Cinquillos, tresillos & the tango/habañera question

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me-and-wenyang-and-joniFor all those interested in the tango/habañera question (like  Wen Yang and Joni and me pictured here  in Clarke Quay after our trip on the Singapore cable car,  here’s a place to look: Cuba and its Music on Google books.

Confused? The ‘tango/habañera’ question is a long-running issue amongst ballet teachers about a supposed difference between ‘a tango’ and ‘a habañera’, which in my view is like saying ‘What’s the difference between suddenly and a fraction?’  I will never be drawn on the question, because the terms are all wrong.  Cuba and its music goes a long way to revealing what the real issues and questions are, and it’s a much more interesting topic. However, to get that far in internet searches, you have to know what some of the expert key words are, like cinquillo and tresillo, otherwise you end up with the usual bland (and false) polarities between one supposed dance form and another.

In practice, I don’t think it matters – do we really have to be able to give something a name before we’re allowed to move to it? But if you’re going to be pedantic about it, at least be really pedantic.

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