Monday, 12 March 2018

Tango and Chaos, where are you?

About a month ago I remembered a clip I’d seen on Rick McGarry’s great Tango and Chaos blog, which I hadn’t visited for a few years. I found the site – but the clips were no longer there. I was using my mobile and I assumed this was because of some software incompatibility. However, when I went back to the site a few days later, on February 22, I found a message saying that the site ownership had expired and that it was available for purchase. Currently, if you search for it, you don’t get anywhere or you get a message asking you to try again later. I’m not sure when McGarry set it up, but free blogging might not have been so easily available then. YouTube began in 2005, and might not have been the obvious choice for hosting videos until later. I remember McGarry’s videos were good quality but took ages to download as he’d bought space on a server to host them.

So much enthusiastic writing, so much background info about tango, about dancing and the milongas, and in particular so many wonderful clips of some of the great dancers, all gone. It’s a real loss. It was over-elaborate in parts, especially the attempt to explain the tango walk, but the enthusiasm was undeniable. I’m sure everyone who read it will share my dismay that this great resource has vanished, and will hope Rick will resurrect it along with the wonderful clips which, he claimed, were just some of his extensive archive from years of filming in the milongas, a priceless record of a generation of dancers, many of whom are no longer with us. His site was a real inspiration for those of us who believed in social tango, and guessed that it wasn’t what we were in general paying our teachers for. In an atmosphere of choreographed moves Tango and Chaos was a breath of fresh air, and when the clips started to appear, suddenly we began to get an idea of what social tango really looked like.

The site, or part of it, lives on in a Russian translation McGarry authorised in 2012. But in Russian! Of course the clips are there, records of some wonderfully happy afternoons of dance in Lo de Celia, but it’s only part of the site and it doesn’t seem to have all the material that was in the original.

Does anyone have news of McGarry? It would be great to hear that his enthusiasm for social tango is undiminished, that there is a backup of the site, that a revised version is planned, even that more of his archive of clips of social dance, filmed at a time when dancers who had learned in the Golden Age were still on the floor, will become available.

(I received a comment on this subject which I don’t think I should publish as it has an email address and phone number. It reads:

Albert Doan has left a new comment on your post "Ricardo Vidort and Luisito Ferraris: videos":

To my great disappointment Rick Mcgarry's website Tango and Chaos is not available. Can I get some help in resolving the problem. Does anyone have contact information for Rick Mcgarry.

Al Doan

Sorry Al, I can’t help. I discovered this myself just recently, and this post is my response. Of course I’ll update you with any news.)


Anonymous said...

yes this is a real loss to all who want or need to discover real tango..
I spent many hours reading & watching when I was a beginner..

Anonymous said...

You can use the "internet time machine" to access old content, but I don't know if everything will be there.

AlanJonesj said...

I enjoyed the site too...There was a recent discussion on the Dance Forum site,I will try to find out more!

AlanJonesj said...
Strange, because the site was reinstated. I hope more info can be uncovered, thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

As someone previously mentioned, the entire text as of 2017 is available from the Wayback Machine at Unfortunately, I tried loading some of the videos and it seems they were not cached because the website was using a Flash plugin to play the videos.

Yokoito said...

I also liked T&C very much. I tried the time machine link as suggested above. It worked, can't say if things are missing but will try to find out.

Anonymous said...

I found the start page of T&C, but every attempt to see chapters got a 'not found' response. Hopefully I did something wrong...advice is very appreciated.

Kind regards

I usually don't advertise my blog . But as a fan of T&C I have written some postsabout it. It's in German, I am ready to translate on request - kindly use the comments in case.

Francesca Halfacree said...

I heard from a friend of a friend that Rick isn't dancing anymore...
Such a loss as I've found Tango & Chaos a useful resource.
I know someone with a printout of the blog, maybe I'll have to refer to that!

Tangocommuter said...

Thanks for the info, Francesca. Great that there is a printout, but unfortunately that won't include the clips. They might not appear on a copy on the Wayback Machine either. I seem to remember that the clips were hosted separately on another server: if payments on that server are up-to-date I guess they might still be available if you had the links from the blog. I'm glad that a few of them are still available on Youtube.