Category Archives: Dance

Chantecler

El Chantecler was a luxurious Buenos Aires cabaret located on Parana 440, between avenida Corrientes and Lavalle. It was initially owned by a french man named Charles Seguin, who was also owner of the Casino and Tabari. It was briefly named Vieux Paris in the 1930s.

Built and designed chanteclerin 1924 to be a cabaret, the Chantecler featured a driveway for automobiles to drop guests at the door, 3 dance floors and a large theater with VIP boxes which were equipped with telephones for the guests to place orders at the bar. It also featured an interior pool where beautiful young people could be seen swimming and playing games. The doorman and host of the house was Ángel Sánchez Carreño, also known as El principe cubano. Another well-known character of the mythical cabaret Chantecler was Giovanna Ritana, or Jeannette, who managed the place with her husbands after the death of Charles Seguin. [1]

For more then 30 years, El Chantecler attracted tourists and wealthy locals to eat, drink, dance and enjoy some of the finest entertainment in the city. It was inaugurated by the Sexteto Julio de Caro which was composed of Julio de Caro himself, his brothers Emilio and Francisco de Caro, Pedro Laurenz, Pedro Maffia and Leopoldo Thompson. In the 1930’S it became the primary scene of Juan D’Arienzo who gave a second life to tango dance and music with his cheerful and rhythmical style of interpretation. This is where D’Arienzo began working with Rodolfo Biagi in 1935 and met Pablo Osvaldo Valle, director of Radio el Mundo.

Like other Buenos Aires cabarets, the Chantecler became inactive as tango fell out of fashion with the youth of the 1950’s. It was demolished in 1960. Two tangos were composed to celebrate it, “Adiós Chantecler” by Enrique Cadicamo and “Glorioso Chantecler” by Juan Polito. A 1948 movie, “El cantor del pueblo”, was filmed inside allowing us to see couples dancing to the orchestra of Juan d’Arienzo. [3] A musical entitled “Chantecler Tango” was produced in 2015 by Mora Godoy.

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[1] Parise, Eduardo. El templo de la vieja noche porteña. Clarín, mayo 2015. Online.  https://www.clarin.com/ciudades/secreta-buenos_aires-chantecler_0_rkEDoFYDml.html(1)

[2] Palacio, Jorge. Los cabarets de los anos cuarenta. Todotango. Online. http://www.todotango.com/historias/cronica/163/Los-cabarets-de-los-anos-cuarenta/

[3] Juan D’Arienzo performing at the Chantecler. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAEeBRbwhJk

 

 

 

Armenonville

The cabaret Armenonville was the first luxurious dancing-restaurant in Buenos Aires. It was located on Avenida Alvear, now Libertador, at the corner of Tagle and frequented by the high society of the 1910’s and 20’s.

The building itself was a two story chalet designed to resemble a hunting Pavillon of the same name located in Bois de Boulogne, France. It was surrounded by large green spaces and parks and it was particularly popular during the summer months when dinner was served on a large terrace in the garden and rotondas.

The food was of the very best quality at the cabaret Armenonville, just as everything else. Promotional posters announced the finest french cuisine, parking for automobiles and carriages, beautiful terraces, gardens and the finest entertainment.

Inside the house, the ground level was organized around a large dance floor and a stage surrounded tables, boxes and balconies. Tango was becoming fashionable in those years and the luxurious cabaret was inaugurated in 1911 by Vicente Greco and his orquesta típica. Other tango musicians who performed at the Armenonville in the early years include Roberto Firpo, Eduardo Arolas and Augustin Bardi.

The legendary cabaret was also an important step in the career of Carlos Gardel who was hired to perform with José Razanno in 1913 for 70 pesos per night, a sum for which Gardel said he wouldn’t mind washing the dishes as well. This is where the duo was first noticed by Pablo Podestá, a regular who led them to make their debut at the theater and travel to Montevideo where Gardel first discovered  “Mi noche triste”.

When El Armenonville was demolished around 1925, the owners Carlos Bonifacio Lanzavecchia and Manuel Loreiro took their business to a new location and the Armenonville became Les Ambassadeurs.

There is a tango by Juan Maglio entitled “Armenonville” (1912).

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[1] Tango: Cien anos de historia (Vol. II). Buenos Aires: Editorial Perfil, 1992. Print.

[2] “El Armenonville, un cabaret inspirador”. Clarin, october 8, 2012.  Online. https://www.clarin.com/ciudades/Armenonville-cabaret-inspirador_0_ryfGMJkhvXl.html

[3] “Carlos Gardel: Debut en Armenonville.” Hagase la musica. Online.  http://www.hlmtango.com/notas/carlos-gardel/debut-en-el-armenonville/

[4] Cabaré Armenonville. Arcón de Buenos Aires. Online. http://www.arcondebuenosaires.com.ar/conf_armenonville.htm

Tangomania (New York)

It wasn’t long before tango reached Paris in the 1910’s, soon after it began gaining popularity in Buenos Aires cafes and nightclubs. The tangomania  made it’s way from Paris to other parts of Europe, including London where tango became ultra fashionable with high society around 1913, [3]. From London tangomania made it’s way to New York where it conquered the public for the first time through a British musical presented on Broadway in 1914. [1]

Though there is evidence that tango was present in the US earlier in the 1900’s, it seems like the impact of this first contact was minimal. There is evidence that Los Gobbi came to the Philadephia in 1905 to record for Victor Talking Machine and were back in New York in 1911 to record with Columbia [1] and that El Cachafaz was invited to perform in the US in 1911 but nothing to suggest that their presence made a strong impression on the American public.

The first sign of popular interest for tango in the United States came with the presentation of “The Sunshine Girl”, a British musical  which had been a huge success in London in 1913. The American version presented on Broadway featured a couple of American ballroom dancers, Vernon and Irene Castle, who immediately became a reference for tango dancing and began teaching in the US. [2]

One year later tango was a huge phenomenon in New York. People gathered to dance at “tango teas”, [3] which were held in restaurants and hotels in the London fashion. Tango dancing was a scandal and a sensation at once and there is abundant evidence in newspapers that these gatherings were the object of a strong public controversy. It’s in one of these establishments that Rudolph Valentino worked as a taxi dancer before he made his way to Hollywood were he became a start dancing tango in “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”  in 1921.

The tangomania  came to an end in New York around 1918.  π

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[1] Groppa, Carlos G. The tango in the United States. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, 2004. Print.

[2] Castle, Vernon, and Irene Castle. “Teaching argentine tango in New York, 1914.” Todotango. Web. Aug 2016. Online. http://www.todotango.com/english/history/chronicle/ 99/Teaching-Argentine-Tango-in-New-York-1914/  

[3] Holland, Evangeline. “Tango Teas and tangocitis”. Edwardian Promenade. Web. Aug 2916. Online. http://www.edwardianpromenade.com/dance/tango-teas-and-tangocitis/ 

Tango Argentino (musical)

Tango Argentino is a musical by Claudio Sergovia and Hector Orezzo. It became a huge success in Europe and on Broadway in the 80’s and it contributed to spark the wave of popularity tango dancing is experiencing today around the world.

The premiere of Tango Argentino took place in 1983 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris as a part of the Festival d’automne. It featured many well known dancers, singers and musicians such as Juan Carlos Copes, Maria Nieves, Horacio Salgán, El Sexteto Mayor and Roberto Goyeneche.

Tango dancing had been out of fashion for many years when Claudio Sergovia came up with this project and no one knew what to expect of it upon arriving in Paris. Shortly before the premier only 250 out of 2500 tickets were sold and the director was looking to invite friends to fill up the theater. [2] However the press wrote excellent reviews of the show after seeing the last rehearsal and on the first function Tango Argentino attracted more people then the organizers could handle.

The show ended up a being a huge success in Paris, traveled Europe and appeared on Broadway where it was offered 199 presentations between 1985 and 1986 [3], attracting not only tourists but locals, artists, personalities and a large cultivated audience. [4] After a year in New York the show went on a 3 years sold out tour of the US and stayed in Los Angeles for a few weeks before embarking on an international tour.

Tango Argentino went on traveled the world for a total of almost ten years and became the prototype of many other tango shows. It was  presented for the first time in Argentina in 1992 after touring the world. It was filmed in 1986 to be preserved by the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Library and a remake was presented on Broadway in 1999 and 2000 as well as in Buenos Aires in 2006. The show was brought back to life again in 2011 for an open air performance at the Obelisco in Bueno Aires before a crowd of 15000 people. [1] π

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[1] “Claudio Segovia: el señor del tango.” La Nación. Aug 31, 2003. Web. Sept 2016 Online. http://www.lanacion.com.ar/523391-claudio-segovia-el-senor-del-tango  

[2] Gambarotta Lisandro. “Tango Argentino.” El Tangauta. #146, Dec 2006. Web. Sept 2016 http://www.eltangauta.com/nota.asp?id=589&idedicion=0#nota-mas 

[3] “Tango Argentino”. Broadway Database. Web. Sept 2016. Online. https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-production/tango-argentino-4380 

[4] Groppa, Carlos G. The tango in the United States. Print.

[6] Gazenbeek, Antón. Inside Tango Argentino: The story of the Most Important Tango Show of All Time. Enrico Massetti, 2013. Print.