CAUSE OF PRESENT TANGO CRAZE? ASTRONOMERS
BLAME IT ON THE SUN!
Explanation of the New Dances and of the Waltz, Which
Aroused the Same Protests a Century Ago Tango
' Is Likely to Be Standarized Soon and Then
There Will Be No More Cause for Complaint
THE SUN, SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 1914.
Rude sailors of the Brest
STItoNOMEHS say that the tango
last till 1924. Which docs
mean that the Archbishop of
New York, the Kaiser of ltcrlln
nml tli' Duchess of Norfolk In London
will iu! ifiuniiih In their views upon the
Tin' tango of the nstronomers Is the
tantio type, the poetry of motion, the
iimmv also and perhaps the Very Mus
tard .ill those dances of graceful atti
tudes 11 tul syncopated measure, chefs
JH'tivrr of rhythm and gesture, the
titKatlnii of romp and the whirling
Hut xve may oven see folks waltz, for
tie arc in a dancing period. It Is the
.Jll ! fault.
i:vcr Uxly knows that sun spots regu
late il mclng; and as It Is a critical
(tried of .-nlar activity none may hope
and few would desire to keep folks
tri'in being charmed liy rhythmJc move
nt nt Yon Imagine that you dance be-au-f
it is the tango, when It Is the
tarn:., treatise you dance!
Wl.11 h comes to this, there Is a time
t.i dance and a time to tire of dancing.
The sun's periods of eleven years, Its
m.iumums of thirty-three years nnd
rrand maximum of once n century cor
roi'imd very perfectly to the waltz of
1512. the wallop of (which nisi,
u.d.ercd In the sehottlsoho). the
maztuka of 1S30, the polka of 1S4."i, the
'iii.ulr.lle of ls.-.L', the lancers of 1S01,
!l.t tutuon of 1S69, the pas de quatre
f lb!C the Mostun of 1Mi3, the cukc
,ilk of ISO" and the tango of 1U13.
An astronomer could even point out
th. grand minimum of nothing dolus
uf'.r ISTO, and the thirty-three year
m.iNlmums which save, Just thirty
!hne jears apart, the notable dances of
'.(.I- mazurka, quadrille and lioston.
It is on this principle of ma ml re
rudescenee that the tango type ought
.1 last till FJIU. Given the present
tango anarchy worse than a certain
' land of pickles, there are ISO varieties
' may well require some time to
tra.hten out the new dances.
iti.-o they are new. The quadrille
nas Mew, though nothing hut the contre
datise tevlved. What matters that f saw
"Dmi Padllla" tangoed at Cadiz In 1SD2?
1 .-.ih the cakewalk done at Philadelphia
in l'T IJoth were brand new to the
wi.rl l when their time came, .
It mint Madet In 1'arls culls the Mos
ton a waltz for pale persons." Jn
(Vlitiiig tango which Is surely new
she defines as "a lioston for paler por-ni-
' Truly its clutches and wriggles
have nothing of the free grace which
made Marthe l.'rbaln call the tango vthe
mimii .if the twentieth century." It is
all i.u'lu. the waltz went through simi
lar ulwiitures Just a hundred years
A I imlred years ago the armies of
.Vaiornii found the peasants of
Thur.ngia dancing a new dance. It was
k K.o nnd audacious, so heart nulling
ar.d laminating In its music, so novel In
H(-m nml tempo that the soldiers of the
llramle Armee ull but stopped lighting
tn it am it,
It w is danced by couples. The man
i'ik h iiartner by the waist, while sho
urii: 1 , his shoulder. The remaining
arm were held outstretched, hand
claspmn hands. And round and round
the ..,,i s whirled, round and round to
miimi ,f , new lilt which brought tears
lo th. ( ips, a measure at once languor
"') in 1 .i.t.tted, soothing und exciting,
t'-ntmi. r, al. diabolical.
".V w that Is some dancing!" said
Hip Mr il irn of Napoleon.
Tlnv look the dance with them,
taiu'li' ,! ui the conquered nations as
full . "Hipens-atlon and somewhere
waltzing very correctly
around 1S12 the waits came to Paris
Imagine a walls bringing tears to
Yet Dchycourt called It "the. folly of
the day." Simultaneously In Paris they
waltzed In 1,800 piibllo balls! Youl
might think It the tango. Young folks
could not eat Ices on the terraces of
Kagatellc without Jumping up every ten
minutes to waltz on the lawn. They
waltzed everywhere. In public. In prl
vale, In all ctasstn. "from Countesses to
Queens" nnd "maids and valets waltzed
behind the scenes."
In the midst ot 't " great protest
similar to that of the present Kaiser,
the King of Ituly, certain Hlshops In
"Wild Waltz" in Paris 100 years
France, the Duchens of Norfolk In Eng
land and the Mayor of l'ittsfleld, Mass.,
arose ncnlnst the popular new dance.
In Paris two famous society leaders
not to mention a very famous Kmperor
Mme. de Cenlis and Mine, tie Stnel.
proclaimed themselves respectively
agaliiMt it a ad for It.
The Countess de Genlls, who was also
the Marquise tie Slllery- -of the first
great champagne mark -obtained her
Immense Influence by her genius as a
writer and her early position as gov
erness in the royal family. At that
moment Napoleon w.ih paying her
JC.OOO a year to write him weekly let
ters on literature and morals. Mine,
de Stael, daughter of the famous
Necker, Minister of Louis XVI., w.-fs
charming as a woman and a notable
writer, who with Chateaubriand opened
the modern age In all kinds of thought.
Napoleon did not like lief and he did
not much like waltzing.
Napoleon requested Mme. de Genlls
lo give earnest meditation to the ttugo
pardon, I mean the waltz and to
please to write It out for him. They
were agreed against.
Mme, de Stael was for. To-day she
would bo In favor of the tango. And all
three were right and would be right to
day. "Inconvenient" waltzing of 1S12
was as objectionable as Infighting
Specimen of Dancing
tango. For months the fate of the
waltz trembled In the balance, when
tlenlle (Jenlls, In her strife with Stael
Would e'en proscribe It from a Paris ball!
Hut, unlike the Kaiser, Napoleon
hesitated to move decisively against
"the folly of the day." Lord Myron
Joined the fray nnd In his celebrated
"Ode" expressed his disapproval of tak
ing your partner by the waist, while to
keep a grip on her unengaged hand
"To press that hand so pressed by none
but thine" appeared to him the limit.
So he summed It up:
Can nUKht from cold Kamsrhutku to Cape
With WnlU compare, or nfter Waltz be
Kvldeutly, yes, the tango. And now It
!s alt the same thing over again. Prog
ress Is an eternal advance around a
To understand the strife that divided
society nnd animated Lord Myron's
"Ode to the Waltz," one has but to
glance at the dance prints of the period.
There were twenty ways of waltzing,
when the waltz was new, Just as to
day the tango but I said that. Half
of them wen- good and half of them
were bad. There I an old twopenny
colored print to-day worth $10 of
rude sailors of the Mrest waltzing very
correctly. The man does not touch his
partner. With elbows crooked, very
saucy, he rests his two hands on his
two hips nnd lets the girl cling to his
Crulkshank depicted modest London
waltzing. The couplts kept far opart.
Sometimes the man clasped his hands
ago. Napoleon considered it as bad as
gingerly behind his partner's waist
while sho gripped bis shoulders.
Or he Just touched her waist
with open palms. A daring couple
whirled with his arm around her waist,
her right nrm leaning on his left
The other extreme was a "wild waltz"
of Paris the man held his partner so
snugly In hi right arm that she could
luxuriously repose on his shoulder. As
Washington Lopp said to the King of
Spain while teaching him the lioston:
"It's a touchstone of refinement." And
the same might be said of Jig, cake
walk nnd tango. Little by little good
taste prevailed and the waltr. arrived at
veritable heights of delicacy in Paris.
The zenith, around 1S30, was the "valse
roule," the partners going side by side,
with their hands clasped behind their
Ine present danger of the tango Is,
of course, Its infinite variety, When I
saw Alexander Kahn, late of lioston,
dance the tango with Marthe l'rbaln,
proi'titly of the Paris Opera, In Kahn's
offices of the rue Tronchet In Paris to
the simple music of a piano, I ncelvetl
the Impression of n veritable sweep of
gracious movements antl noble attitudes.
Hack and forth and in and out they
went very much as I had seen "Don
Padllla" danced at Cadiz. It looked a
subtler, suppler minuet.
A to the position of the partners, the
modern Idea In waltzing Is perfectly
accustomed to your having your arm
round the girl's waist. And to lead her
you must keep her close. In the tango of
Kahn and L'rbaln, and that of correct
Paris society to-day, it Is less amazing.
While the position of the man's right
arm and the left arm of the girl are the
same as In all modern waltzing, the
tango step itself demands that the dan
cers keep apart from each other, One
of the prettiest figures seemed to me a
so-called backward movement, when the
left arm of the man and the right hand
of the girl were Wedged In between the
Mut when I see paid dancers at the
tango tea of the Grand Cafe In Paris It
Is not that nt all. It Is quite different. It
Is something like wrestling at a fair
"every grip permitted" and n gallant
man helping a poor girl to pick her
way out of a miwy plate.
There are now 120 figures, they say,
of the tango.
It was so easy In the beginning, and
now you know why It is s i difficult
at present. So few knew the beau
tiful old dance In the beginning that
whoever dubbed himself a teacher might
ndd something that was all his own.
Doubtless, also, It got tangled In the
One great danger comes from all this.
It Is the tendency to pair oft nnd dance
continually together. A couple who are
used to the same figures dance well to- "Don Padllla."
gether. On the other hand a p.flr who do ' Slipping back nnd forth from maxixe
nut know or do not like e tch other's ten-1 to tnngo stops those sleeping sickness
dencles fir cannot readily feel or guestnngo wriggles, while the music alone
the Kaiser considers the tango.
what the other Is going to do find It
very dltllcult to tango together. Kven
more, the very conception of the tango
differs with the person.
So much so that In Paris It is pretty
well agreed that this really grand dance
will have to be standardized by way of
return to the original simplicity which
made it nt first the easiest of dances.
I do not say "a return." but "returns."
That early tango, welcomed as the
ensleM of dances, which any one could
learn and which stout matrons of 60
rejoiced In, would be tango A. And half
a dozen other models every one will
come to know them will bring order
out of chaos antl preserve the first great
modern dance of unhastc from a bad
How otherwise has it an excellent
reputation here and a less excellent
there? Why does the King of Italy
rule It out ami the Czar of Itussla rec
ommend It? Why do certain French
bishops bland It as a "powerful dissolv
ent of French morality," while the re
mainder observe benignant neutrality?
Kvltlently there must be something more
than Individual good taste. There arc
two tango tendencies!
So much so, 1 repeat, that ulready
In some of the highest Paris circles tho
tango Is danced under another name!
The alias Is the maxixe, the "Mrazillan
maxlse." This "charming dance,'" whose
attitudes are "Infinitely graceful," will
not shock the prejudices against which
the tango struggles. As an aristocratic
American matron said to a French
duchess, "Thank goodness, It cannot
cause the least offence to the niimt dell-cate!-"
Its character Is "essentially
And, note you, nil this Is true In a
way. While the tango Is becoming
more and more u wilfully and Intention
ally slow dance, the maxixe Is a dance
of movement, and Its attitudes are
gayer, franker anil more varied. And
here Is another good thing. While the
figures of the maxixe are far less
numerous than those of the tango, yet
the positions of the couples change
Finally the essential step of the maxixe
Is a lengthened polka step, very glid
ing, You will therefore be surprised
to learu that the music Is so similar
that It Is possible to dance the maxixe
to the tango mid the tango to the
maxixe! To step from one to the other
and back again Is a f.ivr 'c amuse
ment of the young In the beginning of
P.iH' Some call It tin; tnaxlxe tango.
Others call It the tango m.txKe.
Still others call It Just the maxixe,
the Mrnzlllan maNixe. In truth It Is
simply standardizing tnngo. In some
of the stricter public dancing teas, they
don't dance any other. I have watched
them at the Saus-Souci in Paris and it
r"sembles very perfectly the dance of
Kahn and t'rbaln.
It resembles also
Height of waltz delicacy in Paris around 1830. It is the "valse roule.
would keep the couples going In. a'
sweeping dunce of dignity and beauty, music has done great harm. Fortu
In standardized tango they will go uately the maxixe is danced chiefly to'
Haw vnrlmiK til emplnyme nt hnm tho
rail .li, nml who JuMly In return
KntFcius t hit t buy world tin idler t".
HUOl'GH the little narrow street
crawled a funeral procession
dragging Its sombre way north
ward toward the Williamsburg llridge.
On cither side of the street rickety
houses reared their shabby fronts
toward the gray sky. Draggled women
and plaintive liable. crouched on dilap
idated doorsteps, frowsy men ami
grimy children slouched on tho side
walk. And through this gloomy quar
ter the tiny white hearse with its reti
nue of black carriages rumbled and
rattled Its way.
The hearse was drawn by a pair of
gaunt gruy horses, skinny to emacia
tion, miserable brutes, seemingly pre
ordained to Just such dismal tasks. The
driver, despite his tall hat and rusty
frock coat, displayed no remnant of
dignity, for his ret! eyes and dropping,
scrubby Jowl betrayed his weakness,
The little white vehicle Itself was fear
fully nnd wonderfully made. Its thin
white paint was scratched off In many
places, its soiled glass scarcely revealed
the tiny tasket within, tho tawdry
palnled figures of kneeling angels,
perched tremulously on the four cor
ners, were almost ridiculous In their
raw crudity: the swaying tassels, once
white, were now frayed Into limp
threads and stained a dirty yellow,
Mut the spectators saw none of these
things; Indeed the common feeling was
voiced by the Hps of a blowsy woman,
who peered nearsightedly nfter tho
procession, as sho rasped, to her curious
"Sure, dears, it Is a grand funeral
th Glordanls be havln'."
T was between three nnd four of a
Fifth avenue tho wonderful traf
beautiful afternoon. Up and down
lie of the town rolled like n broad
belt drawn forever over an Invisible lly
wilieel. Motors, caTilnges, ponderous
clattering buses surged on and on In
endless succession, save where at the
street corners the white gloved hand of
the truffle policeman checked nnd held
for a moment.
In the middle of Forty-second street,
where the bustle was most dense, stood
n tall, superbly erect policeman, gray
mustuched and gray haired, n man
Craze of the day,
back to ancient music. Modern tango
who might well have been the object
of Arnold Mennett's famous query:
"Who Is that In the blue uniform? A
grand duke?" Perfectly calm, wonder
fully ellltient, this slnisle man noise
lessly and surely stopped and started,
swerved and switched, the humming
tangle of vt'ilelcs.
Over on the eastern sidewalk a mass
of people teeteled and craned forward,
waiting for an opportunity to cross.
Tlie policeman, turning to them, shook
his head, beckoning them to wait for a
moment; but even lis he forbade pas
sage theie skipped out from the crowd
an elderly, much overdressed, more
overpowdered woman. Uy no less t'-inn
n miracle she dodged a speeding lim
ousine, slithered under u horse's nose
and reached the centre of the driveway
determined to push her way acros. In
that rush of tralllc It seemed that si'.ie
must he struck and hurled down be
neath the grinding wheels; hut Just at
the very instant that she passed the
policeman there came a shrill blast from
the police whistle, blown directly in
The shock seemed fairly to hoist rile
woman two feet Into the air, and as
she came down txo olllcer, with a quick
forwattl step, seized her arm, Then,
with hand lifted In warning, he escorted
the woman to the curb with the ex
quisite courtesy of an ambassador,
bowed gravely, and returned to his post.
Again tiiie tralllc shot forwaid. nnd
the olllcer, turning toward the inter
ested crowd, slowly antl solemnly winked
F.FOHF. a certain shop window
adjacent to (llceley Square was
gathered a large group of peo
ple. Nor was the group compoed ex
clusively of men, for through the shov
ing mass Jostled many women, young
nnd old, chic and shabby, all craning
to peer through tlie plate glass.
Impelled by the Inevitable metropoll.
Ian curiosity that stampedes a 'crowd
nt tho wall of a fire engine or clots It
before a steam riveter, even though an
engine pnsses every day and n riveter
plies its deafening clatter every hour,
the Itusy Idler sifted through the Jam
und saw: a wn figure!
Mut such a figure! Resplendent in
rose paint nnd white enamel, effulgent
in taupe silk anil cr.vstull.lnc rhlne
stones, the lovely lady sat, hypnotiz
ing her admirers with a saccharine
smile that Circe herself might have eu
old "Mrazillan" music of real value and
a raru and taking rhythm. Certain of
them aru old popular airs, like "Don
Padllla," and must lie described as pure
chefs d'leuvre of rhythm. So the tango
when I. come to Its own ngaln. Of
course, you know. It Is not really Ar
gentine, and in a recent symposium of
London society leaders Lady llelmsley
struck tlie true note.
"It Is a pity," said Lady llelmsley,
"that the old Spanish dunce, the tnngo,
quite graceful In Its original form,
ahould in the cou.-se of Its indirect in
troduction into our country have ac
quired so many of the objectionable
characteristics now nssocinted with It,"
Antl finally Ijidy Myron has Just
called It a "romp."
Unfortunate tnngo! I would back
Fngllsh girl to romp through almost
anything: but the tango, whatever be
Its faults. Is the negation of romp!
And here Is Its charm. Its reason for
being. Mepose, ah, repose' Previously
when any but sixteen-year-old girls
waltzed or quadrtlled they got tired.
Men, especially after !!4, had no desiro
to whirl and get winded. Quite young
men had come to say, "I don't dance,"
Hostesses wen- so hard up for dancing
men that they founded a play on it,
"The Man From Whlteley's."
Hut they dunce the tango! Why?
lie cause the tango eliminated the Jump
and brought In an easy plastic move
ment. Why, the primitive tango, which
we all leariu-il was the easiest of dances,
as the waltz is the hardest. It will
become as easy again, a eny as the
minuet uud as precious for developing
I speak of tango type, the tango ot
1 speak of standardized tango, ancient
Spanish tango, tango maxixe, or what
ever healthy forms are bound to come.
In any case It Is the first dance since the
minuet and the gavotte to do away with
the "whirling dervish movement" which
captured the world with the waltz.
A hundred years Is a long time to
I d 1
u s y
vied. Mut it was neither the face nor
the smile that held the throng. Not
at all. Indeed, be It salt! truly, tho
waxen lady owed her attractive qualities
to the cut of her skirt, if a awning
gap from hem to waist ma he de.
scribed as a cut, and through the re
vealing charm there appearing almot
a yard of sheerest brown hosiery
clasped Just above tlie knee by an un
believably scintillating band of Jew
Mut the tenets of morality are Irre
fragable and vice can never he
Haunted In the face of virtue, for tint
next morning found the lovely lady
veiled and enshrouded In lovely taiipo
drapery, so discreetly cemented together
that hut tlie merest tip of a blown
slipper ventured to the gaze of Mroad
way. IT Is not the purpose of the Muy
Idler to enlarge upon racial tils
Unctions nor to indulge in invid
ious or uneomplluientary comparisons
letweeii white and black. However, a
little incident thai occurred recently
mi a Columbus avenue car seems
worthy of note and may Induce a moiu
charitable view toward the black
It was in one of those rickety and
antediluvian street cars that still elt
In New York that the incident tool;
place. Tills car, introduced Into tin
service long before the era of the cross
seat, was Jammed as usual with a
ihiong of hoiiiegiier. The parallel
seats were Jammed, nnd several men
were standing, Inn when all old woman
liitlVletl down Hie car a gray hailed
old darky, dressed In careful black,
rose and with a respectful how offered
Ills seat net to a motherly negro
mammy, who was eUdcntly his wife.
Mut before the feeble old woman could
reach the vacant place a much besot
ten white man had lurched into thu
gap. The darky said nothing, did not
even alter the expression on his face,
until presently the interloper began to
address insulting lemarks to the col
oreil maium The old negio endured
this for a block or two, but finally as
his wife looked at him appe.iliugly ha
leaned over quietly, picked up 111 bag,
nnd, beckoning his wife to follow, got
off the car.
Tlie white man looked after thktn
suddenly, then quickly dozed off to
sleep, murmuring something about
''them fresh niggers."
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