To listen to some examples of alternative
Argentine tango music online, check out this link to Jackie Lee Wong's
Dancing Tango to Alternative Music
Opinions vary widely about dancing with Argentine tango
steps to music that is not strictly speaking "Argentine tango."
Some say the "music is the dance." If you dance Argentine tango
steps to Fox trot music, it is still Fox trot.
Sometimes even Argentine tango music is not acceptable to
the purists because it doesn't fit into the standard mold for Argentine
tango dancing music. They say it is listening and not for dancing. An
example is the music by Astor Pizzolla.
Here is a piece published in TANGOReporter
(February 2003, Issue # 27), from an interview with Juan Carlos Copes:
"My life with Astor was very profound. I believe that he always considered
me a friend and I believe that from the pedestal where I held him I always
offered him what I could humbly do. Approaching that music that made me
fly so much, it made me fantasize, but also approaching him and feeling
like his friend was very satisfying. I had some sort of idolatry towards
I remember when I met him. I was a crazy amateur back then. It was the
year 1952 and those that have any memory of those days will remember they
would kick out the milongueros from all the popular places. And I said,
"I have to continue with this in some way, I can't leave it."
And besides learning other dances (dances that I was never very good at),
like contemporary, acrobatic, choreography, I felt I was very limited
with what I knew. So, I began to pay attention to the music.
"A Fuego Lento" by Salgan was one of the first tangos with which
a group of inexperienced friends and I worked, then one day I listened
to Piazzolla. Then I became a habitue of his concerts, which he often
played on the radio with his quartet. And one day I went to the Patagonia
Theater and I told him: "Look Astor, I have a small group with amateur
dancers and we are doing little stories about BA, not only with couples
but also telling stories and I would like you to see one that we did with
your tango "Contrabajeando." It seems that was a good introduction,
because he came by to see us.
He saw it, thanked us, and left. And then I realized that I still have
a long way to go to realize what Piazzolla had in mind. That was my first
physical contact with him. Until his last words in Rio de Janeiro after
a performance, he came, gave me a very strong hug and told me: "Man,
who said that Piazzolla could not be danced?"
NOTE: This article was called to our attention by Gulden Ozen of Tangophilia/North
Carolina. It was reprinted with permission of the TANGOReporter