Tango Monsters

Last week I went to a Tango music concert. Given the amount of time I spend dancing Tango it doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but it was a lovely concert in a tiny venue. (It was at Caffee Vivaldi where I heard Roger Davidson with Raul Jaurena and Pablo Aslan, followed by Fernando Otero). For a couple of hours I left my desk and just listened to the music.

It’s also remarkable because when I first started dancing, I wasn’t hooked on the music. I was enchanted by the dance. I was captured by the movements, by the mathematical possibilities of the asymmetrical footwork and by the idea that it was a living, evolving dance and not something that was codified with antique rules. For the first few months I listened to Tango music every night as I fell asleep. Bit by bit, song by song, the Tango rhythms and melodies invaded my dreams, and took over a good part of my life. I’ve been dancing ever since.

What does this have to do with my MONSTERS?

Tango is irresistible. So it’s natural that it should dance its way into some of my fiction. It is among the story threads in the latest Candy’s Monster. Since the very first draft of what is now Bram Stoker’s Summer Sublet was written about ten years ago, my rewriting process has included a look at what I said about the Tango then, as opposed to how I talk about it now. It’s a little like my Tango ghost reaching out and sending me a musical message.

In the new, and much improved, version of the story, Tango dancing and music play pivotal roles in moving the narrative along, and writing about the dance as it is seen from the point-of-view of the non-dancing protagonist was a fun challenge. Here’s a snippet from the soon to be published e-novella. She has just seen her first Tango at a dance in the Village.

The second piece was introduced as an improvisation, and that was even more impressive. Stripped of the choreographed leaps and fancy kicks, the dance expressed a spontaneous conversation between the dancers. Sometimes it shouted, sometimes it whispered but I felt, very deeply, that my presence — and that of the entire audience — was irrelevant to Mauricio and Lucia. Unlike the choreographed performance, this song was only for them. We just happened to witness it.
(Excerpt from Bram Stoker’s Summer Sublet)

No, Bram Stoker’s Summer Sublet is not a Tango love story, but that Tango Monster — the one that sneaks into a dancer’s heart and turns your life around — certainly lurks in the tale.


    • Candy

      Later this week I’m seeing an HD broadcast of the National Theater Frankenstein at a movie theater in Times Square, NYC. I love how those classic monsters get around.

  1. I can’t dance it but I love the tango and the music! The thing I hate about so many of those Dancing with the Stars type shows is that a) they try to set the dances to contemporary music that supposedly has the same beat and b) that they hide the actual dance in amongst so much acrobatic fluff. I guess they know the average viewer wouldn’t know a tango from a cha cha and so have to put in all the extraneous stuff to keep the audience going ooh and ahh.

    I’ve been dying to read the ‘sublet’ anyway but now I /really/ want to read it 😀

    • Candy

      I am completely with you on the peculiar music choices made by those dance contest shows. Makes me crazy when someone does a Foxtrot to a hip hop song… It also makes all social dancing look like kitsch. Argentine Tango — the real dance and not the stylized, theatrical version — is miles and miles away from Dancing with the Stars. In the book I see and hear Tango through the protagonists point of view. It was fun to write and not my observations.

      Glad you are looking forward to my Bram Stoker inspired novella. It is being proof read now!