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Bridge to the Tango

Buscador

Babelfish

Costa Rican
School of Dance

Flamenco World

Budaya Tours

Salsa Web

Salsa Freak

NEFFA LinkFest

The Viennese
Dance School

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No, No . . . Your Other Right Foot no - it's not a hairpiece, just a bad haircut                           back to TTN home page
by Joe Harkins - Jun 09, '99

   I've got to go to Buenos Aries. A few weeks ago, here in New York, I saw an imported film ("Tango") that, sorry to say, probably will not play except in a few cities where independent films haven't been multiplexed out of exposure. The story line was pure soap opera but the music, the photography and especially the dancing, were 99 point 44 percent pure heaven. Before the fever with which it infected me subsides, I think I'll need a trip to Buenos Aries so I can learn to tango like an Argentinean.

    If you've ever left a movie theater wanting to boogie like a hepcat or meringue like a Dominican jet-set playboy you'll understand. Dance is a language. The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself where it is spoken.

    If you agree, this week's column is for you. Wallflowers can sit this one out.

    Bridge to the Tango has its footings in New England but it arcs to some surprising destinations. You've just missed their May/June tour of the tango palaces of Amsterdam where the staid Dutch are syncopating like a windmill with an extra arm. However, you've got time to make the Montreal tango tour in July. In an email, Daniel Trenner, founder and chief dance instructor for Bridge to the Tango, says trips to Buenos Aries are afoot for this Fall and Winter (the Southern Hemisphere's Spring and Summer).

    But if your feet are itching to go right now, there are links to dozens of tango teachers on Buscador, a directory web site in Argentina. Most of the pages have an English version. However, if you encounter a Spanish-only page, just remember you can get an adequate translation at Babelfish.

    Sway to the pulsating rhythms of Central America and you might consider the multi-disciplined Costa Rican School of Language, Dance and Cooking. The site's ambitious name reminds me of the discount flight service in an old Bob Newhart sketch, "The Grace L. Ferguson International Charter Airline and Storm Window Company." If you have a sound card in your computer, you'll be entertained during your visit by a synthesizer version of Ravel's Bolero, a trite piece of French Classical music. Please don't ask me what that has to do with Latin music and dance.

    Few dances are more powerful and erotic than Flamenco. This is despite the fact, or maybe even because, the fiery dancers never touch one another. Men and women usually dance alternately, in taunting competitive displays. Flamenco World contains links to the leading schools in Spain.

    Budaya Tours specializes in a dance immersion experience in Bali. The rich, multi-layered culture is explored during 6 classes, 4 of them within the Royal Palace of Peliatan. The tour also includes attendance at 4 different Balinese dance performances. The coordinator is an American professional dancer with substantial training and experience.

    You'll find a complete guide to spicy salsa schools, salsa cruises and even a Salsa Vacation Planner at Salsa Web. Salsa Freak seems to be a more personal web site within the larger Salsa Web. Both sites very thoughtfully contain a direct link to the Babelfish translator. I was disappointed that options don't include Lucy and Desi's favorite, the cha-cha-cha.

    If you don't want your happy feet to leave the USA, there's plenty of genuine ethnic dance instruction worth a domestic journey. NEFFA LinkFest lists and links almost 1,200 dance camps and dance conferences where "the real thing" is taught. Those include Afro-Haitian, Cajun-Zydeco, Clogging, ContraDance and my favorite, good ole' American Swing.

    The Viennese Waltz has been described, quite accurately, as "the most romantic thing two people can do standing up." If you'd like to learn right now, go to the online interactive course at The Viennese Dance School. Put one arm around your mouse, place your other hand firmly on the waist of your keyboard and ahh . . . one-two-three, pause - one-two-three, pause - .

    There you go.

    But please, just because they display the steps for you, there's no excuse for footprints on the monitor screen.

-30-

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