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It was a Saturday night, in Buenos Aires, 10:30pm, to be exact. It was a hot summers night, and you could see, and feel, the steam rising from the cobblestone street, here in La Boca barrio*. This is where it all began over a hundred years ago, and you can still see pictures of tangos faded heroes of yesteryear hanging on the walls.
The tango hall was packed with caballeros* in their suits and suspenders, and the damas* dressed in their red dresses, and stiletto heels. Still feels like the roaring 20's fedora hats and all! With a glance, and a flick of his baton, the orchestra leader motions to the bandoneon* player to begin, and so he starts dum dum dum, dum dum, dum dum dum.
The men tilt their fedoras slightly to one side, and stride ever so elegantly across the hall to pick their partner, and together they glide over the black and white checkered marble tile dance floor. The moonlight filters through the skylights, illuminating the smokey haze, that permeates the Milonga* hall.
The dancers have their gazes fixed on each other, and they move and glide to the incessant syncopated rhythm of the bandoneon. The violins and cellos join in with their plucking sound matching the tempo of 2-4 time. The dancers are dancing chest to chest, and then cheek to cheek, moving and gyrating, in time to the beat. As the tempo picks up the pace, arms and legs entwine, and then separate and entwine again. Spinning and twirling, strutting and whirling, they dance into a frenzy, at a frenetic speed, all the while staring with a look of love, (or at least of passionate desire) and what else would you expect to see dancing the moonlight tango?
* La Boca barrio- downtown neighborhood where tango was born
*Milonga- tango dance hall
*Bandoneon- Small accordion style instrument.
John Derek Hamilton
Copyright © John Hamilton | Year Posted 2017