Strictly Tango: the pre-match hype
15th December 2008
- Flavia and Vincent - an actual class
- A Message To Ian Waite
- Brendan: what is this Tango thing?
- Len: Sleazy, sloppy, cliche
- The Music - When Doves What?
On Saturday 13th December, the three remaining contestants on Strictly Come Dancing finally took on the Argentine Tango.
Expectations were high, as one of the pros, Vincent Simone, was an acknowledged expert in AT.
The build-up was intense - it was discussed pretty much every day on It Takes Two.
Flavia and Vincent - a lovely couple. Err...
On Monday, Vincent and Flavia did a little masterclass with steps, including the "bicycletta" and some ganchos.
Little were we to know, this would be the high point of the week...
Apart from their lovely demonstration, a recurring theme of the week was of professionals - dancers and teachers - displaying a total lack of knowledge about the dance and even the names of the steps.
Ian, being blond
Dear Ian Waite,
Here follows a quick lesson in Argentine Tango terminology.
A "gaucho" is the name for an Argentinian cowboy. It is not the name of a step. The word you were looking for, in your singularly inept description of Rachel and Vincent's rather lovely sequence shown in the training footage, is "sacada".
Now, being charitable, maybe you meant "gancho", which is a step. But it's not one they were doing, so you still look like a big blond eejit.
So either try to have some semblance of a clue, or get someone in who actually knows what they're talking about.
Lots of love
Brendan, in Full I-Haven't-Done-My-Revision Panic Mode on Wednesday, decided to play the expectations management game. A bit like Tina Fey did in the Vice Presidential debates - by proclaiming his complete and utter ignorance of the dance, he hoped to get some semblance of sympathy from the judges and audience.
Brendan, looking flummoxed
Unfortunately, Claudia "Paxman" Winkelman failed to ask Brendan the rather obvious follow-up - to whit "Seeing as this is a key dance in the competition which I assume you want to win, why on Earth didn't you bother to take a lesson or two, sometime in the past 3 years it's been included?"
Brendan therefore continued to whinge about how little he knew, until I got so bored I switched over to the Channel 4 pre-news adverts.
On Thursday, Len gave what is laughingly referred-to as a "masterclass" to Claudia. In AT. It doesn't get any scarier than this...
Len, class of the master
Anyone who's seen such a class - and there must only be a few solitary shreds of lichen living in the sea-depths 6 miles down who have not - knows that this is typically a total disaster, with Claudia gurning away on her stilt-like shows like a crazy gurning thing whilst failing miserably to either listen to or understand Len's comments.
And it started off this way again... Either following Ian's cue, or possibly following Bruce's doddery-ness, Len also insisted on calling a gancho a gaucho. He also spouted on a load of old rubbish about the feel of the dance, running through roughly 2,652 caricatures and cliches in about 2.6 minutes, which even for him must have been a record.
However, and somewhat astonishingly, once Len actually started, he didn't look like a complete bozo. The hold was authentic - good, even. He managed to lead a couple of steps, and it almost looked like a Tango.
Of course, Claudia then spoilt it when realising she might look vaguely like she was following a lead, by opening her mouth and spouting her usual inane gibberish.
But for a brief flicker of time, there was dancing. And it was good.
The artist formerly known as Vince
For some reason - God knows why - Vincent and Rachel were dancing to "When Doves Cry", which is a great track, but in terms of suitability for Argentinian Tango, it rates right up there with Patty Page's "I can't tell a waltz from a Tango" - the latter played at my local tango club last week.
In fact, Patty may have had the edge. So to speak.
Brendan "Cram-boy" and Lisa "What do you mean you've never seen it before?" were dancing to some vaguely familiar electro tango track - I can't remember what the track was called, it'll come to me...
Tom and Camilla were bopping away to "Por Una Cabeza" - possibly the most well-known Tango music on the planet; I reckon even the aforementioned lichen could hum away to that one. I mean, who could forget Arnie stomping his way through a Ballroom Tango to it - twice - in True Lies, whilst surrounded by a bunch of people doing AT and wondering what the hell was going on? I know I can't, and believe me I've tried.
Anyway, the point is, it's not really AT music.
So, the person with the least experience got the best music. Huh, how strange.
- David Bailey, 15th December 2008