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ot only are cereals and standing or frozen livestock what our country exports to Europe, but also we give ourselves the satisfaction of exporting habits. Tango, a dance from the outskirts, has been honored by becoming a boom in European salons. England and France have granted their approval, and the popular dance from our suburbs, made aristocratic for the occasion, is included in the books of the great ballrooms in Paris and London.
The origin of such an original dance, if it is not lost in the darkness of times, was born to the beat of candombe music, which with the passing of time became a dance of the merry people of the outskirts of the Buenos Aires capital. The compadrito polished it with embellished steps and changes and agile body movements, then it took the name of baile con corte.
The most outstanding composers, Pallermats, Williams, Aguirre, Hargreaves, López Buchardo and Tornquist, have tested their inspiration to create tangos; but the truly popular, like “Bartolo”, “Golpiá que te van a abrir”, “La porteñita [c]” and others have been the creation of popular musicians. And there are composers who have specialized in the genre and are famous, such as Villoldo, Posadas, Reinoso and many others, and they are those who provide the market on the classic days for tango, at Carnival time. These musicians preferably look, to give title to their compositions, for the most creole-styled phrases and with a compadre-tinged character.
As for the boom of tango among us, it is evidenced in the fact that music houses privilege the publishing of tangos above other compositions, and some have sold millions of copies, and now even more, since tango has turned out to be an export article.
Only to Paris and London some million copies are mailed, because it seems that this Argentine dance is more generalized each day.
How great the popularity reached by tango in Paris must be, that even academies to teach it have been established; at one of them professor Ducasse was as catedrático and had as his disciple nothing less than the Bonaparte princess.
Furthermore foreign magazines have tended to popularize tango, and if this goes on, we will probably be in the geographies as a country exporting cereals, cattle and tangos.
Argentina has become fashionable, and more than to our soil resources which we export, we owe it to that dance so popular, which we had nearly forgotten, because had it not been for the outskirts compadre who kept the sacred fire of tango alive, perhaps it would have been replaced by some dance coming from Paris. But after it was given naturalization papers at the Ville-Lumière and is considered as a good thing, we had no other alternative but making it decent, modifying the cuerpeadas, making the tenzados more skillful and, what is more, dancing it with such prosopopoeia, that our dancers when performing it, seem to be solving a problem of surveying, such is the attention they pay when measuring the steps.
And with the popularity of the dance the catedráticos have appeared. In any salon we see them springing, looking at the gathering as if they were to perform a very difficult demonstration, and to the beat of a tango “No te digo niente” or “Alcanzame la budinera”, rock around with all the dignity that Sáenz Peña devotes in his official acts.
But it is interesting to see a salon of those which also have a humorous title like those of the tangos, at the time when the orchestra leader places a little notice with the sacramental word «Tango», when the dancers get ready and look for the partner most floreadora (skillful in embellishments) to exhibit their tango abilities to the beat of the popular dance, and when the orchestra breaks in with its caressing languid notes, the couples start to bend like a palm grove caressed by the wind, and it is worthseeing those compadres del arrabal (guys from the outskirts) assuming an air of gentlemen insolently looking at us, the misfortunate ones who are unable to dance with corte, as if saying: «¡A ver, che, sacame el molde!» (come on, you, copy my style!).
The little success they achieve brings them unbelievable energies; that is why tango dancers dance ten or twelve pieces without experiencing the least fatigue; and since their pride is at stake, when they perceive that they are being observed or admired this is enough to regain energy, and to go on hardly and evenly with that dance all night long, which because of its exotism is a boom abroad.
To be a tango dancer is a marketable merit; its catedráticos are «mangiados» (recognized) from a far distance by their singer-like manner, their noticeable way of stepping on and by their looking eyes of «caburés de ocasión» (bargain vultures).
Tango is triumphant, revives, is fashionable; Paris and London have consecrated it. Let us dance it, then, if not, maybe with the passing of time it will be brought back from Europe like leather and wool with their label «made in Germany».
Article published in the magazine
Caras y Caretas
Buenos Aires 20 July 1912.
Tango Female singers