others who share their same feelings.
85 "Tulio is the man at the Abasto class, a man that is employed and who "quit dancing the tango cold turkey for 26 years, he says, because he realized it was a vice that had already undermined his life" (8). For what reasons the tango was bad for him 26 years ago is not mentioned. He fell back in love with the dance while accompanying his friend to a tango less on one night. I tried a few steps myself, and the next thing I knew I was completely into the dance. I couldn't stop. I thought it was something that had died within me, but really it was just sleeping' "(9). Just as Marcelo accompanied Mauro to the mil onga Tulio received his closure in a different way, which was through dancing, compared to Marcelo gaining closure though watching. Tango has become a necessary part for each of these men's lives, as well as for countless others. The tango in the crisis h as been reinvented to pertain to depressed, lonely, and heartsick people, who look for comfort and company of others, as well as the enjoyment for themselves. It gives them a peace of mind when in a time of turmoil they have nowhere else to turn. The Abas to dance class is a prime example of the economic crisis being a catalyst for tango dancing and listening to tango music. The setting is an important part of the creation of the dance performance, which is categorized as theatrical. What would usually be c ategorized as a social performance changes because of the context of the setting. Guillermoprieto describes the scene in a way that makes the event seem like the readers and the observers at the mall are the audience of a theatrical show. The audience does not create the performance because the location of the event implies that the intentions of the performers, especially the instructors are to perform. Unlike the traditional setting of a theatrical performance, as seen in the Tami Tango Trio event, the Ab asto mall does not have a stage, but the center plaza of the mall acts as one. The audience is composed of the
86 mall shoppers, who stop to watch and maybe to evaluate, but they do not participate, as would happen in a social performance. Depending on the pe rspective, the students can be the audience or the performers, but they do not flow in and out like the social dancers. The shoppers may see them as performers from their outside point of view and the students may see themselves as audience members towards their teachers. The location of the class at the Abasto can be seen as a stage. We first see Alicia Monti walk "down the hallway of the Abasto shopping mall" (1). It seems that before she reaches the plaza, the hallway is representative of a backstage sc enario. Performers may walk down hallways and through corridors in order to reach the stage, depending on the design of the theater. The author provides the readers with other information that explains that this is not a typical performance, describing the "shoe stores, the discount kitchen goods, and the food court" (1), and this part of the setting is established before the reader knows there is a dance class about to begin. Monti is still heading towards the central plaza when we find out there is a danc e class, the music is introduced, and Monti's audience of her students comes into view. Carlos Copello, Monti's partner, "appears moments later" (1), probably from the other side of the mall. The word, "appears" makes it seem like he emerges from the edge of the stage, from behind the curtain, from the long hallway leading up to the plaza. Like the Tami Trio performance, the dancers move towards each other from opposite directions of the stage. In addition to the description of the setting, the appearances of the audience versus Monti and Copello are different, which will be explained below, giving the reader another way to differentiate between the groups.
87 Aside from the description of the hallway and central plaza, the author makes the description of the Abasto turn into a theatrical performance by mentioning the music: "Already, hallowed tango recordings are blaring muddily from the speaker system" (1). The music begins to play even before the dance class begins, "precisely five minutes" (1) before 7:30 This early start to the music is reminiscent of a type of overture one would experience in the theater, the beginning of a performance introduced by a musical piece, usually by the orchestra. It is interesting that Guillermoprieto describes the music as being "hallowed," giving the readers a sense of nostalgia and pride. Guillermoprieto affirms a connection between the music and the audience: [Tango] is at the center of the emotional life of porteo s -the inhabitants of the port city of Buenos Aires -bec ause the music's heartbroken, soaring, yearning lyricism is part of the essential definition of what it means to belong to this much abused, resplendent city (2). This could indicate the nostalgia the music promotes, the different feelings of sadness or d istress the Argentine people at the time were so familiar with, which could be another reason why the audience stops to watch, not only because of the dancing or the event taking place in an irregular location. In accordance with the descriptions of the m usic and setting, Monti and Copello create the theatrical performance through their intentions and how they are described in terms of appearance and behavior by the author. Guillermoprieto describes Monti walking down the mall's hallway like she is perform ing. She has "short black hair, tight pink dress, all sinew and no nonsense, [and] strides like an athlete down the hallway of the Abasto shopping mall in five inch patent leather spike heels, and the few shoppers in
88 sight step aside respectfully at her ap proach" (1). Monti is imposing in her appearance. She looks intimidating and acts like she is on a mission. Perhaps some shoppers know who she is and what she is doing, but for the most part, Monti's entrance calls for respect simply because she looks like a tango dancer. The music in the background provides the ambiance of a performance and it seems like she is preparing for the stage of the central plaza. Her audience is awaiting her which include, "a couple of dozen men and women of all ages some in pair s, some alone -are shedding their coats and woolly scarves, smiling, eager" (1). From the reactions of the audience, they are impatient for the class to start, for Monti to perform for them in terms of showing the students what figures and movements to lea rn while she dances with her partner. Carlos Copello is dressed in "costume" as well, with a "double breasted suit" (1), and enters the scene smoothly, having a different attitude than Monti, lighter, cheerful, excited, as opposed to threatening and powe rful. Copello has pomade in his hair, making it as shiny as Monti's heels. This description of symmetry or uniformity creates a stronger sense of theatrical costumes. Perhaps the tango music from the speaker system has the same effect on Copello, since his "trademark raffish smile [is] lighting his path" (1), and "his gliding, merry walk is a dance in itself" (1). Similarly to Monti, "the students move toward him expectantly" (1). The two instructors appear to have their students engaged even before the cla ss starts form the way they are described. Their entrance was a performance without any dancing involved, although they have gaits that are rhythmic, perhaps responding to the feeling of the music. Their approach is also reminiscent of the compadritos in t erms of a fight or a battle. Monti and Copello are coming from two opposite sides of the mall, eventually meeting in the middle, an
89 imposing personality versus a carefree attitude that will either clash or combine. The sound of the tango music combined wit h the clean, smooth appearances and actions of the couple is just the beginning of the performance, although it makes an impression on the shoppers and the students already. The fact that the instructors are also real theatrical performers makes their entr ance even more alluring since their job is to perform for tourists: Some hours after the end of tonight's free class, Copello and Monti will bring the house down during their floor show at Esquina Carlos Gardel, an elegant dinner theater for tourists hou sed in an old canteen across the street from the Abasto shopping mall (3). Guillermoprieto's descriptions along with the theatrical experience of the instructors, their presence in the Abasto is not difficult to transform into an imitation of a theatrica l dance performance even though it is unorthodox. The author, Monti, and Copello understand what allures an audience, in this case their own students as well as the shoppers. The performance is created from two angles. The instructors are have chosen their clothing and they makes it seem like their walking is almost like dancing, the music is heard from the speakers in the background and this is what is seen and heard by the audience. Guillermoprieto describes all of the elements in a progressing way to t he readers. She is making them watch through reading, creating the performance in a glamorous way, putting together the entrance, the clothing, the music, and the setting so the readers feel as though they are sitting in a theater. The shoppers may or may not feel this way because they enter the scene at different times, are positioned differently, and may not see
90 everything that is described by Guillermoprieto. However, in either case, the performance is theatrical because of the intentions of the instruct ors and most likely the students because they have chosen to dance willingly in front of a crowd. As the class gets underway, the introduction of dancing along with the clothing and music appeals to the shoppers and the dance class is seen as a theatrical performance. The creation of the performance is also due to Guillermoprieto's background as a dancer; she knows what elements of the stage and the performers are necessary. Her article is composed of the technical dance movements and of the descriptions of the clothes, music, and history, giving the reader evidence of her dancing past and of her journalistic present. Returning to chapter 2, observers with higher skills may be judging how the performers are dancing. Guillermoprieto's dance experience is fr om a different genre entirely; however, she still understands the hard work and determination dance expects. To expand on her knowledge of tango, she takes dance classes to emphasize the unique movements tango contains, so dissimilar to ballet or modern mo vements. She has no authority to evaluate the performance of the dancers, but she can provide detailed descriptions of the figures and movements in a technical way, unlike a writer without any dance experience who may just see the dancing as less demanding The shoppers form the audience of the tango performance. Monti and Copello seem to have the intentions of performing without the necessity of the audience, but some shoppers stop to watch because they are curious. The audience can be considered witness b ecause they may not have the ability to understand or have the competence to know how tango is performed correctly and how much work is necessary to have it seem "effortless" (3), a word used by Guillermoprieto to describe her interpretation of the tango b efore she
91 had danced it herself. In a way she is deceiving the readers because she has a dance background, and understands the hard work of practicing to make a dance look flawless; however, tango does not compare to modern dance in terms of movement, maki ng her experience difficult. For the shoppers, the appeal to watch the class lies in the setting, (since the shopping mall is a strange place), the dancing, Monti and Copello's costumes, and the "hallowed" tango music. One cannot be certain which element i s attracting the "few shy passerbys" (3) but it can be assumed they are drawn to at least one aspect interesting to them. The location of the shoppers may have a lot to do with which element attracts them. If some shoppers are farther away than others, th e music may be the only thing they can hear, making the instructions of Monti and Copello inaudible, perhaps having the audience member unaware of the dance class, but conscious of tango dancing, having the class appear more like a theatrical show. For sho ppers closer to the event, the experience may be different in that they may notice the clothing or the various levels of dancing of the students and the achievements and failures of dance figures, and this individual may notice the hard work involved as op posed to one farther away just witnessing dancing. The central plaza is a prime location for the dance class to be observed, which may be the objective of Monti and Copello to attract more students or it may be like a show for them. From the audience's per spective, they may view the entire class as performers, not just the teachers like the students do. The roles of student and teacher may not be well defined to an outside observer except for the distinguishing clothing and perhaps the levels of dancing. Th ere may be experienced dancers in the mall passing and enjoying the
92 dance class to their full capacity. These members may become evaluators instead of witnesses. Because so few shoppers are said to stop and watch, many shoppers may not be interested in the event or consider the tango class something that is inappropriate to be done in the center of a mall, and it may bother them because they might have to walk around or move through a crowd of people watching. The shoppers in the Abasto are only described a few brief times, they "step aside respectfully" (1), are "shy passer bys" (3), and as having "hypnotic fascination" (3). The actions of the shoppers are different than the performers whichever time they are mentioned. In contrast with Monti and Copello, the audience is less confident and curious to what is happening, while the instructors are aware of their performance and have poise while entering and dancing. The students are different than the shoppers as well because they have enough courage to be dan cing in front of an audience, they are more impatient to learn to dance than are intimidated by the instructors, and because they are aware of the class that is happening, they are less fascinated and more focused because their purposes are to learn from w atching, not just to be witness. The process of acknowledging and taking the time to watch the dance class allows those shoppers to become an audience, sharing time and space, a connection that will never happen exactly the same again. The shoppers who do not grasp what is going on and continue shopping do not share this experience and therefore can be seen as a separate group within that of the crowd of mall goers. There is an evolution or transformation that happens to the shoppers, much like Marcelo's t ransformation from observer to audience. The shoppers are at first respectful to the performers, and it seems like they do not want to watch at first, perhaps they are
93 too intimidated by Monti's presence. Then they become shy passerbys, suggesting that the y are starting to evolve into more curious and less cautious audience members, they want to be involved in the performance Monti and Copello lead. Lastly, the shoppers are in hypnotic fascination, which means that they have changed from having nothing to d o with watching the performers into audience members who cannot be pulled away from the event because their curiosity and interest has increased, probably from one or more of the elements. The students in the dance class can be seen as both audience and p erformers, although these roles depend on the perspective of the audience. From the point of view of the shoppers, the students combine with the teachers to form a performance. They are separated by their clothing and levels of dancing, but are still in th e center plaza and aware that they are dancing in front of an audience. It is assumed that the students would not participate in the class if they did not want to dance in the midst of a crowded mall. Their purposes for entertainment are unknown, but it is obvious that the students are there to learn to dance. What separates them from the instructors in the perspective of the shoppers is primarily the clothing. The dancers are a part of the hard stricken working masses obvious by their tawdry clothing. "Mos t are wearing tennis shoes or moccasins. A couple of the men have grimy hands from work, and their clothes look cheap" (1). As opposed to the glamorous "costumes" of Monti and Copello, the students have nothing that makes them stand out besides the fact th at they are dancing. As mentioned before, the dance class is composed of about 30 couples, a good amount of people attracted to the free class and willing to be in front of an audience. Guillermoprieto estimates that may do not need classes. Not only is th e glamorous clothing utilized by
94 Monti and Copello to create a performance, but it is also used to differentiate between the two groups in the class. If the instructors and the students were dressed similarly, it would be fairly difficult to determine if i t was a dance class or if it was a milonga The students as audience are only seen from the perspective of the students themselves and the instructors. They are watching the entrance of the instructors and after that, they are concerned with imitating the movements shown to them. "Copello holds Monti firmly but at a distance, as if the two were squeezing a third person between them, and the others try to imitate the couple's stance" (1). In this case, their dancing is something that is pleasurable for them selves, much like a social dance, and similar to the principle reasons the dancers in the Tami Trio performance danced. "A very young man wearing tennis shoes and a woman in moccasins are grinning happily. They've just figured out the coordination of the b asic step, and now they're circling counterclockwise in harmony around the floor" (1). The shoppers cannot feel the achievement of the couple, but can only observe from the outside and be allured by the dancing. Guillermoprieto describes the students as "s ome in pairs, some alone -are shedding their coats and woolly scarves" (1) acting like audience members at a theater, taking off their outside clothing and getting ready for a show. This contrasts with the instructors, who have nothing else on them than t heir "costumes," another indication that they seem like performers, leaving their regular clothing and belongings "backstage". Guillermoprieto does not intervene in the performance of the dance class by participating, on the contrary, she sits on the sid elines as witness, describing the audience and performers to the readers, acting as a intermediary for the readers who will never experience the Abasto dance class by creating the performance as she sees it. The
95 shoppers become the audience because they ar e attracted to the dancing, music, and/ or clothing of the performers in the center of the mall. They do not rely on a description of the author, but from the intentions of the performers. Guillermoprieto captures this process in her description for the re aders, and it may seem that everything she describes is part of the performance. The readers re relying on Guillermoprieto to create the performance, but she is depending on the intentions of the performers in order to produce her article. Therefore, it co mes down to the performers creating the actual theatrical performance. She is an outsider of Buenos Aires, like the readers, and probably has a different perspective on the tango than the shoppers. For Guillermoprieto, she is not a "shy passer by," but a n enthused writer, and her purpose there is different than the shoppers because she is present to gain information about the tango, the Abasto, and the tango class for American readers, but is still fascinated. She probably has more curiosity than the shop pers because of the newness of the dance, but for porteos the tango does not seem like anything out of the ordinary, just where it is taking place. She portrays her vision to the readers who have similar perspectives towards tango. Guillermoprieto descri bes the tango elements in the Abasto scene as well as the milongas that she observes for more research. She focuses on the clothing, the music, the settings, and the dancing to make them as appealing to her readers as they are to her. As an audience member at the Abasto and certain milongas Guillermoprieto conveys to the readers settings that emphasize tango elements. In her three examples of milongas she gives pieces of the setting, whether it is the clothes the dancers are wearing, where the milonga is held, the music, or how they dance. As seen above, the
96 Abasto scene captures all of the tango elements and will be further discussed below. The fact that she describes these aspects suggests that they are what draw audiences to watch performances or to cre ate performances. While at Salon Canning, she describes the dancers as "fashionably dressed Argentine couples" (4) watching "experienced tango dancers take the center of the floor" (4). This milonga happens on Thursdays and because of the experienced danci ng, "tango study groups from abroad" choose to go there to observe and research. It seems that the allure of this specific milonga lies in the dancing. On the other hand, a milonga called the Sunderland is held at an athletic club on Saturdays where Guil lermoprieto considers the music as the fundamental attraction by explaining, "sometimes a small, skillful tango orchestra plays for a couple of hours somewhere between 2 and 3 a.m." (4). The last milonga the author comments upon is El Beso, on Wednesdays. At this particular social dance, the fashion is said to be glamorous: "The men, many dressed in black pants and shirts and smoking nonchalantly, look in command. The women look impossibly glamorous in high heels, tight short skirts, skinny tops all done in glitter" (4). In addition to the fashion, she gives an example of a type of power struggle seen between the men and the women. "One of the men nods in the direction of a woman sitting at a table across from him. The woman catches his glance, smoothes her skirt, waits for this partner to cross the floor" (4). She has to be picked by the man, she cannot choose her own partner, so the struggle is seen in her inability to choose, but then she has to wait for him to come to her, where she can be seen as more do minant because he does not control her every movement, she makes him come to her if he is really serious about the dance.
97 In each milonga Guillermoprieto describes an element that impressed her the most, although every milonga has music and dancing, and it can be assumed fashionably dressed participants, even though that element is not specified at the Sunderland; however, Guillermoprieto concludes her milonga experience by considering, "beautiful women, gorgeous men, perfume that drifts through the air like a song, songs that linger in the mind like perfume I decide that it's high time to sign up for tango lessons" (4). Her reflection is what a milonga represents to her, a romantic type of atmosphere, glamorous, dramatic, and alluring enough to take her first tango lesson. Even though she describes the clothing of the dancers as glamorous, one could assume that because of the crisis, the clothes are old or out of style, but they are the best that the dancers have. Guillermoprieto portrays the Abasto dan ce class like all the milongas melded into one event. Because of her detailed description of the mall setting, a performance takes place. That is not to say the milongas are any different than that of the Santa Fe Palace, but the focus on them is not as st rong, she does not give enough information about the audience and performers. However, whenever there are observers in a social dance with the intention of receiving entertainment or pleasure from watching, a performance is created. The clothing of Monti a nd Copello are typical of a tango dancer. Monti is dressed in a "tight pink dress" with "five inch patent leather spike heels" and this appearance is similar to what was explained in chapter 1 concerning Argentine tango dancers dressing in colorful clothes when they dance, as opposed to the costumes used in Tango Argentino of black, grey, and white. This is probably to attract the men at milongas. As for Copello, his "pomade makes his hair shine like patent leather," and he is wearing "his double breasted s uit." These images are reminiscent of tango mania, when
98 pomade was at its height in popularity and being shipped to Europe in copious amounts and along with the suit, is the style of Carlos Gardel. The dancing is an element that Guillermoprieto can analy ze technically, but makes the choreography eloquent because she is a journalist. Technically, "Copello nudges his right knee into the inside of Monti's and pushes her torso slightly leftward with his right hand, forcing her to step back and behind herself. In four steps she circles around to face him again" (3). The choreography is clearly defined and what the couple is doing can be imagined by the readers. Her journalistic writing is also present, "The mechanics are more or less clear; the effect when they put the steps together is wonderful and mysterious. Copello is the effortless center of Monti's gravity" (3). Expressions of feeling and emotions are established in this phase of the dancing description. Another instance of power struggle happens while Gu illermoprieto is describing this dance: He pushes her slightly away, and she spins around immediately in order to face him again: Here I am. He steps backward, and she follows urgently: Don't ever leave me. He leans toward her, and she leans back, the tough, short haired woman suddenly pliant as a willow: I am yours (3). He leads and she follows, but then she will lean away when he leans towards her. There are many contradicting and corresponding movements between the partners in tango that are remin iscent of the man's masculinity and pride, the struggles perhaps going back to the brothels and the prostitutes and compadritos dancing together, not always getting along and demonstrating movements that pull away from each partner, but when they do comply the movements worked together to have the man lead and the woman follow.
99 Dance is an important aspect for her because of her dance background and even though the fashion and music are included in the theatrical performance description, they are not as de tailed and not as understood to her as the movements. After Guillermoprieto mentions the music "bellowing" from the mall, there is no other description of the sound until she is explaining the history of the Abasto. What she is hearing in the mall is prob ably how she describes the bandonen "unmistakable mournful wails and underlying whump whump whump of the classic tango sound" (2). Furthermore, she tells the readers of the essence of tango lyrics and of Carlos Gardel, who "sang of what makes humans grie ve everywhere: failure, the passing of time, the death of love and trust" (2). For Guillermoprieto, the music does not impress her to the extent of the dancers and fellow Argentines who were probably listening to the lyrics and the lonely sound of the band onen to help them cope with the hard times on the early 2000s. She does not dance or listen to the music for the same reasons as the porteos. In conclusion, as the narrator, Guillermoprieto describes the situation in the Abasto as a theatrical performa nce for the readers, using the central plaza setting, the reverberating music, the "costumes", and her knowledge of dancing and performing. The instructors assist in the creation of the performance because of their intentions. The shoppers will probably ne ver read Guillermoprieto's article, so they are relying on the clothing, intentions, music, and dancing that are presented in front of them to create the performance. The tango elements exist even after the economic crisis, suggesting that they can survive times when new clothes cannot be purchased and dance classes cannot be afforded, however those obstacles were overcome.
100 Conclusion In conclusion, the tango maintains its unique elements even after changes in chronology, dance and performance type, an d context, and these elements assist in the creation of performances by the appeal they give to attract audiences. The different dance types studied in this thesis were social and theatrical, taking a very traditional and an untraditional performance setti ng to compare the results of analyses to determine that the tango elements of fashion, dance choreography, and music are still present in each case. From these results I find that it is logical to assume the tango elements are found in any given tango perf ormance, during any period in its history. In each analysis, historical references were made relating to the compadrito or other forms of cultural heritage dating back to the beginning of the 20 th century suggesting the tango elements have not lost their h istorical or cultural influence. The tango has more of an opportunity to be made into a performance in an untraditional situation as opposed to other dances because the tango has these unique elements that cannot be found in any other modern partner dance. I also believe that the tango, as well as any other dance event, can become a performance depending on the intentions of those performing, as seen in theatrical, ritual, and cultural categories, while social performances also deemed untraditional are crea ted by the intentions of the audience, since the dancers do not have the intention to perform. In the Cortzar analysis, the tango setting is a social performance because of the roles of witness, evaluator, and participant the audience becomes. The Guill ermoprieto setting is theatrical because of a mixture of her descriptions along with the intentions of the performers. For a cultural performance of tango, an example would be a festival or a competition, explained in chapter 1. Ritual tango performances I am still unable to
101 determine because of the basis ritual dances are performed, to help communities or ask a deity for salvation. Even though tango may not be as versatile to transform into every type of performance, it can still be danced in the streets, in a mall, in buildings, in studios, on stage, and around the world. The tango in both of the analyses was in a different spectrum. Marcelo describes a lower class tango and Guillermoprieto is witness to a glamorous and romantic tango. The settings of G uillermoprieto's "And Still They tango" and Cortzar's "Las puertas del cielo" have their similarities and differences. The narrators are from two different places. Marcelo is a native of Buenos Aires and he has prejudices towards social and ethnic qualiti es of the city, assuming the role of an ethnographer. Guillermoprieto is a foreign born journalist that is visiting the city in order to explore the tango and its glamorous qualities. The milongas represented in this article are differently portrayed than the scene of Cortzar's Santa Fe Palace. Guillermoprieto is a different voice, a foreigner, as opposed to Marcelo, the local upper class man. To Guillermoprieto, the tango seems romantic; it is like a fantasy, something exotic, and a new experience. Marcel o has probably been subjected to the tango culture most of his life, it is nothing new to him, and the class and racial boundaries are more pronounced than in Guillermoprieto's position and time. The key is that for both narrators, the elements produce an attraction to watch, and in Guillermoprieto's case also to dance. Guillermoprieto does not have enough experience with tango to evaluate the performance, but acts as a witness in order to describe to the readers what is taking place, such as Marcelo does, except Marcelo is more interested in social aspects of the milonga and Guillermoprieto enjoys the dancing. She describes the shoppers as the audience and
102 also what they are seeing, but Marcelo is the narrator and audience in one, so he creates the perform ance through his descriptions and also acts as the observer. Each of the author's readers is different as well. For Cortzar, he is writing anecdotally at the time. His audience is the people of Buenos Aires, which would be familiar with the tango scene Ma rcelo describes, cabecitas negras and other cultural aspects the narrator points out. Guillermoprieto's audience are American National Geographic readers, curious and probably foreign to the tango like the author. The article is written in an informative way, giving the readers historical and social conditions that are associated with the tango, as well as the economic crisis. The time of each work is about 50 years apart, Cortzar's story set in the Golden Age and Guillermoprieto's in the early 2000s. T hey happen at different places, one at the Abasto shopping mall, which was not created until the 1990s, and the other in a lower class milonga bringing out both extremes of the tango world, the glamorous and the less dignified. In both cases the tango ele ments remain strong, suggesting that socioeconomic and historical aspects do not have an effect. For a more detailed account of the continuity of the tango elements, tango in other parts of the world could be a future study. This thesis only demonstrated o ne example of tango outside of Argentina or not danced by Argentines, the milonga party at the Sara Bay Dance Studio; however, the tango elements survived even then, which gives me the assumption that globally, the tango preserves its elements.
103 Appen dix Tami Tango Tro Performance Questionnaire Purpose: The purpose of this questionnaire is not an evaluation, but to help gain a better understanding of the degree of connection felt between the audience and the performers and their performance, as well as the notion of spectacle and the role and meaning of the audience and performers in a more concrete way. 1) What were your expectations before the performance? The show was going to be enjoyable/exciting. The show w as going to be boring/uninteresting. I did not know what to expect. Other _____________________ 2) What is your previous experience with tango and/or music in general? Music Dan ce (as part of the audience) Dance (participation) 3) How knowledgeable do you consider yourself about Argentina: very regular little not at all Tango history: very regular little not at all 4) Why did you attend the event? To enjoy a show. For class. To evaluate/ assess the performance. Interest of Argentina/ tango. Curiosity/ to learn about another culture, dance, or music. Other_____________________ 5) Where were you located in the auditorium? Check the area that applies: Front Center Front Left
104 Front Right Middle Center Middle Left Middle Right Back Center Back Left Back Right 6) What is your background? Age: _________ Gender: M F Occupation: _____________________ 7) What were you paying attention to? : Looking at the three featur es of the performance, circle 1, the least attention; 2, moderate attention; 3, the most attention. music 1 2 3 dance 1 2 3 cultural context 1 2 3 Provide specific examples of what aspect of the highest ranking feature (music, dance, or cultural context) attracted you the most (i.e. dancer's feet movements, the guitarist, or a specific part of the lecture). 8) Based on expectations listed i n question #1, check what best describes the outcome: Expectations were me t It exceeded my expectations It was a disappointment 9) Did you feel emotionally or intellectually connected to the musicians and their performance? Extremely Very Some None 10) How much did you feel connected to the performers? Extremely Very Some None 11) Were you able to evaluate the performance comfortably, in terms of success? Yes No 12) Was there any question you would have liked to ask the performer?
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