A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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It Takes Two


I expected – even hoped – there would be many “teachable moments” on our trip.  But I never imagined one would occur at a tango show in Buenos Aires. Given the history of the tango, I should have known better.

The Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, a tango enthusiast and amateur music historian, wrote: “My informants all agree on one fact – the tango was born in the brothels.”

Borges was one to never let the truth get in the way of a good story.  While no one can pinpoint the tango’s exact birthplace, it did develop among the portenos (the people of the port area of Buenos Aires) in bordellos and bars.

Like rap or hip-hop today, it was urban music, forged from a range of musical influences, and carrying a subversive undertone.

In its early form, the tango romanticized the life of bohemian knife-wielding womanizing thugs.  Dances had a threatening, predatory quality – and often depicted a possessive relationship between two men and a woman.

Of course, I knew none of this when I signed up to take my kids to a tango show.

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September 29, 2008   2 Comments

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