In Step Dance Associates will offer a series of four Argentine Tango classes this fall. Instructor Les Linton, with the help of Deb Aspen, will teach both a beginning and an intermediate course.
The beginners’ classes will start promptly at 6:30 p.m., followed by the intermediates at 8: on Oct. 16, 22 and 29, and Nov. 6.
The beginners’ class will cover the basic steps of Argentine Tango: Cruzada (cross), molinete (grapevine), ocho (eight) and caminar (walk). This course is for the novice and those who wish to brush up on their technique. If you have already had one beginner’s class, and just wish to review, there will be no charge.
The intermediate level course is for dancers who feel comfortable with the basics and are ready to work on new elements such as, the gancho (hook), mordida (sandwich), calecita (carousel), and the arrastre (drag).
All classes will meet at the PLPOA Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave. Wear comfortable clothing and smooth leather shoes (something that does not leave black marks or mud). It’s also recommended that the gals do not wear long skirts. Singles and couples are welcome, and the cost is $20.
For those of you that are not familiar with Argentine Tango, this dance originated in Buenos Aires in the early 1900s. Immigrants from Europe, Africa, and ports unknown streamed into the poor outskirts of Buenos Aires during the 1800s. From this intermingled brew of people, emerged a new music, which became The Tango. In this period, the wailing melancholy of the bandoneon (an accordion-like instrument imported to Argentina from Germany in 1886) became the main instrument of Tango music.
With the advent of Argentina’s universal suffrage law, passed in 1912, the lower classes were allowed to vote, which served to legitimize many of its cultural mainstays, including the Tango.
During the first two decades of the new century, the Tango took Paris by storm. The blessing of the Parisians, in turn, made it a staple of Argentine high society. Out of this culture, the Tango musician became elevated to professional composer status. Once the Tango was accepted and encouraged by the French, it soon spread to other parts of Europe and America.
When Juan Peron rose to power in 1946, the Tango reached the pinnacle of popularity in Argentina, as both he and his wife, Evita, embraced it wholeheartedly.
Popular dance organizations have adapted the Argentine version of this dance into what currently falls under the category of either American or International Tango. But the actual Argentine Tango is now enjoying a renaissance of popularity, keeping the fire of this daring art form burning brightly.
The Argentine Tango group has been going strong in Pagosa now for several years, and once again invites newcomers to learn this exciting and romantic dance.