You know, that I could not pass up an opportunity to comment on the video that went viral of the President of the United States, Barack Obama dancing tango during his visit to Argentina. My Facebook and email inboxes have been overflowing with copies of the said video, along with comments. At first I was going to ignore all the social commentary, but then, the response by the US (and other international sites) and Argentine social media were so different, It is amazing the reaction worldwide and here in Argentina.
When Ms. Godoy was contracted by the Argentine government to dance tango for the guests at a dinner party for the first couple, she made it known that she planned to ask Obama to dance. The Secretary of State (in Argentina) as well as the President of Argentina, asked her to please not do it. They did not want to risk embarrassing the President of the United States in an important state dinner. Argentina had much to lose. The Obama visit was a very important step for Argentina in the international and financial community. The President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri has and is working hard to change Argentina's reputation as a financial pariah. The absolute last thing they wanted was to embarrass Obama.
That is all history. It was more important to Ms. Godoy to get Obama to dance with her so she could be seen all over the world. She didn't care what the President of Argentina wanted, it was what she wanted. All ego. The Argentine ego is legendary, and this is a prime example. She grabbed Obama to dance and it is purported that he said to her "I don't know how to dance tango." He can be seen with an uneasy smile. She didn't care, this was her chance for 15 minutes of fame. She pulled him to dance with her. Obama is known for his good nature and rather than make a scene he followed through. A truly gracious man. The other option would have been to make a scene saying no, while the cameras rolled. Godoy took advantage of the situation.
If you look at the pictures or the videos, you will see that the response by those that attended was stoney. Even Obama does not look all that happy about it while dancing. He has that "I wish this would end soon look on his face." Jose Lugones took Michelle Obama to dance,which was just as awkward. While the story maybe viral in the international press, it is not mentioned here, anymore. There was a blurb when it happened and after that, nothing. It was mentioned in the context of the dinner. In the press summaries of the visit it is not mentioned. It has been relegated to the gossip rags. What she did was considered in bad taste and disrespectful. Can you imagine if the White House and the Secretary of State contracted an act for a state dinner and then defied orders to not do something, and it was done anyway? That is exactly what happened here.
Now as to the response by the tango communities here and abroad. Tango communities in the USA went wild. I remember when Volkswagen used Bahia Blanca for the ad campaign of the Passat, I was delirious with joy. I saw tango everywhere in those days, and even my car had a tango. All over Facebook US tango dancers were posting the video and talking about it. Their president was dancing tango. Heaven. That was all they could see. Even if what was being danced was not tango and the music was abominable.
The response here was the opposite. First of all, what Ms. Godoy dances is not tango. She dances contemporary dance to sometimes but more often than not tango music. She is a stage dancer. The music that was played is hardly a tango. It is annoying. You would never hear anything like that referred to as Argentine tango music. It is contemporary music and not even like the electronic tango played by Gotan Project. Her tango days are long gone. There was a time when she danced with Osvaldo Zotto. What she dances now, is something else.
The majority of the tango community felt compromised. Over and over people wrote in Facebook, how it was not tango. That they couldn't believe she had done that. They were horrified by the leg wrap. One person wrote how he was sick of the press seeing this as Argentine Tango. He saw it as an attack on the heritage of the dance. Others wrote that the reason people outside of Argentina think tango is something else than what it is, is because of trash danced like this. In other words, it was rejected. In my Facebook feeds there was nothing positive from Argentine tango dancers about the demonstration.
What do I think? I am glad it all worked out. I would have hated for Obama to be embarrassed. I thought what Godoy did sucked.