modified 01 july 2007 - scroll for video clips)
The roots of the close embrace-hold or "Estilo Milonguero",
also called Apilado
(from apilar: to pile up, tightly together / crowded), lies
in the liberal ‘twenties. The demografic male/female balance
was getting equal and as the First World War had changed the role
of women, dating became more easy. The opening of cabarets changed
gradually the image of tango criollo as a brotheldance. Dancing gained
popularity and by 1919 many dancehalls had opened. Both men and women
went to crowded tango clubs and confiterías, where they danced
very close socialized, the woman’s head over her partner’s
right shoulder, so he could whisper in her ear and visa versa. The
Second World War redifined the gender roles even more.
From '45, the Urquiza town became the breeding place for the Villa
Urquiza "milonguero"-style. It is related to Luis Lemos,
nicknamed "Milonguita", who had an unique elegance and danced
like an angel, and Josè Brahemcha, "El Turco". Villa
Urquiza "milonguero" is an elegant and rhythmic style with
long steps, a firm position and using great, recognizable pauses.
Carlos Gavito: " The secret of tango is in this moment
of improvisation that happens between step and step. It is to make
the impossible thing possible: to dance silence. This is essential
to learn in tangodance, the real dance, that of the silence, of following
the melody. The milongueros personify, incarnate that hidden treasure
of the tanguera dance, the representation of a Buenosairean- porteño
imaginary which belongs to another time, the conservation of codes
in extinction, a source of inexhaustible knowledge, wisdom and the
delicacy, subtility of an unique dance.
" The secret of tango
is in this moment of improvisation that happens between step and step.
It is to make the impossible thing possible: to dance silence
", says Carlos Gavito, recognized milonguero
and Zen philosopher of the dance, who spent half of his life looking
for this moment of illumination in the dance, his choreographies astonished
people of the contemporary dance like Oscar Araiz.
- First, to dance it is to know how to listen to music. "Nocturnal"
is like listening to the street at night, it is incredible. All noises
must be dance.
"In the music are all the steps. The low one, for example,
marks the walk of the man with all the problems of existence. There
is the violin, which sounds as the woman.. That's why, when one is
dancing and comes a very pretty part of violin has to say to the woman:
' Dance me, dance me, bailame, bailame´. Later the piano, that
is the moment at which both are walking together. Then there is a
comunión of movements. And El Bandoneón,
in which lives the spirit of tango Argentino. It is like a pomp of
soap and I get there in, inside. The pomp moves inside with me,
but I do not move.
This is essential to learn in tangodance, the real dance, that of
the silence, of following the melody.
Carlos Gavito: " The important thing is to know why we want
to dance. We dance a solitude that we have inside us and cannot occupy
with anything. This gap, that emptiness to which we put movement is
the tango. "
Till not long ago time, the milongueros were destined to die in the
anonymity of the dance. But the phenomenon of the tango in the whole
world transformed them into last decade into the figures looked by
prestigious artists as Pina Bauch, Carlos Saura, Sally Porter and
for ballet dancers dedicated as Miguel Angel Zotto, who inspired by
this dance de salón with style and elegance for his spectacles.
The milongueros personify, incarnate that hidden treasure of the dance
tanguera, the representation of a Buenosairean- porteño imaginary
which belongs to another time, the conservation of codes in extinction,
a source of inexhaustible knowledge, wisdom and the delicacy, subtility
of an unique dance. Carlos Gavito y Puppy Castello they belong to
this race of dancers.
Popular in the milonguero world, Gavito and Castello they were summoned
to overturn their lessons in the project Ballet School of Argentine
Tango, that it will try to teach to the new generations the secrets
and the identity of that dancel, next to other milongueros outstanding
like the "Pibe" Avellaneda, the "Gitano-Gypsy"
Domínguez, the "Turco-Turk" Jose, Gerald Portalea
or "Chino-Chinese" the Perico, among others.
Puppy Castello is the counterface of Gavito. His dance and his comments
are so sharp and definitive as the sheet of a razor. The milonguero
of Boulogne comes of an epoch in the one that was practised between
men and the important thing was to extract an own style. " Now
the pibes dance all the equal ones. Notice that one: Pará pibe
that you are not traversing the group! ", says Puppy Castello
to a young beginner who stands firm, frozen by the comment of the
And wherefrom does his style come?
Of people like Gerardo Portalea, who does not have a great change
of steps, but it has an impressive cadenza. Better or worsened, my
style comes from these old men of Urquiza. Well paradito, armed good,
taking the compass. Not running, because now they dance you a Pugliese
and seem that they dance you a D'Arienzo. Earlier, in the contests,
at which they were looking for you was the compass and the elegance,
more than the steps. To walk is everything.
They are the last milongueros. Those that were hardened
in the clubs of Urquiza, Pompeya, Slaughter houses and Avellaneda;
those that know to walk the track and conserve the dance to the floor,
and those that were received in the academy of the street. Now they
are rescued of the negligence, for the Ballet School and for a documentary
that Bebe Kamín is filming. click
for source: lanacion
* The legendary dancer Carlos Gavito (°1942),
passed away on the 1st of July 2005. He started his career as a tango
dancer in 1965 in Buenos Aires. He joined the cast Forever Tango
on December 1995, dancing and choreographing two classics of
the show "S.V.P" and "A EVARISTO CARRIEGO", with
Marcela Duran. He was a true representative of the milonguero style,
very close up and passionate dance.
Perceptions of performances
are mostly seen from the point of view of the audience, reducing it
to the privileged senses which are sight and hearing, reducing the
act of dancing to its elegant and stylish visual image. Intensity
however, relates to all senses, they are all engaged during dancing.
All of them play a shining part. The silence of the close embrace
allows them to enter the relationship even more brightly. It becomes
a thing in itself. The key is body knowledge. In communication,
feelings are explored and experienced by the own body. If one knows
it, one can recognize it.
Visual channels only perceive visual phenomena, it is as making
a split between mind and body. Moreover, it is not always certain
that visual images are understood in terms of a real exchange between
the performer and the viewer. Movements have symbolic significances,
which have become choreographic and aesthetic components in their
own right, without necessarily referring directly back to their real
life sources. Maybe a visual design is attractive because one has
no idea what it means. So when an audience 'watches' a performance,
what is it looking at, exactly?
Is stage dance only an enlargement of the private dance
on the dancefloor ?
Stage dancers will tend to put appearance
above partner-connection, more on performing to an audience,
that is their intention. The focused intention of milongaclub
or social dancers will be primarily on their partners-connection
and musicality. These subtle rhythmic
cadence movements are the pleasure of salondancing, but are no stage
spectacle for an audience at a distance. However, since 1955 is Argentine
tango also made for a stage performance with more fantasia, called
"Tango por enscenario". A crucial link regarding choreography and
the world of the milongas, is Antonio Todaro.
Antonio Todaro (1929-1994), innovator and milonguero,
was a very influential danceteacher. At the moment when the temptation
of the most intimate dance had become weak because lack of attraction,
Todaro caused a renewal for the conception of the stage tango. His
tango is strong, masculine, fast and powerful... not a slow, soft,
romantic. Estilo Todaro is the original dancehall
tangostyle in combination with stylistic choreographies. His style
alternates between the social dancing at the milongas and the professional
Antonio Todaro had a special fondness for dancing as follower
and as an innovator, he had fun expanding the follower's part.
He is also famous for his skilled Tango Doble Frente / double
front (tango al reves - inversed/reversed) in which
the woman has her back to the man and the man embraces her around
the waist, so both dancers face the front/public, it is a very historical
style of tango invented by the popular milongueros of the 1940s.
All steps that one dances in the regular, or "derecho" position,
can be danced al reves.
Todaro and Raul Bravo had a tango school for sixteen years in the
60's and 70's. Raul Bravo had a lengthy career as an exhibition tango
dancer in the 1960's when he toured the world with the Mariano Mores
orchestra, the technique for dynamic powerful stage movement
taught by Todaro is visible in the dancing of Raul Bravo. At the beginning
of the 90's, Miguel Angel Zotto and Milena Plebs led the first world
wide changes. When they reconstructed elements of the popular dancestyle
in their spectacle Tango x 2, they revealed the wealth of
the world of the milonga to eyes of the public. Then, the classes
of Antonio Todaro, with whom Zotto and Plebs had made their punctilious
stylistic work, began to fill with new customers.
Today, Todaro's mark is world-famous and the roots of Tango Nuevo
are Todaro. It goes through his pupils Miguel Angel Zotto, Milena
Plebs, Roberto Herrera, Vanina Bisousand and others in the show Tango
por dos. Alejandra Mantinian and Gustavo Russo took likewise
instruction with him. Dancers of the today's generation (Gustavo Naveira,
Pablo Veron, Fabian Salas, Sebastian Arce and Chicho) are directly
or indirectly inspired by him.
Another story. Argentine tango, milonga and tangovals
are examples of irrational dancing, improvising creativity. This character
was changed dramatically in Paris in the 1930's, where the dance was
combined with the proud torso of the other ballroom dances, and given
a staccato action. It moved the visual emphasis to the torso and head,
which puts the bodycenter higher. This is a characteristic of dances
coming from Western Europe, and is a heritage of the origin of dancing
in the royal courts of Europe, like a symbol of higher education.
But in Argentine tango the body energy-center lies lower. A little
downwards pressure in the hips, makes the knees bend more and gives
a more centered body axes, a sneaking way of walking. This less royal
way of moving is related to knifefighting,
which is a fast, fluid and dangerous affair. To master this most lethal
of martial arts demands self-discipline, physical sacrifice and years
of intensive training. The experienced knife fighter will easily see
an opening and go in for the kill without being countered.
The socialclub dancer's skill is to know how to choose the
most effective move at the right moment, optimize the energy available
at that occurrence, as well as turn the hints offered by the partner
into an unique, unusual personal dialogue. The interactive
nature of pair dance gives lots of opportunity for partners
to subtly affect and kill each other. This means that there is a 3th
beat-pattern dimension. Underneath the "quick quick quick"-traspiésteps
and the living pulse of the music, grows a natural dialogue of rhythm
in the choreographic couple's dance interaction, which is
based on the opposition of characters, between what is inside you
and what is inside your partner. It's a face-to-face engagement. When
two people dance together, what they do affects each other in a profound
and ongoing way. A dialogue exposes, maybe something of a courtship
“dance” rhythm, the bottomline is chemistry.
The more a dancer has a greater response variability, interactive
competence and higher sensitive attention towards the partner during
the interaction, making him or her feel exclusive in the game, the
more the whole body is involved in the rhythmic
structuring of tango. The level of indirectness, distance,
depends mostly on the amount of feedback one is getting from the partner.
In this, the woman has more fatale impact and control then the leading
man. The woman can activate a series of “body signals”,
bit by bit, like a soft laugh or singing, perhaps coming closer, which
ignite the curiosity of the man thus lightning him up, if she wants.
To be effective, the leader must also involve a degree of flexibility,
improvising, that of being able to harmonize and synchronize
with the partner. Every move is according to the partner’s response.
The main goal, the know why, is to build an intriguing bond with the
partner, reaching a genuine connection while dancing.
Partly Translations - Scroll for Sp/ Fr/ German/ Port : Carlos Gavito y Puppy Castello, los últimos
milongueros. Los que se foguearon en los clubes de
Urquiza, Pompeya, Mataderos y Avellaneda; los que saben caminar la
pista y conservan el baile al piso, y los que se recibieron en la
academia de la calle. Ahora son rescatados del olvido, por el Ballet
Escuela y por un documental que está filmando Bebe Kamín.
Gavito es un reconocido milonguero y una especie de filósofo
zen del baile, que se pasó más de la mitad de su vida
buscando ese momento de iluminación en la danza.
" El secreto del baile está en ese instante de improvisación
que se da entre paso y paso. Es hacer posible lo imposible: bailar
el silencio ", Lo primero que hay que hacer para aprender
a bailar es saber escuchar la música. Escuchar "Nocturna",
de Julián Plaza, es como escuchar la calle Corrientes de noche.
Es increíble cómo escuchás los ruidos y los bocinazos.
Todo eso tiene que estar cuando bailás.
"Lo importante es saber para qué queremos bailar. Bailamos
una soledad que tenemos dentro de nosotros y no la podemos ocupar
con nada. Ese vacío al que le ponemos movimiento es el tango."
Puppy Castello: Caminar es todo.
collected notes :
styles of Argentine tango, performance and milonguero, bring about
a controversy in the dance community. Some attribute a false dichotomy
between these styles. False because, in relity, they are complimentary.
In a certain aspect, performance tango or Buehnentangos and
milonguero tango are two sides of the same coin.
The Milonguero, or "close embrace" style is danced in the crowded
clubs of Buenos Aires. It evolved to compensate for large numbers
of couples dancing in limited space. The Milonguero style is a rich
and complex form of body signals and incorporates deep respect for
the music and its varied rhythms. The result is a form of Tango that
allows for simplicity of steps while encouraging a natural connection
between the dancers.
However, tango is known throughout the world because of performance
tango. The beauty and splendor of its figures are spread by TV and
on the stages of theaters across great distances to far away places.
In this tango the couple separates in order to execute complicated
figures and steps that have more visual appeal. The separate because
it would be difficult to see the "closed" tango in a large
theater of 500 or more people. The body work, particularly the leg
motions, would not engender great interest. In the performance tango
the steps are based on milonguero style, but are enlarged and embellished,
and become choreographies that cross the stage diagonally, creating
displays and making full use of the ample space available. The tango
is known throughout the world thanks to the artists, very fine and
expert dancers, and thanks to their inspiration and the hours of daily
work that they devoted to their talent. Thus, the tango was saved
from remaining an exotic popular dance of a remote country. The far
away Buenos Aires brought the heart of its culture near the heart
of the world.
However, the origin of tango was in the salon, where it still lives.
This tango relates to the passion which is awakened and grows within
the couple, including a specific manner of manipulating the space,
and a special combination of rhythmic beats. This is what the people
who come from other lands discover in Buenos Aires; another tango.
Then they understand that the true place of performance tango is on
the stag. This is why the best performance dancers always go to the
salon, to immerse themselves in its foundation, to invigorate their
choreographies and enrich them with the spontaneity of the salon.
After all, for the choreography to be thrilling and exciting,
it must not appear to be rehearsed. Instead, it must translate the
spontaneity and heat of the salon.
In the salon the couple dances for their own enjoyment, and not for
show. The steps are a method to circulate within the space, which
is very limited. It is a "closed" tango, with erratic figures
that vary within the necessities imposed by the place. The milongueros
can dance on four tiles, one tile, or even in place, while preserving,
with great passion, the rhythm and contact with the other body, with
a mixture of relaxation and tension both physical and emotional. The
man offers his musical consciousness to the woman, and she follows
him as if she was his shirt. Her creativity flows through her interpretation
of the manner of enjoying in her body, and giving back what the man
Anyway, this explanation is ineffable, and the emotion of the "salon"
is non-transferable. It's only verifiable with that wink that characterizes
all communities that share a passion a little secretively. The beauty
of this style is its simplicity, the great energy that flows on the
dance floor. The couples are as in a trance, in a kind of "beyond
consciousness". The body language is extremely rich. The feelings
give meaning to the steps and to the movements of the bodies.
The vocabulary that this dancing elite communicates with permits a
view, a gaze at the meaning of this dance: "to walk the tango".
"apilarse" 1, "to sleep the woman", "to move
her", "to dance her".
The performance must have spectacularity, but it needs the "salon"
as inspiration because otherwise it would be showing something that
does not exist. The "salon" also needs the performance tango
to disseminate itself and transmit itself to other generation. But
even though everyone can dance "salon" not all of us can
dance "performance". Sooner or later, anyone who intends
to will learn the "salon" tango, which is something feasible
and more near to the expectations of those who begin to take classes.
people are a solitary community which seeks love, to love and be loved.
The embrace of the tango, la franela 2, the excitement it contains,
are an emulation of love, a relief for the soul and an act in which
the man and the woman tell each other without reservation their joy
and passion in an embrace.
Apilar means "to stack". In this context it suggests to stack
the woman on the man, and the man on the woman. It refers to the leaning
posture used in this style of tango.
"Franela" is a Lunfardo term that has no word in English.
Literally it means "flannel", but the Lunfardo meaning is
a subtle and sensual caress of the woman's body by the man's body. In
tango when the man rocks the woman in place, he enjoys the feeling of
her body against his. Also, a tight caminata, with the legsbrushing
together is franela. "sleaze" dancing has franela, but the
word "sleaze" might have a vulgar connotation not implied
Miller has probably put more people on the dance floors of
Buenos Aires' milongas than any other single teacher. In a 1999 article
in the Buenos Aires daily paper "Clarin," she was named one of the four
most important contemporary influences in tango. Susana is internationally
noted teacher of the Milonguero style of Tango.
style is danced in a close embrace that is not altered during
the dance. You both have your weight over your feet and maintain
your own balance. There is body contact from the head to the waist
area. I don't agree that a woman has to lean on her partner in this
style. Perhaps some have come to this conclusion after observing men
with extra weight around the middle dancing with slender women who
need to change their body position to adjust to his shape. In order
for her to maintain a straight back, she needs to bring her feet away
from her partner and change the angle of her body position. But for
the majority of men I dance with in Buenos Aires, this is not necessary.
In fact, if you lean on some men, they may ask you to stand up and
dance on your own two feet rather than leaning forward on them.
It's important to relax when you dance. I admire the wonderful calmness
that milongueros have. Even on a crowded floor, they can move around
and use the space well. If there is a collision, they quietly pause
and wait for the space to continue without interruption. If a woman
has tension in her body, he will feel it.
are three head positions for the lady: 1) your left cheek bone to his
right cheek bone (for salon style) 2) your right side of face to his
right side of face (for milonguero style) 3) your nose and forehead
to the right side of his face (alternate possibilty for milonguero style)
Try these positions out with a partner and notice that you can stand
directly in front of your partner with your head in position #2. However,
in position #1, you may be in a V position with your body in relation
to his; more appropriate in salon style, but not in milonguero style.
the spicy night life of Buenos Aires city center, the close
embrace that we foreigners have been less familiar with until
lately became popular. This helps to understand why it was frowned
upon in the neighborhoods where elegance implied a paper thin separation
of respect between gentleman and lady. Even so, it could be that there
were neighborhoods where the close style was preferred.
Exhibition tango was first developed within the warfare between different
neighborhood schools. For the most part it was danced as
a kind of loose warfare between different neighborhood schools, at
the social dances, in breaks between the social dancing. In the fifties,
Juan Carlos Copes led the development of tango for stage dancing,
which culminated in Tango Argentino and modern show dancing. With
this development, the tango style branched again, and the show dancers
quickly broadened and evolved their vocabularies creating even more
In the modern epoch, after the return of democracy, stylistic differences
in social tango still loosely exist by geography. The best known style
is from the north and west, based on the style originally developed
in the Devoto neighborhood by Petroleos circle. More recently popular
among younger students is the close embrace style, danced mostly downtown.
And, while there are certainly other styles, these two styles dominate
the Argentine social scene of today.
finally we get to names.
This is not an easy subject, tango dance history being for the most
part an oral one; there have been many names.
Canyengue, refers to the late twenties and thirties neighborhood
styles. Dancers tell of how the canyengue died out and the forties
social style tango took hold. Then tango actually had two divisions:
Salon, the walking dance, and Orillero, the one with
the turns. (Styles were also identifiable by orchestra allegiance).
Also, some dancers were known best for their milongas. In the
forties the word milonguero was not all that flattering, as it referred
to one who was addicted to the night life, never worked, and was often
begging for a loan.
However, in the modern epoch Salon and Milonguero have
become more interchangeable in describing the more vaguely defined
styles of a now older generation. They are now allied in being contrasted
to the stage fantasy tangos, inside and out of Argentina, and
foreign social dance forms.
Hence, dancers from each of these two major stylistic groups in Buenos
Aires today refer to what they do at their most elegant, i.e. when
walking the salon as opposed to showing off figures, as either Salon
or Milonguero. It is a matter of oral history. What words you use
to describe what depends on who you learned from first. But history
marches on, and the meaning of these words seems to be diverging again.
The modern proponents of the style from the North West are all first
or second generation followers of the early group led by Petroleo.
This group includes the social dancers, Fino and Miguel
Balmeceda (passed on), and Juan Bruno and Mingo Pugliese
(living). The fantasy artists including Todaro and Virulazo
(both passed away), many performers still working from the Copes
generation and many important youngsters. They all seem to be most
comfortable calling the root of what they do Salon Tango, although
Lampazo, for example, still uses Milonguero to describe
this style, while Juan Bruno continues to insist on dividing
this style into Salon and Orillero styles.
Then along came Pedro Rusconi, "Tete" (the first
proponent of the close embrace to arise to prominence as a teacher)
and Susana Miller, who has coaxed several other milongueros
of this style to teach with her. They all would be comfortable with
salon as the label for their style, but most people in Buenos
Aires are calling it milonguero style.
So, for the most part, the salon and orillero styles of Devoto
have become combined into salon style tango. The closer embrace style,
which went untaught for longer, has taken milonguero style tango by
Nobody yet is talking about the style of the south or of the neighborhoods
ringing the capital, where the younger Argentines often go on their
own spelunking expeditions. One thing that I am sure of is that these
neighborhoods offer fertile ground for further explorations in Buenos
As for myself, while I have been attracted to all these distinct "styles"
of tango as I've seen them danced in Buenos Aires, I have not yet
formed personal preferences for any of them. I didn't even start noticing
close embrace, "Milonguero", style until I'd been in Buenos Aires
for a while. It took several years to get past being fascinated with
the steps, which were my first draw to the dance. The dancers who
were doing less footwork were uninteresting to me and I just didn't
see them. Then,
years of milonguero advice to feel the dance, not just learn steps began
to take effect. I started to notice the dancers for how they stood,
embraced and felt the music. It isn't like I didn't know about these
things before, I just didn't see them even though they were right in
front of me.
awakened when I saw Tete dance.
I watched him for two years without ever being able to steal a single
step or copy his style, but with great envy for his ability to express
the tango feeling, sensuality and music. He could do this with his
partner Maria, Mingo's wife Ester, who is a mistress of the other
style, and a plethora of young tango starlets.
Two years ago Tete began to teach, albeit with all the pedagogical
glitches of a beginner teacher, and I finally had a chance to get
into it. Here was a style that challenged from the inside out. If
I couldn't make heart-to-heart contact I couldn't dance.
As I made my first breakthroughs I started to gain a much deeper understanding
of what I call tango trance, that is the state in which one dances
a set at the milonga in a timeless space. Becoming one with the music
and my partner was no longer an abstract, intellectual concept to
be related somehow to my footwork. The music in its simplest syncopation,
came into focus as the basis for my connection with my partner.
After that experience in milonguero style my other tangos have also
improved. My "salon tango" is ever richer as I learn to stand tall and
make elegant my footwork and musicality. My "Orillero tango" keeps offering
more and more complexity and variation as I improve my strength, agility,
and concentration. It is also easier to try the vintage canyengue styles
and, several distinctive versions of milonga. Most importantly, I am
winning the sensual attention of the good dancers I partner.
CANYENGUE - danza canalla Sylvie Delisle y Boguslaw Dygasiewicz
Según Martha Antón y Luis Grondona, bailarines y profesores de tango de Buenos Aires, el canyengue "Es la esencie pura de los principios del tango. Sus orígenes se remontan al 1900. Su significado en afro es "caminar cadencioso". El canyengue contiene el abrazo de origen. Su andar es suave, picaresco, sensual y divertido. Sus movimientos son cortados, corresponden a los compases del 4 x 8 y, con el pasar de los anos se transformaron en el tango actual del 2 x 4".
Pero, como todo que se refiere al tango, hay otras explicaciones al respecto de la palabra "canyengue". Según José Gobello (autor de los libros sobre el tango) la palabra viene de los africanismos: "candombe" y "yongo". Juntas, esas dos palabras forman "canyongo" para convertirse, por las transformaciones lingüísticas, al "canyengue".
Un otro autor, Eduardo Stilman, cree que esa palabra significa "menoscabado", "perezoso" en dialecto de los esclavos negros que llegaron en la región del Rio de la Plata.
Roberto Laguardia Trias va también en ese mismo sentido afirmando que "canyengue" viene de la palabra "ngengue", la cual, en una lengua africana, significa "inútil" (sin valor). Y, después de añadir del prefijo "ka" y una pequeña modificación, llegamos a la palabra "canyengue".
Podemos agregar más significaciones confirmando así los orígenes plebeyos de la palabra "canyengue" y, por ese hecho, del tango mismo. Y la lista es bastante larga. Aquí tenemos unas: "canalla", "arrabalero", de baja condición social. También: "deteriorado", "estropeado", "descangayado". Como podemos deducir, en los principios del siglo XX, el canyengue era sinónimo de alguien marginal que vivía en los barrios pobres, los arrabales. Hasta hoy mismo, esa percepción no ha desaparecido completamente. Un amigo, bailarín profesional argentino, me ha dicho que él baila el canyengue para bromear y para burlarse. Y él no ésta solo en su punto de vista.
Como se sabe, el tango nació en los conventillos de los barrios populares de Montevideo y Buenos Aires; en los arrabales, en los salas de baile de baja condición y en los bares de mala fama, en los burdeles y en la calle. Entonces, no nos sorprende que, en los principios, el tango no era apreciado, pero al contrario, denegado por la "buena sociedad". Pues, según esa clase, el tango era un baile para la plebe, para el populacho, para prostitutas y malevos. Solamente, después su pasaje triunfal, hacia los años 1907-1914, por las capitales europeas, que los salones de Buenos Aires y Montevideo habían empezado a acostumbrarse al tango. Sin embargo, los clientes de los salones rechazaban de bailarlo en la misma manera que la clase popular. Entonces, el baile "canalla" se hizo más pulido, más elegante. Y el sombrero de compadrito fue sustituido por la chistera de "Monsieur", vestido de frac, acompañado de una copa de "champagne". El baile de la clase popular ha invadido los salones, convirtiéndose en "tango-salón". La "buena sociedad" ha limpiado el tango de su aspecto canalla, bailándolo sin cortes y quebradas. Los viejos tangos fueron despojados de su ritmo "canalla". Después de todos esos afinamientos el tango fue más aceptable para los salones.
El canyengue - es la manera de bailar, pero también
- la manera de tocar la música, que consiste de golpear las
cuerdas del instrumento con arco y la mano. Esa manera ha sido inventada
por el contrabajista de la orquesta de Roberto Firpo, Leopoldo Thompson.
Y en los varios tangos tocados por esa orquesta se puede distinguir
esas fiorituras. También se puede encontrarlos en las interpretaciones
de algunas otras orquestas, como por ejemplo: Julio De Caro, Osvaldo
Fresedo, Juan Bautista Guido, Francisco Canaro, Edgardo Donato...
La música tiene el ritmo sostenido, regular y bien pronunciado.
Las frases musicales son, generalmente, bien definidas y se prestan
perfectamente a la ejecución de diferentes pasos. Los bailarines
se tienen bien "pegados", uno al otro. El principio del
tango que dice que dos personas hacen una, es aún más
verdadero en el canyengue; los dos cuerpos, salvo excepciones, no
se separan. Las orillas de los bailarines están plegadas (lo
más bajo posible), la mujer se inclina hacia el hombre y se
apoya sobre él, pero sin colgarse sobre su cuello. Gracias
a esa postura los pies están alejados y los bailarines forman
una especie de pirámide. El baile está compuesto de
los pasos relativamente simples, habitualmente cortos, repetitivos,
bien definidos, regulares y rítmicos. En esa manera de abrazarse
y de bailar se puede adivinar los orígenes picarescos del tango.
Sí, tenemos que admitirlo que la manera de bailar el canyengue
no es muy elegante, pero es tunante, especial y divertida. Como se
puede ver, su manera de bailar se distingue de los otros estilos (tango-salón,
milonguero o tango-espectáculo) por su postura, su abrazo y
su manera de caminar. Es un estilo bien particular quien necesita
un cierto esfuerzo físico (ante todo en los principios del
aprendizaje) por el hecho que las piernas están plegadas y
que hay una contorsión de los cuerpos de los bailarines, especialmente
de la mujer.