Tango De La Muerte
Argentina is birthplace of the sexy tango dance style… or at least it claims to be and that’s good enough for the Sip Advisor. I’m a horrible dancer. I mean down right god awful. That said, I’m a decent writer and am probably better suited for creating an article about tango than performing it. So, let’s get right to it:
Tango’s long road to legitimacy began in the streets and brothels of Buenos Aires in the 19th century. Many immigrants came to Argentina to better their lives, but this resulted in there being 100,000 more men than women as of 1914. Therefore, to spend time with a lady, you had to either go to a brothel or a dance. The Sip Advisor would have probably taken the easier route, but those who think they can dance would have tried to ply their craft in a more traditional sock-hop style.
The tango is rife with notes of passion, sexual tension, and yearning. It has been described as “a vertical expression of a horizontal desire,” which to me sounds like my daily existence and advances towards Mrs. Sip. Because of sexuality exuded in the scandalous dance, upper class folk looked down upon the tango and from the years 1955-1983, while a conservative coup was in power, the sensual dance was forced to hide itself underground. Dancers were jailed and songs were banned until the oppressive power was forced out due to losing its popularity.
In Europe, tango arrived in 1912, first in Paris, of course. The dance that could feature improvisation and broke the trend of dances having fixed movements and everyone doing the same thing quickly spread across the country. When the upper class of Buenos Aires learned of how popular tango had become abroad, they brought it back to Argentina to be enjoyed in its homeland.
While American Tango is an offshoot of Argentinian Tango, the two are quite different. The American version is the one all you little sippers are probably familiar with, involving larger steps and more theatrics, commonly seen in competitions. The Argentinian style is tighter and on a smaller scale, likely used at social dances to woo prospective bed mates.
A milonga can either mean a tango variation with no pauses or the term can be applied to a club that hosts Argentinian tango dances. Here, rookies and veterans can share the floor and get their groove on, trying out new maneuvers or learning the art form.
Dubbed the ‘Dance of Love,’ the word tango comes from either the Latin word tango or the Portuguese word tangere, which both mean “to touch.” There are actually a number of different tango adaptations today, including Ballroom, Oriental, Liso, Orillero, Apilado, Canyengue, Salon, Nuevo, Finnish, and Chinese, as well as the aforementioned Argentinian and American.
The basic tango consists of five steps taken to eight beats of music: slow, slow, quick, quick, slow. This has made the dance style easier to learn, plus it plays very well when trying to get your lady in the mood (although the Sip Advisor has always preferred a little bumping and grinding).
For the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina (which the home country won, as opposed to their recent defeat at the hands of my Germany!), Adidas designed a special ball for the tournament and named it Tango. The ball was used again in 1982 for the World Cup in Spain, with the ball receiving the altered title Tango Málaga.
Author and entrepreneur Timothy Ferriss set the Guinness World Record for most tango spins in one minute in 2007. With partner, Alicia Monti, the two took to the Live with Regis and Kelly stage and completed 37 spins, breaking their own record of 27 set in Buenos Aires in 2005.
Tangolates is an exercise that combines Pilates and tango into one aerobic workout. Developed by Tamara Di Tella in 2004, The activity is said to vastly help those who have suffered nervous system dysfunctions and uses partners and rhythmic music in the process.
A number of hit movies include tango scenes, including Scent of a Woman, True Lies, Evita, Moulin Rouge, Chicago, and even Schindler’s List of all films. Now that I’ve revealed that list, I expect Mrs. Sip to force me to watch each and every one of these entries. Perhaps it will lead to some amore!
Argentina: Sommelier Martini
- 1 oz Malbec Wine
- 1 oz Vodka
- Top with Orange Juice
- Splash of Lemon Juice
- Dash of Simple Syrup
- Garnish with an Lemon Twist
Perhaps if I can slam back enough of these cocktails, I can be ready for some dirty dancing… and then again, perhaps it’s just better if I drink myself into such a stupor that the idea of shaking my groove thing goes right out the window!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Wow, I never thought it would be so difficult to find Malbec-specific recipes. That said, I found this little gem and it was quite good. Mrs. Sip and I love the 1884 Malbec I used so I at least knew the base would be great. I thought about using different flavoured vodkas with the drink, but in the end went with a straight version, so as not to have too many tastes competing with each other.