Harlem Shake in the Tango World????


Well-Known Member
Paraphrasing myself from another thread.

Oy. I hate it when people point out online typos, which anyone and all of us can make on occasion. *head slappy thing*
That said, I think that the Harlem Shake is one of those fifteen minutes of fame kinds of phenomena. It won't be around long enough to seriously damage the integrity of "pure" tango, IMHO.

As a deliberate tango outsider, though, I have to say that I find it refreshing to see that there is a tango scene out there where people are low-key/humble enough to allow for another dance on the hallowed tango floor. It's nice to see that not all tangueros take themselves too seriously to get a good laugh.


Well-Known Member
Having fun and being open to new cultural phenomena are just that, no matter what style is involved.

Not defending H Shake, btw. I googled it yesterday and watched some videos of the "authentic" thing in a PDiddy video from back when he was still named PDiddy. Not much of a dancer. Genius at marketing, though.

Dances evolve and are changed by contemporary culture. Whether we like it or not.


Well-Known Member
I guess I should add that the new Harlem Shake video that started all the uproar is intended to be a parody from what I've been able to google. It's intended to be a joke. No idea why so many people are getting their knickers in a twist over an internet joke that may last a few weeks longer, if that. That's the thing about viral/social media. Today's big deal is forgotten tomorrow.


Staff member
FWIW, here is what the Harlem Shake (AKA the albee), actually looks like. You have to find something posted a while back, instead of the nonsense that people have been uploading lately.



Well-Known Member
Oh my gosh. The mere idea boggles the mind.

The Harlem Shake done Gangnam style? :eek:

In all seriousness, though, now that Gangnam Style and the latter day Harlem Shake are out there, there are probably TONS of people thinking hard about how to create the next online dance sensation. The Harlem shake's buzz is not long for this world, IMO.

Now if only a partner dancer would come up with something that's fun, easy to do, and that is "sexy" enough to go viral. IMV, that would help our community. As a rule, I'm all for anything that gets people up and dancing. Don't care much what kind of dancing, as long as you're dancing. But, in the context of growing tango or even the larger partner dance community, Harlem Shake is fun, but it's not advancing the cause of partner dance.

On a tangentially related note, I really don't think that some very vocal proponents of tango historical purity have any idea of how off-putting their approach can be, to people outside the community. I think that, for the most part, they mean well. They think they're preserving an art form. I respect that. But don't preserve an art form to death. If one has to get a degree in musicology, study the culture of Buenos Aires, find just the right teacher, not enjoy show dance, take at least one trip to "Mecca," etc, just to be considered as a legitimate lover of tango then well. There are a lot of people who'll just hang it up and find a different dance that actually wants and welcomes new blood and (heaven forbid) new ideas.

Not saying that tango is not one of the most beautiful, sensual (not sexual. Sensual) dances I've ever seen. It is. But I just don't have time for the drama that seems to come along all too often. "I am doing it right. You're not doing it right. This is historically accurate. New things are 'not tango.' " Yikes. Reminds me of several major churches in the 20th century and a couple political parties right now. (Not wanting to start a discussion about either. Just citing examples that DF's audience would find instantly familiar.) The organizations I'm talking about had to/have to choose whether to open themselves to new ideas or accept obsolescence.

Maybe tango is not that way. Maybe there'll always be a core of the faithful who think that preserving the tango of the early 20th century is the only true faith and who are able to preserve it. *sigh*


Active Member
That said, I think that the Harlem Shake is one of those fifteen minutes of fame kinds of phenomena. It won't be around long enough to seriously damage the integrity of "pure" tango, IMHO.
Years ago someone asked Rodolfo Dinzel for his thoughts about the milonguero style. Dinzel replied: It's a current fad, but it won't be around long.

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