It took more than a century but the controversial claim that tango was first danced between men has finally been proven and verified. It turned out to be that a few special men danced with men the dances that men and women danced openly around the city. While a hundred years ago, the men dancing with men were called “invertidos”, and the places where they danced with each other were seedy taverns along the riverfront, today they’re called “tango queers”, and they dance all over the city sponsored by the National Institute Against Discrimination (INADI), the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Culture of Buenos Aires.
In an old hall of the Apple of the Lights, Jorge and German are dancing a tango. On a beat up wood floor, Jorge leads with a strong and decided hug. Until a moment in which the chords of music suggest a giro and in the vortex of the turn, their forces are confused. With no visible change, German is now the one who marks the step of the pair.
This is the tango queer, a style that from Friday to Sunday evening will be danced in different points of the city of Buenos Aires within the context of the “Queer Tango Marathon”, an event supported by the National Institute Against Discrimination (INADI), the Ministry of Justice of the Nation and the Buenos Aires Ministry of Culture. “We did not call it tango gay, because that term implies a sexual condition. We prefer to say tango queer or free, and that means the enjoyment of dancing with each other regardless of individual choice”, explained Carola Ojeda, professor of dances and organizing of the seminary “Shall we dance in freedom?”
“As well as in a marathon where people run 42 km, our queer marathon lasts 42 hours” said dancer Jorge Casi.
“This way to dance is much more popular in Europe, but I believe that here, little by little, it’s being more accepted,” reflected Ingrid Saalfeld , a German who ten years ago founded a dance school on Hamburg, where the tango queer originated. Next to her, Kalé, a Welshman who lives in Tokyo, indicated: “In the dance I like to be lead, but the most beautiful thing about queer is to be able to change roles”.
In the seminary of “Jumps in tango”, the pairs doubt, they laugh and try it until they finally loosen up to doing the firuletes that embellish the dance. “Yes, to learn to dance it this way, without a defined role, is much more complex – says the tango queer professor Maximiliano Avila, but who claimed that to be free was something simple.”