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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Friday Fun Fact: The Origin of the Tango with Alli Sinclair

"I'm late, I'm late for a very important date..." so sings the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland (a role I played twice... I think it was the teeth!).

I am late with my Friday Fun Fact and I can't even claim it is still Friday in some other part of the world. So a huge apology to my guest Alli Sinclair who is here to talk about the origin of that most sensual of dances - the tango!

Oh my goodness, if a cover could sell a book, LUNA TANGO should sell its socks off. What I love about this cover is that the "model" are not models, they are real tango dancers. A couple of years ago I shared a flight to the Gold Coast with Alli and during the course of this flight she told me about her peripatetic life and this book she was writing with a tango theme set in South America. Just the sheer sumptious, exoticness of the premise hooked me on the spot.

In case you don't believeAlli's life is a story in itself... Alli Sinclair is Australian born and spent her early adult years travelling the blog: scaling mountains in Nepal, Argentina, and Peru, rafting the Ganges, and riding a camel in the Sahara. She lived in Argentina and Peru and it was there her love of dance bloomed. When she wasn’t working as a tour guide, Alli could be found in the dance halls learning tango, salsa, merengue, and samba. All of these adventures made for fun storytelling and this is when she discovered her love of writing. Alli’s stories combine her passion for exotic destinations, the quirks of human nature, and the belief that everyone can dance, even if it’s to their own beat.  Connect with Alli on her WEBSITE and Facebook 

And her is Alli's Fun Fact (or not...)


No one knows for sure how tango originated

Tango is renowned for the air of mystery that surrounds the music and dance, so it’s befitting that no one knows exactly how tango originated. Tango aficionados and historians can’t agree and as tango began at a time when written records weren’t common, there isn’t any concrete evidence to support any one theory.

Here are some that I discovered in my research:

Theory One:
In 1880 Buenos Aires was little more than a town and European immigrants arrived to work the land after British Rail laid tracks across the country. As most new arrivals were men planning to earn their money and return to their homeland (most never did), Argentina had a shortage of women. The only way to meet “good” women was to go to dance halls and woo them. The men needed to practise dancing and they went to brothels to dance to live music. The women at the brothels were otherwise occupied so the men practised dancing with each other. This theory became popular after Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges wrote an article linking brothels and tango. His fans agreed and the theory grew into a commonly accepted truth that many people still believe.

Theory Two:
Tango was born in the tenement blocks of the poor where a melting pot of nationalities lived. Young boys learnt to dance with their male relatives and once competent, moved on to dance with sisters and mothers then eventually women at dance halls. The music united people from many cultures and became a common language that eventually morphed into tango.

Theory Three:
In the 1880s, the only dance seen in public in Buenos Aires was at theatres or dance halls. The brothel theory may have stemmed from some dance halls that doubled as brothels, or from dance halls that were frequented by men and women whose morals were frowned upon by their Christian counterparts.

Even after all my research I still can’t decide which theory is the right one. How about you?

If you would like to read more about men dancing together, click on this LINK and watch the fabulous Macana Brothers. It’s guaranteed to make you smile!


Tango, like love, is complicated

Desperate to understand the reason her mother abandoned her twenty years ago to become a world-class tango dancer, journalist Dani McKenna delves into the world of tango in the hope of exposing decades of lies and deception that have threatened three generations of her family.

When Dani meets the enigmatic Carlos Escudero—a revered tango dancer and man of intense passion—they work together to help her understand why her grandmother lives in fear of all things tango, and how the brutal murder of a tango music legend in Buenos Aires now affects her family.

Despite her lack of rhythm, Dani and Carlos create their own dance of the souls, until the differences in their cultures causes a deep rift. As she seeks to reconnect with Carlos and rebuild her family, Dani finds tango—the dance of passion—becomes a complicated dance of betrayal.

Luna Tango is the first in The Dance Card Series, published by Harlequin MIRA in print and eBook. It is available through AMAZON and all reputable on line estores as well as bookshops across Australia. 


  1. Fabulous! I loved the video and am loving Alli's book.

  2. Fun videos and interesting theories of origin. Brothels seem to be a common denominator though! Looking forward to reading your book, Alli.

  3. I LOVED the video of the Macana Brothers...the way they kept swapping the lead without missing a beat. From my obsessive watching of Dancing programs (or as DH calls them "crying dancing people") this called Argentine tango isn't it? I also love the Pasa Doble...

  4. Thank you Kathryn, Susanne and Alison. I love watching the Macana brothers as I love their humour and they are so super talented! I'm a sucker for dance shows as well, Alison. And thank you to all for reading my book (or about to be) - much appreciated and you'll be tango experts in no time!

  5. How fun to see your post - I'm guest blogging about my tango mystery here later this month and just stopped by to see what earlier posts looked like. Imagine my surprise! As someone who has spent a lot of time in B.A. and generally obsessing about the dance, I vote for the bordello connection. All these men, alone in a new world, lonely for companionship, and competing for the limited number of available women. If you listen to some of the early tangos these themes are pretty clear. Best of luck with your book - I'll look out for it.