Tango, New York Style

Tango in Central Park:  Saturday 6 – 9pm

The evening seems to start slowly with a few people, but as it progresses, more accomplished dancers join the group. Now that is not to say that they were exceptional dancers, but they were accomplished. The atmosphere is open and so are the dancers; music is great and so it is what I consider to be a successful evening of tango under the stars…..well, whenever there are stars.

I have returned to this venue every Saturday and the feeling of openness and liberation maintains. I must say that it is different from dancing in Plaza Dorrego in Buenos Aires which is a smaller space and is always crowded. It is also typically never without the dangling spot-lights overhead and the competing noises from the nearby venues, wild onlookers getting soused up on beer and other beverages served by the adjacent bars, and the occasional ebullient, happy transient.

Tango at Dance Manhattan:  Sunday 9 – 2:30am

I have heard it said that the best dancers in the USA are in New York. I am not sure that I agree but I do know that they are the most xenophobia and snobbish dancers I have ever encountered. In Buenos Aires the good dancers are also snobbish, but there is a wide enough range of attendees and variety of places to attend in one evening to where one does not feel that it was all a waste of time and money, but, in New York, where it takes about 50 minutes to get from one venue to another, this can be a daunting experience. So, if you are dancing in New York, be sure to pack a partner with you to ensure that you will not be sitting the entire evening after shelling out a princely sum for the entrance fee and the train ride over.

Tango at the Ukranian Restaurant on 2nd Avenue Manhattan:  Friday – 9 – 3:30am

Extremely cliquish! I have travelled all over the USA and to other overseas destinations, but I have never experienced such a closed and cliquish society as in New York. One can certainly argue that the Chinese will come in a close second, but I don;t  think they actually qualify to be rated in the same category; they are not cliquish, just xenophobic.

I have very little understanding of why they feel the need to be cliquish. Even after one has been introduced, the patrons still will not ask you to dance. Interestingly enough, it has been very widely publicised that in Buenos Aires the locals will not dance with you, but instead they will dance only with the Argentinians. This falacy is unsubstantiated and propagated by whom, I have no idea, but it is not even remotely true.

On a general level, the tango scene in NYC maintains the tango status quo: it is a place for meeting people, making the love connection, and exhibiting one’s skills and attire; people want to meet and make arrangements to secure the next tango event, to ensure that they have an entourage of options for the next event and for other events and dances. There is the same typical orgy of egos and emotions, and snobbery and conceit. Life goes on on the tango landscape just as perverse as it is on any other landscape.