I’ve often heard the phrase ‘tango face’ and believe it to be one of those phrases that mean different things to different people. If a regular European social tango dancer was to use it they’d probably mean the display of zen-like awareness that some people are able to adapt. It’s likely to include a kind of half-smile and a relaxed face as the follow ‘listens’ to the lead through their body and to the music with their ears. The Strictly Come Dancing afficionado is more likely to mean the adoption of whatever expression the dancer most feels represents torrid passion. Quite apart from the cringeworthy cliche of such perceptions, the expressions themselves make me think of constipation rather than angst. Ballroom tango dancers adopt different expressions altogether. Like actors they change expressions according to the story they’re dancing and a vocabulary of unspoken (and possibly unarticulated) conventions that I’m only beginning to learn.
I thought it might be fun to use images to explore (and possibly subvert) the convention of what a good ‘tango face’ might be. This, which is a fairly conventional shot taken at the recent Fire and Flame Ball, is the first shot of the series.