"Tango cannot be written without Buenos Aires streets or sunsets. -Jorge Luis Borges"
Tango music has haunted me since childhood. It has always attracted me even though I never wanted to admit it in the first place that I could like this kind of old fashion music. At least that's what I though at the time. But when French artist's retaken of Argentine standard were to be played on the radio goose bump would run through me. And one day I discover Astor Piazzola and his "new Tango" (Balada para un loco, Adios Nonino, Libertango?). This avant-garde music made me understand that Tango wasn't only this old fashion music that old people would dance on in popular dance ball during the 14th of July celebration or in some tea dance party in Bastille or Montmartre. It was for me the starting point of my exploration of Tango and the discovery of many great Argentine artists.
As I was walking through Buenos Aires's Microcentro on Avenida Florida, I bump into this group of Tango dancers. Most of all the tourist place in Buenos Aires have at least a couple of tango dancers performing for tourists. But this group did not only dance onto Tango anthems, between every performance, they would tell the story of Tango. Even though my understanding of Spanish is really succinct, I took a great pleasure to watch them dance and tell their stories.
The origin of Tango:
Nobody really knows the origin of Tango. Some people talk about some African roots, the fact is this type of dance is exclusively "Porteño", from Buenos Aires. Some writers think it is a mix of different style of music; it has the choreography of a Milonga, the rhythm of a Candomba, a sentimental melody line and emotional strength of a Cuban Habanera.
In the 19th century, Buenos Aires had very few places of entertainments. People from popular neighbourhood would spend their free time in Circus or in some meeting places like Café where they could listen some music played by bands of musicians who didn't even know how to read music.
It is said that Tango appeared around 1880. In this very period of time, brothels were flourishing across the city. Most of the women that were working in those brothels were European migrants; Spanish, French, Italians, Germans, Polish, ? The customers were also migrant from Europe who left their families and wives behind to make fortune. They were trying to find comfort in the arms of the prostitute.
The competition was hard, the brothels started hiring musician to entertain the patrons. The people then started to dance to the music. Those performances became quite successful and more frequent. This is supposed to be the origin of Tango.
It is said that the first Tango composer was a man called Juan Perez who wrote a song titled "Dame la lata" (give me the tin) around 1880. However, it is quite possible that some Tangos, like "Andáte a la Recoleta" (Going to the Recoleta) or "El Tero" are older.
Soon the Tango was to be dance outside of the brothels. Firstly in dance academies of Buenos Aires but only danced by men. And then, the Tango spread through the street of Buenos Aires and finally established itself in great Cafés like the "Tarana café", the "Hansen café", "El Kiokisto" and "El Velódromo". Soon enough women join the men in the dance, adding more life to the Tango.
Critiques | Translate
Clochette (8076) 2004-01-16 11:59
Superbe ! J'adore ! La composition de cette scène est magnifique. La jambe de la danseuse, à ce moment du tango, est parallèle à la perspective du dallage, et le mouvement est plein de charme.
Je ne regrette qu'une chose, l'arrière-plan chargé et sombre derrière les danseurs ne leur permet pas assez de se détacher, une plus courte profondeur de champ aurait peut-être réglé ce problème.
Excellent commentaire également, que j'ai pris grand plaisir à lire.
Luko (14000) 2004-01-16 12:37
Excellent pic with very good depth : her leg provides the dynamic and we'd need.
I simply regret that you didn't crop the left hand side that would have cleared out the busy background splitting the image in two sequences : lower left side, the dance floor, upper right hand side the spectators.
Then you should have known the parisian bar called "les trottoirs de Buenos Aires" that closed a while ago and the magazine "Tango" they once sold.
robshort (72) 2004-01-16 13:35
Wow. Black and white was the right way to go here.
Midnight_sun (1941) 2004-01-16 14:48
It’s as if they're oblivious to those around them, lost in the music. Black and white is perfect for this kind of shot. The mans pose is very dominating, yet one of his hands is just floating, like her.
I too would crop this picture, and have done so in the workshop attached.
Great photo; very evocative. It's reminding me to take up tango again!
SofiaC (215) 2004-01-16 14:53
Very nice street scene and the B&W works perfectly.
Rupes (913) 2004-01-16 14:56
I agree with Sofia...really nice scene!!
estruch (354) 2004-01-16 15:20
C'est marrant car lorsque l’on regarde les gens en arrière plan ils on tous le regard un peu « vide » face à cette scène de rue, ce qui m’étonne dans un pays ou cette musique est aussi importante. Par contre votre photo est tout sauf vide ! Très belle composition et choix du N&B très pertinent. Bravo !
Surfer31 (0) 2004-01-16 15:38
Wonderful, beautiful snap and very complete note, too. All has been said by other members. If I could I would give 10 points for the picture and 10 points for the note. Congratulations.
Giando (80) 2004-01-16 21:27
i love tango too
manny (21833) 2004-01-17 7:50
Excellent shot. Your composition is very good. You captured the movement and expressions of the dancers and the audience. The man at his back is the one collecting "donations", I suppose.
texascruiser (24) 2004-01-28 8:28
This is an excellent monochrome image. The contrast, light and details are very good. The composition is good, with the crowd focusing on the dancers, my eyes are immedieately drawn into the center of the image.
summer89 (5422) 2004-02-20 8:32
Great note to the photo. You capture a great moment and the B&W is perfect in this photo.
Kenny10pin (19301) 2004-02-20 10:17
Great notes and lovely composition well done.
Everything seems to be focused.
lukasfoto (3078) 2004-02-21 3:46
Great!!! Very expresion!! You really know how to capture a moment :))) Well done.
Maby litle crop...? :)
Edwin (188) 2004-02-23 8:34
Excellent work!! Now this is top-notch work Romain! Brilliant angle and positioning, it is absolutely impossible for the viewer to see the difference between the public looking at this beautiful performance, or the public pondering about that photographer kneeling down :-) Congrats!
charmante (1090) 2004-02-28 1:36
WoW !! others have told everything about your picture,so I only send you my words of praise. Excellent capture & wonderful note...
Jebelis (229) 2004-02-28 22:33
good comments on that one. and good choice of B& w Picture with all those details on the floor... ;-)
cool_s15 (4050) 2004-03-22 3:52
wow what a beautiful shot and posed!!
Very great tone and nice used of B&W here!
I like how you framed. Your note is very informative, Great job!
spetter (26) 2004-03-23 8:40
Très belle composition, prise au bon moment! Le N&B est très adapté à ce type d'images et renforce l'ambiance. Les spectateurs contribuent également à la très bonne composition de cette scène. Ils se donnent en spectacle et nous montrent leur art... et la jambe de la danseuse nous y invite de bien élégante manière...
horizon9 (0) 2004-03-24 5:54
Your B&W reporting pics are great !
....we could almost hear Piazzola and Gardel !
zto (292) 2004-03-27 11:51
Wonderfull, great, adorable. I Love it. I wish i was there to seen it. For me Tango it "THE DANCE". So full of life, pasionate and dynamic. The very closenes that needs to be there if you want to dance good Tango is wonderfull. I could go on and on...but i wont...lets change focus ;)
Your picture is great, simply becuase you have captured one of those dynamic and passionate moment which i love. There pose is wonderfull with her leg, his footing, the way she holds her hand. B&W makes it even stronger.
babul (612) 2005-02-01 21:54
you have perfect reflex with your cxamra and weary god eay to campture
Porteplume (3452) 2005-04-26 12:12
Not easy to give such a warm feeling to a B&W photo. We even can hear the music...
I've seen this one many time but didn't find the right words. Still, now it's time to say that it is really a great picture, with a perfect balanced composition and captured at the very right moment! Well seen & well "clicked" Romain.
* It's really a pity you don't post as often as we would like...
peter1892 (1681) 2005-06-25 18:23
Excellent photo - all the elements have been captured, the dancers & their action, the crowd seemingly mesmerized by what's going on.
I do wonder what the guy with his back to the dancers (and camera) is doing though!
Great use of B&W (as noted in several other critiques) and the note is also very useful in explaining the history behind the Tango.
faubry (35447) 2005-07-05 5:01
je ne l'avais pas vue celle ci, superbe rendu de l'action dans la danse, le noir et blanc est bien pour cette sorte d'image, belle composition
simonekarl (404) 2005-10-25 18:49
hahaha. You just like to wear the heels!! : )
Seriously, great picture, you've managed to captured the romance, passion & sexy'ness of Tango. Nice choice B'n'W it makes it timeless and classy.
aralda (1240) 2005-10-31 16:07
This one superb picture, and the best on tango so far. I like the tight clasp of hands contrasting with his relaxed right arm.
Her face is nicely lit, the pose is excellent for this POV (with her leg almost parallel to the receding lines in the pavement)... I like the watching ground, all of it: would not have cropped it -- I especially like the boy to the left.
Thank you for the image and the really nice note!
rowanb (864) 2005-11-23 7:25
cool street shot, good timing with her outstretched leg.
pilpel-adom (3018) 2006-03-16 4:57
Impressive shot, Romain! You caught the essence of the dance, the posture and elegance of this quick feet work. The B&W is well chosen here, as it enhances the graphicysm of the movement and well as distinquish the dancers from the crowd easily and focus the look on them and not on the crowd. I think I know where you caught this show, on the intersection of the pedestrian streets of Lavalle and Florida...Many dancers have regular shows there and even when I was there (Jan 2006) the shows kept on going. What a great (and free) way to see Tango at its best!
tifah (836) 2006-06-02 6:29
Well after the long list of compliments, it seams that everything must have been said about your excellent representation of such a sensual moment in a dance between 2 people. It says a lot, and the clothing emphasizes the sentiment and mood of the couple. the onlookers seem so mundane in comparison to this elegant and dynamic pair. thank you for sharing!
potatoe (28) 2006-09-30 7:24
The photo is great, both the concept. If you like tango and want to find out more, visit totango.net
devimeuxbe (58557) 2009-04-25 9:12
Wouaa; What a great dynamism. This ^picture invite us to the dance. Nice sharpness
delpeoples (57278) 2010-01-19 4:47
Ola Aires, fantastic! The tango is a beautiful dance, so iconic of Brazil and your photo is so admirably sharp and well-composed. The B&W adds drama to an already dramatic scene and I love the postitioning of the dancers slightly to the left of the frame. I wonder what a vertical shot would do to it? TFS and have a beautiful day, Lisa
ulkuakyuz (30) 2012-12-09 17:34
One can learn a lot by watching others! :) Excellent.
- Copyright: Romain Donadio (green) (1014)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Black & White
- Date Taken: 2003-01-00
- Categories: Festivals, Ceremony, Event
- Camera: Canon EOS 50E, Tokina ATX 28-70 2.8, Hoya HMC 77mm
- Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): Beautiful Black and White, Street Performers, Battle of the Sexes, Tango!, Dancing the world, DanCe ArOund the WorLd [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2004-01-16 11:51
- Favorites: 12 [view]