I was watching Strictly Come Dancing when they first decided to try argentine tango as one of the dances. Bruno Tonioli was waxing lyrical about Mark Ramparkash & Karen Hardy’s performance (I’ll get to that later).
“Rudolph Valentino is the inspiration for argentine tango” he harped, I thought something along the lines of “Stick yer dancin'” rather than Strictly Come Dancing. It seemed that the judges were really winging it about tango not even being sure on how to pronounce “Argentine”. I have nothing against Tonioli, it was more the image of tango he was projecting which got me thinking about the layman’s perception of tango.
Was Valentino really the inspiration for the masses? I decided to try and find out a little more this tango he did. It’s true that before Valentino became famous he did a number of jobs to support himself and one of these was tango dancer. His image in Hollywood was that of the “Latin Lover” and he famously dances a tango in “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. Here’s a taste.
In it we see the Hollywood “bad” tango and the confrontation and Valentino’s real tango resulting in his getting the girl (who he quite quickly gets bored of). As I watched this I thought, so this how people think a tango should be danced, but why was it not what I was expecting?
It wasn’t because in spite of all the stereotypes, I was able to see a tango happen between Valentino and his partner (even if I didn’t like the steps), I saw his passion and fire (turned up for the silver screen but hey, that’s Hollywood), I even saw him moving to the music and playing with it. So maybe Valentino is the inspiration but not in the obvious sense. Thanks Mr. Tonioli.
Ramparkash & Hardy did really well. They were connected and inspite of some “ballroom moments & faces”, you could see that they took and used what they had learned, didn’t go crazy and worked hard. It didn’t look choreographed, as some of the others did. I was left smiling.