("The Mooremack News," July
(Courtesy of Vincent
A new dance soon will be sweeping the
nation, we expect, and Mooremack is the proud grandfather or co-sponsor
or what have you. Itís the Good Neighbor Cueca, an exciting and happy
ballroom version of an Argentine native dance, introduced by Tony and
Billie Cansino, our dance instructors aboard the Argentina, and recently
released to the press and dance schools of the country by the Public
Relations Department of Mooremack.
While typically Latin in its feeling.
The dance as developed by Tony and Billie has a step that should make it
popular with the audience, and another that will make it very popular
with the dancers themselves. The dance opens with an eight-bar
introduction, with the dancers stomping their heels and the audience
clapping their hands in time to the music, somewhat reminiscent of the
hand-clapping sequence in the song "Deep in the Heart of Texas" and
with much of the feeling that came from that simple action.
Most exciting of all is the finale or
final step of the Cueca. The dance has built up all during its course,
a chase of the male after the female, and it is culminated in the last
step in a kiss, called the "Besito." Tony and Billie introduced the
dance on the Argentina and then began giving lessons to their dance
"We had the passengers lined up three
deep waiting for the lessons," Billie said, "and the men were just as
anxious to learn it as the women. I think it's because of the kiss, but
none of them would admit it."
The Cansinos saw the original native
dance in Buenos Aires, and while it is a riotous and frenzied affair as
such, they saw the possibilities of arranging it as a ballroom dance
that could be learned and executed easily with no accessories other than
a manís handkerchief.
The dance came originally from Chile,
and has as its original theme, the courtship
the rooster for the hen. Years ago it traveled, still as a native
dance, to Argentina, where with slight variations it has remained. The
music for the dance, also called "Cueca," is in 6/8 tempo, and up until
now has remained in Argentina. But all of the bands on the Big Three
ships of the Good Neighbor Fleet have been playing the cueca music for
the last few voyages and the music is as popular as the dance itself.
"We are more excited about this dance
than we ever have been about any other one," Billie said, "and weíll be
very surprised if it doesnít soon rival the samba in popularity. ltís
easy to do, and everyone wants to learn Latin dances. In this one you
stamp your heels, and as soon as a North American dancer stamps his
heels, he feels heís a real Latin expert."
Tony, who is an uncle of Rita Hayworth,
says that it is one of the simplest dances to perform, yet one of the
prettiest to watch.
After the opening eight bars, the
gentleman removes his handkerchief, and the dancers waltz around each
other, the man holding his handkerchief over his partnerís head. This
is then followed by the Paseo, a side step in three units of three
counts each. The gentleman then captures his partner with the
handkerchief around her neck as they waltz for four measures of music.
The girl then breaks away and, with each
holding an end of the handkerchief, they waltz around and under it. The
gentleman then snaps the handkerchief out of his partnerís hand, and
this is followed by the heel-stamping for four measures in the same
rhythm as the hand claps at the opening.
The end of
dance comes after the couple waltzes again under the handkerchief, and
on the fourth measure, they place the kerchief on their outside
shoulders, and with their heads close together, finish with the Besito.
Tony and Billie have been dancing on the
Argentina since the ship made the first post-war voyage January 15,
1948. Prior to that, they danced in some of the foremost nightclubs in
the country, and also were associated with Eduardo Cansino, father of
Rita Hayworth, in Hollywood, where he operates a dance studio. Tony
studied in schools in Madrid and Barcelona, and has danced in many
resorts and hotels in France, Belgium, Australia and in this country. He
appeared with the Marx Brothers in "The Coconuts" and in a play on
Broadway, "Henry Dear."
From 1942 to 1944 he
appeared in Kansas City, where he met Billie and after a backstage
romance, they were married in 1944, to become another couple of "Dancing