29 July 2008

Tango night

What you see here is the regular Tuesday night tango get-together in Campo San Giacomo dall’Orio. I don’t know how long this has been going on, but I've been around Venice long enough to say with a sigh, “It’s not like it used to be.”

Not so long ago tango night was a small local affair, strictly for Venetians. Their little orchestra would play, without amplification, all the Buenos Aires classics and a few improv pieces. Perhaps eight or ten couples would come to dance under the strings of colored lights. The ladies were all made up and nicely turned out, often wearing hats (and on chilly evenings, their coats as well). It was just like something out of a Fellini movie.

But tango became popular again, and the past few years have seen a proliferation of classes in Venice. Now folks of all ages and nationalities turn up to promenade or just practice their steps, mostly to recorded numbers, although there is live music after ten o’clock. Even the tourists have caught on to the tradition, some taking to the floor wearing their Crocs, with their backpacks still strapped on. Not my idea of tango attire, for sure!

One thing hasn’t changed though: me. I still just stand around and watch, green with envy because I haven’t yet found a willing partner who would permit me to join in the fun.