Dance Lovers Magazine (November 1925)
Interpreting the Argentine Rhythm
by Addison Fowler and Florenz Tamara
We have illustrated in this article four figures of the Argentine Tango, all typical and easily mastered when one has learned the art of accenting the rhythm, which is such an important factor in accomplishing the Argentine style of Tango.
No dance has ever been so misrepresented as the Tango, due to the fact that almost everyone has thought it consisted of a lot of intricate steps, kicking and much swinging of the limbs. In reality it is just a dreamy, gliding, simple series of slow steps. That is the key to the Argentine Ballroom Tango. The more moody it is, the more fascinating it becomes. The slow steps are divided by quicker little movements here and there, which is perhaps the reason why everyone appears to tango differently. There are no limits to the number of steps one may do. In fact, it is possible to tango all night and never repeat a single figure. Because of its variations, the Tango is one of the most interesting of all dance studies.
Figure one illustrates a step that should delight every ambitious dancer. This is for exhibition Tango and to those who have not danced this type of step it is suggested that you first practice foot rhythm and heel stamping as it will help to acquire the proper style. The stamping should be just loud enough to be heard above the music, but not to detract from it, and these steps should come in the dance at a time when the rhythm is broken and marked, rather than on a smooth strain. Save the latter for the gliding and swaying figures. This will make the dance moody and you will enjoy interpreting the music this way.
The second figure illustrates the type of step to accompany the more quiets strains of the Tango. It suggests a feeling of relaxation and the sweeping movement of the step calls for the sensuous strains rather than a marked tempo. Another important thing to remember about the Tango is this: never try to do too many steps in one dance, but repeat each step several times by dividing them up with Cortés (described in the October issue of Dance Lovers Magazine), or in dancing in different positions. Tangos should not appear crowded. In the Fox-trot or One-step you may do all the fancy steps you wish to, but half the beauty of Tango lies in its simple grace and restful charm. When you can remember all this advice you have learned a great deal about Tango. Above all things listen to the music. It will tell you just when and where to do the steps we are offering you.
Every dance must have a finish, whether exhibition or ballroom dancing, and Illustration three is for the former–just an exotic touch of the Argentine. It is one of our own personal tributes to “Tango el Gaucho,” at the end of which we endeavor to express, in this characteristic attitude, “Adios.”
Once when viewing a Tango contest, merely out of curiosity, we were greatly surprised to see how many couples danced a really beautiful Tango but failed to be considered for a prize. The reason was a very simple one, however.
The beauty of the steps was lessened by the extremely tight skirt of the lady and her flat-heeled shoes–two things that will ruin the most beautiful Tango. A full skirt gives lines to the body, especially in Cortés, and French heels give the final touch of grace to the dancer. High heels are a necessity because of the many steps that are accented by the stamp of the feet or the clicking of heels. In Spain and South America the high heel is exaggerated and always will be. The Spanish dancer fully appreciates the value of high heels for her work, for there could be no Spanish dancing without them.