Strictly Tango – Film24 – 07.01.10

Well, I watched Strictly Tango last night on TV.  The blurb mentioned that it was a film taking one back to the home of Tango, Buenos Aires.  Hmmm!  I thought for sure that meant that there would be film footage of people dancing in Buenos Aires.  But no, it was about a few people who were doing Ballroom, mainly in London.  I do not really feel  that the film title reflected the content, which I now think is rather misleading.  When they eventually did get to the Argentine Tango bit, I thought for sure that they would be chatting with people who helped to start the Tango movement in London.  It wasn’t so.  I was quite disappointed frankly.

If the title was Strictly Dancing, that would have made more sense as the film was essentially about a few people who dance various styles and what dancing means to them.  There were interviews with a few well-known ballroom dancers that have been on Strictly Come Dancing, a woman who makes amazing ballroom dresses, a professional woman learning to dance ballroom, a man who has done many styles of dance, and a couple of well-known AT teachers and an AT organiser.  Unfortunately, the Argentine Tango bit of the film was quite minimal compared to the Ballroom bit.

This is why I was annoyed about the film title.  I watched for nearly an hour wondering when they would get to the Argentine Tango bit and when they finally got to it, there was no footage of people dancing in Buenos Aires and very little of people dancing it in London.

Has anyone else seen this program, and what did you think about it?

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. elizabeth
    Jan 09, 2010 @ 23:16:46

    I have not seen the film. But it’s interesting that people who dance Argentine tango , or the type of tango danced socially in milongas, never never want to be confused with Ballroom Tango, but Ballroom Tango is always sort of suggesting that they are Argentine or Argentine inspired or some such.

  2. Arlene
    Jan 10, 2010 @ 16:00:39

    Hi Elizabeth,

    You may be right about that. My objection basically was that the title of the film is misleading. There wasn’t even any Ballroom Tango. It’s like buying a box of Raisin Bran and getting Cornflakes instead.

  3. tangobob
    Jan 11, 2010 @ 18:19:47

    Just do not turn the TV on if it says anything about tango in the title. I have smashed too many televisions that way. It is funny how many people who learn how much we dance assume that we watch Strictly. My answer is always the same “we are too busy dancing to watch it on TV”
    You can take back some of what I said Clive James did a very good program from Buenos Aires a few years ago, but that was pre digital.

  4. Kim Schwartz
    Jan 12, 2010 @ 00:06:26

    Hi Arlene

    We were interviewed for the documentary and although we haven’t seen it ourselves yet, we know a little about how it came about.

    The makers of the film were originally only interviewing people from the world of ballroom. They only came across Argentine Tango because they were filming ballroom at the Waldorf Tango tea where we happened to be also teaching and performing. We persuaded them to come and film at the Dome. So in other words, it was only by chance that there was any Argentine tango in the film at all!

    The name of the documentary was originally London Tango but we’re told that the sales agent selling the film to different distributors decided to change it to Strictly Tango.

    We feel exactly the same as you about documentaries about tango not being about “our” tango at all. But I suppose, knowing how the documentary came about, it’s a small mercy that there was anything about Argentine tango at all!

    Kim (& David)

  5. Arlene
    Jan 12, 2010 @ 08:57:14

    Hi Bob,

    I couldn’t help myself. It was a weak moment. The Clive James program was so good that he even took up dancing Argentine Tango and I saw him a few times at the Loughborough Hotel. 🙂

  6. Arlene
    Jan 12, 2010 @ 09:02:40

    Hi Kim,

    The episode I saw had an interview with you and David and also showed you and David teaching at The Waldorf. There were a few hazy clips of people dancing at The Dome and other places. I think it came about randomly because one of the professional ballroom dancers mentioned having to learn Argentine Tango, which is why they probably stuck it in there, sort of like an afterthought.

    I am so glad they didn’t name it London Tango, otherwise I would have been really peeved! 😉

  7. Game Cat
    Jan 12, 2010 @ 20:31:04

    Hi Arlene,

    If they had called the film ‘London Tango’, would you have had a decent shot at suing for wrongful use of your website’s name? 😉

    At the least, you would have a sudden surge of website visitors.

  8. Arlene
    Jan 13, 2010 @ 07:48:07

    Ah Game Cat,

    No, I wouldn’t. Actually, several people have Londo Tango as part of their web names. I just would have been peeved as it really has nothing to do with Tango in London!

  9. David Bailey
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 17:49:54

    I saw it, and I even reviewed it:

    Fortunately I was forewarned, so my expectations were low. And even more fortunately they were exceeded. I quite liked it.

    Yes, the film title (either version) was a stupid choice. But that aside, I thought the programme was watchable – and it was nice to see Ian Waite, and hear him talking about learning AT.

    I guess I was probably in a tolerant mood when I saw it. 🙂

  10. Arlene
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 18:30:50

    Nice review David.

    You are right, it wasn’t a bad film and it was good to see a few familiar AT faces. I expected more because of the title and blurb. Perhaps in the future I will keep my expectations soooo low that even the mention of AT will be a bonus. 🙂

  11. David Bailey
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 18:55:26

    “Always expect the worst” 🙂

    Another positive way of looking at it is, the word “Tango” is now seen as sexy. 10-15 years ago, it’d be seen as naff.

    So Tango – and this is AT specifically – has gotten a high positive profile, so much that it’s used to sell stuff. For example, just look at the amount of adverts around using neo-tango music.

  12. David Bailey
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 18:58:50

    On the “” thing, is a parked address.
    Lookinng here:

    it appears that it’s owned by a domain regisatration company in Toronto.

    Which is probably all totally irrelevant 🙂

  13. Arlene
    Jan 19, 2010 @ 09:32:42

    Actually David, I own it, but I haven’t had the time or resources to set up the website yet 🙂

  14. David Bailey
    Jan 21, 2010 @ 21:53:39

    Hah 🙂

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