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 Tango

Highly recommended film about a group of dancers setting up a contemporary dance show.  Plenty of high quality Argentine Tango as the characters interact and rehearse.  In Spanish with subtitles, but not much speaking anyway, as they spend the film dancing! 
Natalie Murray

 

 Buena Vista Social Club

Vibrant film about a musician who reunites many of the past greats of Cuban music for a final gig. Little dancing, but plenty of the finest in Latin jazz. 
Natalie Murray

 

 The Tango Lesson

Video release
Disappointing film about the director's own attempts to learn Argentine Tango in a class.  The male dancers are excellent, but are never really allowed to shine.  Not a great deal of dancing. 
Natalie Murray

The film shows superb photography and many impressive and perfectly choreographed dance scenes with a plot that is based on a partly true story involving the director herself and the famous Tango dancer Pablo Veron (playing himself).  It conveys the atmosphere and passion of Argentine Tango that has inspired many people to take up the dance. The soundtrack is a great selection of authentic Tango music. However, the "spiral type" of plot (mainly b/w) and the peculiar conversations (in English, French and Spanish) distinguishes it clearly from Hollywood movies making it at times difficult to be appreciated by mainstream audience. 
Klaus Petritsch

 

 Dance With Me

Video release
Recently hyped salsa film, but not a huge amount of dancing. Perhaps worth a look. 
Natalie Murray

 

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Three Wishes

3 Wishes - by Oscar Meléndez
 

“I hate dancing with Félix,” Charmaine said ...  “He makes you feel that you’re not needed.”

“I’ll tell you what’s murder,” said Ricky.  “A woman who doesn’t listen to the music…”

… Earl shook his head.  “… I was so glad when beads went out of fashion.  The way they used to whip you in the face...”

 

    Salsa dancers everywhere will find much familiar in the fictional London club of this novel.  The joy, frustration and social side effects of the dance, its music, friendships, cultural fusion and general force for good in society are all there, without being overtly evangelized.

    On the broader front, the universal questions of when to settle down, with whom and for what reason get a good airing, from perspectives of illegal status, ethnicity, class, politics and dancing ability, amongst the seven main characters and their friends and families. The narrative is interwoven in the first person from each of them, often telling of the same events from their different points of view, and the author succeeds in making the reader sympathise with each in turn, even in the arguments between free-wheeling dance teacher Ricky and his intellectual younger sister Isabel. 

    I enjoyed this book very much, but would have enjoyed it more were it not for the intrusive comma before nearly every restrictive relative clause.  It blurs the characters’ otherwise distinctive voices, giving all of them this same apparent quirk of speech.  Proof-reading should have zapped these (and yes, I edited one out of the quotation at the top), along with ‘waived’ for ‘waved’ and, more unfortunately, ‘waste’ for ‘waist’ a couple of times.  And why is ‘merengue’ in italics, when ‘salsa’ is not?  Perhaps merengue’s rare in London clubs now (there's hope yet!)  Other readers may not be so picky.  Overall, highly recommended.

Three Wishes
by Oscar Meléndez
Timbazo Books pp326
ISBN 0-9544550-1-0

Available from www.amazon.co.uk
Or by cheque for £6.99 + £2.75p&p from
Timbazo Books
Suite 401
Langham House
29/30 Margaret Street
London W1W 8SA
www.timbazo.com


July 2005


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