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Documenting a period in my development that could become pivotal

Friday, January 30, 2009

Drawing of Early 20th Century Tango

As I draw the Tango I am just learning and developing ideas which may well show my ignorance and I welcome correction. As I draw Tango dancers, I try to think how women's clothing at the turn of the 20th century may have impacted the dancers' positioning then and now. My theory is the lady was given her own space to accommodate her abundantly full skirt. That was true in the infancy of many ballroom dances as well as Tango then and today. The Tango couple hold with their arms a bridge of space between themselves. The man's arms are half circles that remain constant during basic steps. The full skirts also account for one hand of the lady not exerting pressure against her partner. She has a free hand held up high so her partner can reach around under her arm pit with a directing hand on her back. The other hand she gives to the gentleman must never be held as high as eye level. My theory is the high but not too high hand is not too high to allow a bridge of communication and structure to keep balance. The bridge insures that the couples keep dancing together. If the hands are held too high in front of the eyes, balance is disrupted and furthermore the man's view could be obscured.
My other theory is the cat walk was partly a result of the large skirts. The cat walk is expressive of the hunter male. It might also be in part the need for balance on the uneven cobbled streets of the poor sections of Buenos Aires where the dance has its beginning.
One of my future goals is to paint myself dancing the Tango so I am ammused that in my early sketches, the woman reminds me of a younger me.

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