Wednesday, 9 July 2008

iPod Tango

Not the iPod Tango I mentioned before, where one person seems to be listening to different music from everyone else. Here's the deal; two people wire themselves into one ipod, and they dance, in silence, for an audience of bemused commuters. This is what it looked like. The only sounds were the normal sounds of St. Pancras International, as you hear in the video. They include the long, low note of an arriving Eurostar. I don't know either of the dancers shown, but I thought I recognised both from milongas around London. If this is you, please comment - even if you prefer to stay nameless.

The marketing of this stunt inspired an overheated but interesting correspondence on Tango-UK. I should say that my thought, too, when first presented with the exploding-Yorkshire-plonkers connection, was "Yuk, that's a No, then." But I'm not criticising anyone else for taking part. They may not feel the same about it, and I think the judgement is more aesthetic than moral.

But none of that is relevant to the really quite interesting wackiness of the idea itself. I can see why you might want to do this in your own home, and perhaps it would be an ingenious approach to a practice session (splitters provided, along with mints?). But dancing for an audience, keeping the music to yourself?

I discussed it with someone this week who pointed out that, as people who already dance, we have a mental map with which to interpret what's happening. What on earth is any non-dancer supposed to make of it? Non-dancers - what do YOU make of it?

Do you think it has beauty? Will someone be inspired by it? I wonder. It certainly made a few people smile, one or two stop, and some look embarrassed. It didn't attract much attention, with no sound to pull people in.

If you're interested in dancing in public as such, the first session of Tango al fresco is on Sunday, and proceeds will be devoted to planting trees in Regent's Park. Last year we danced in a thunderstorm, with umbrellas - rather exciting, but sunshine would be nicer. I may not make it this week, though.


koolricky said...

I remember I saw once in Edinburgh, in Bristo Sq 200+ people dancing frenetically to the silence of the night. I only realised that they were all wearing headphones when one of them came near me...

koolricky said...

And, I know who this person is (the male). Let's say that he is a recent arrival to London Tango...

Psyche said...

Boy, tango-uk. Makes me not at all sorry to be out of the country, and not at all desirous to rush back. Still, I understand that tango-L is just as bad - I've had the sense not to join it, fortunately. :)

I often wonder how non tangoers see tango, when they see it. They clearly don't see it quite the same way as us, as it seems they tend to be more impressed by the flashy pseudo-tango that you get on tv and stage than by good social tango.

msHedgehog said...

Tango-L is very low traffic at the moment - almost extinct. Tango-UK is almost entirely useful announcements, but it can kick off occasionally. The idea was culturally inappropriate and not well thought out, there hadn't been full disclosure, and some people reacted with strong emotion. It is quite an entertaining read, though. The bones of ancestors were mentioned.

Anonymous said...

the amouunt of negative feelings towards the event or its organisers has taken me by surprise and revealed to me that the tango community is not as enlightened as i had once believed it to be.

you are free to not attend. you are free to ignore.

many have made assumptions and presumptions. the date was set by the authorities. the date bothered some .. but we are all free to celebrate or mourn on any day we wish, or do something totally different .. that is the nature of freedom. i ate cereal on that date .. am i to be scorned?

in the london tango community i have always fought the tendencies toward superiority, monopoly of authenticity, competitive jealousy but it saddens me that people have jumped up to criticise with too many assumptions.

the organisers did something cool - what did the complainers do?

Anonymous said...

I did take part - oblivious to any furour and I'm not going to read about it now. There was a moment that I shall treasure forever. I was dancing with my partner and this little girl, maybe 5 years old, stopped dead and stared with a "Wow look at the princess dancing" look on her face. Well worth it just for that :o)