Gesture and movement

Photos by Sandra Sue
    Text by J. Alberto Mariñas

First the dance, later the music, and still later on, the song. From there, the myth, the aura, the stereotypes of passion, sensuality, seduction... and its image. At times, I wonder where tango really is, where it dwells. It may be that the spirit of tango is conveyed by the melody or by the beat; and that it is recognised in the lyrics and in the voices, always heart wrenching, transmitting it. But if we are to find a dwelling for it, it doubtless lies in the dance.

 

The tango dance, rather than the music or the song, is the generator of the gesture and the disseminator of a supposed - sometimes real- port mise en scene that has become unmistakable and has known how to establish a place for itself in the world's visual memory, from Helsinki to Taiwan, and from Paris to Bombay. It does not matter that the instruments change, nor that an erroneous musical beat hinders more than it helps the dance. The gesture represents it, evokes it, converts it into a symbol thanks to a rare quality of universal evocation possessed by few dances.

 

However...what happens when tango is also stripped of movement, as occurs in Sandra Sue's photographs? Then, we are only left with the liturgy of the gesture.
There is tango in the image that is reminiscent of boleas, hooks and falls, in any of the dynamic pictures of the dance, but its spirit is equally made evident in the pose: some fingers caressing a hat, some hands in pockets, the sideways glance, crossed legs... images that remind us of epochs and situations that have become crystallised and perennial, creating a folklore with its legends and its myths, with its costumes and its rites.

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