Tangomania - the beginning

On the weekend I ran a very successful milonga (thanks to all those who came and made it a great night) with lots of new music and some happy punters; and also went to Mimi's Pink Tango night at the Artarmon Freeway Hotel enjoying a night of fundraising for breast cancer. I spent today in 1914 because I am immersing myself in history again for a new book. (I am a writer in my non-tango life). Today I was in Paris in 1914. Tango was the dance in that year, it was considered outrageous as couples had to dance in an embrace, and the height of fashion - it was the beginning of Tangomania. This was not the focus of my research but you can't avoid if it comes up and you are fascinated by tango.
War would break out in Europe on July 28 of that year. The shooting of the Austro Hungarian archduke in Sarajevo, Bosnia would set of a chain of events around Europe that would eventually see much of France destroyed - tango was not on the agenda.
However before this awful conflict there was a sense of euphoria. Charlie Chaplin made his 6th movie 'Tango Tangles'in which he did not have his usual moustache, did not dance the tango (as far as I can tell without actually watching the movie) and played the protagonist. Clearly he called it Tango Tangles because tango was the fashion.
Tango Teas began at London's Waldorf Hotel - after dying off in the 1970s these have recently been reinstated but without tango as the focus and I have yet to speak to anyone who has been (note in diary for next visit to London)...
Orange was the colour of tango (not red and black!) and tango merchandise -shoes, dresses, head pieces, gloves, fans... were all the rage.
Tango had moved up market and though it would take a back seat for four or five years it would reappear in the dance halls and salons of the 1920s.


Unknown said…
Interesting... are you writing a book about every year in history? Cause that might take a while, lol. Where did you read the history of tango? Is there a comprehensive book that you would recommend? It's interesting that they used to wear orange, cause you never see that nowadays. I wonder where that originates from, maybe just the fashion of the times.
Hi Lucy,
No, I'm writing about war brides in the 20th century - actually I'm updating a book I first wrote in 2002. But I find the social times around WWI fascinating.
If I find out anything about Orange I will put it on the blog.

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