Volcada Gigantonas Tango Debajo del Volcán

Gigantonas Tango
Lord M's Guide to Tango Moves
Lord M's Guide to Different types of Tango
Nicaragua National Tango Championship
Tango Nights on the First Coast
The Milonga Pygmalion Effect
Lord M Favorite Tango in the Media
Lord M guide to Ballroom Dance
Lord M's Guide to Tap Dance used in Ballroom Dance
Lord M Guide to Swing Dance
Lord M Guide to Various Two Steps
Lord M Guide to Spanish Dance
Lord M's Hiphop favorites
Lord M on Rock Dance

2005 Nicaragua Tango Champion
Lord Makemson
Sir Robert Makemson

2006-2007 Nicaragua National Tango Championship

The related account below was told by a Watas (shaman) at the events hotel, during my last visit to Nicaragua. (I hope they have some more free side activity like this at the next contest)I've tried to reconstruct what he said from memory, as best I can. (He would not let us take notes). The Watas claimed to be a descendant of the priest in the story. I know some of the dance community was there for the Watas talk. If you have any details about the below occurrences that I missed please let me know.

 Lord M






The Devising Spirit of Tango and The Mirror of Mose

Around the middle of the 16th century, a young child Andre Le Clercq delighted in working the beautiful gardens of the wealthy Mirando family house in St Augustine Florida. The most cherished of these time was watching a beautiful Spanish girl gracefully swirl in the adjacent courtyard. He would copy her motions imagining he was dancing beside her. Andre grew tall and handsome, and wed the strong bosomy daughter of a wealth French pig farmer. The natural floral beauty of the coast brought many years of happiness to St Augustine resident. That is until the French under Dominque de Gorgues ( in response to a brutal slaughter of surrendered french soldiers) attacked the Spanish in nearby San Mateo (1567 now called Fort Caroline). Governor Menedez ordered Spanish retaliations and the hunting down of all adult Frenchmen. This went on for several years.

One night seeing Spanish soldiers approaching his house Andre jumped on his steed and got out of pistol range, with the Conquistador in hot pursuit. One of the shots they fired spooked the horse of a royal carriage running it off the path into a bog. The soldier just stood there in shock or indifference (depending on the varying versions of the story) as a young lady midriff bleeding, crawled out of the half sunken carriage pursued by a 6 foot alligator. Andre watching from behind a patch of tall grass immediately jumped in the water and held the Alligator's mouth closed, as the lady swam it to shore. When Andre got to shore the soldiers arrested him.

The woman turned out to be the daughter of the newly appointed Governor Hernando de Mirando. She told her father of the ordeal, that a brave Frenchmen, a Huguenot, helped her while the Spanish soldiers just laughed. He order Andre brought before him at the court. He offered his daughter in matrimony to Andre, provided he swear allegiance to the Pope and king of Spain in front of the court. Andre said although he recounted every night of the countesses dancing when he tended gardens in his youth, he was faithful to his wife and could not utter words that betrayed his beliefs.

The governor then dismissed the court and offered to help him hold his tongue by having his mouth sewn shut. Then he ordered the Andre tied and placed in a box behind a full length silver-framed mirror ( just imported from Venice) and had it placed in his daughters room.

His daughter delighted in the gift of such a precious mirror.

Andre died a week or so later. The Countess never knew of his disposition prissying herself and dancing in front of the mirror for years. She died years later during a yellow fever out break.

From here the story takes on more of a legends status. Stories about the Mirror sometimes called the Martyrs Mirror pops up with different twist throughout Christendom, reminding all of the religious persecutions of righteous people.

It was the legend surrounding Fort Mose that is juxtpositioned so perfectly as stand out. See Ft Mose part of present day St Augustine was founded by run away slaves. (Mose is the original Indian name for the area.) In order to get their freedom they had to first convert to Catholicism. They did however retain some of their cultures, oral tradition and practices like dancing and singing in Ring Shouts.

In the middle 18 the century many Mose died defending St Augustine from the English at the Battle of Bloody Marsh (1742). The most heroic was Captain Antonio Estelus, who received a gift, of a very old mirror, as a reward from the governor. The mirror was said to be so heavy it was carried to him by oxcart. This made things difficult when the English soon insisted that he and the rest of the Mose people leave Florida.

It is said he set sail with Mirror traveling to Cuba and then along the South American coast for 15 years, finally ending up in a part of Mexican Empire now called Nicaragua.

He spent two year building his new home, hunting and selling pelts in the solitude of the rain forest beneath the smoldering San Cristobal Volcano. One day a beautiful girl named Catherine appeared at his door. She asked to come in, glanced at the ornate mirror and pleaded to use it from time to time. Catherine's dancing left Antonio breathless. Over the next few weeks during her daily visits he taught her how to dance in the Mose traditional ring and she taught him how to mirror all her moves. During the dancing Antonio felt his jaw lock up and his body Gigantonas (puppetized with uncontrolled moves). From the depths of his psyche came the thought, this is sorcery.

He eventually told this to a priest who came from St Augustine back when Andre had. The priest explained his Mose Catholic belief that everyone has two souls, one godly- soul leaves the body and returns to God at death, but the animal- soul may decide to stay on earth if it has unfinished business.

It is the animal- soul that may become a La Carretanagua or a boo hag, types of phantom demons.

The priest told him not to let her in the house anymore and to position two brooms as a cross at the doors and windows. Andre agreed to do this. That night Catherine knocked on his door, he said, " By the power of all that is good you may not come in.", she pleaded with him all night and left just before dawn. Then he heard a distant scream. He ran to investigate when the battlefield hardened soldier saw his worst horror. It looked like the Niquiranos local Indian fur traders had made Catherine into a Taxidermy display on a tree. Just her skin left to hang on a tree to dry.

The next day Catherine showed up at Antonio's house to find the door open. A note on the mirror. The guilt for Antonio was too great. He climed San Cristobal and leaped into its crater. The priest helped cover up this most grievous sin.

(The Watas did make the point that some phantom demons leave their skin at night when they go hunting.)

The mirror stayed in the unfinished house for over a century. The family that bought the house later expanded it and turned it into a lodge.

In 1890 more than a century after Captain Antonio Estelus's death a new dance craze was taking place. The Tango invented in Nicaragua was brought to the larger cites of South America it was based on mirroring the image of your partner, moving around in a circle and copying the movements of leaning gigantonas.

It is said in 1895 the first Tango contest had taken place in Nicaragua the winner a mute Black Frenchman and his young Spanish wife, Andre and Catherine Clerk

Even more interesting the contest is said to have taken place in front of what they called the Hall of Martyrs which centered around what was called the great Mirror of Mose.

After several decades the Tango craze died out, but in 2005 a series of Tango Tournaments started up again in Nicaragua, under the appellation Volcada Gigantonas Tango Debajo del Volcán. The First winner was a couple from the United States, Robert Makemson and his partner Cathy. Oddly they live in Ponte Vedre Florida only 20 miles from St. Augustine .