1916, January 24 – HOUSE COLLAPSES ON TANGO DANCERS”

For Florence Vargman there was a mixture of apprehension and excitement in these preparations; this would be the moment she had dreamt of since she was a little girl….her beloved Joseph had finally proposed and she was meticulously planning the wedding; she wanted everything to be perfect…perusing a wedding magazine she happened to see an ad for tango lessons by mail, an innovation of the famous couple Vernon and Irene Castle who had popularized dance and especially the tango in America…instantly she loved the idea but when she proposed it to Joseph he adamantly refused; he didn’t dance…she finally prevailed upon him “it will be my wedding present sweetheart” , she had said to him…they began secretly  practising in the evening after dinner following the patterns  described in the book; her grandmother did not like the tango calling it “the dance of the devil”….the Vargman family was the proud owner of the new Edison Disk Phonograph on which they could hear the tango “El Choclo”, composed in 1903 and known to everyone; this was also the year that the “Cumparsita” was composed…to Joseph’s surprize he began to like the tango; something about the music and the moves captivated him

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The day of the wedding finally came and everything was perfect; she was glowing, he was handsome…afterwards the guests repaired to the Vargman home for the feast and the celebration…Florence could hardly wait, she invited the guests to the second floor for their gift; a tango demonstration…it was a great success and the applause were enthusiastic….Florence and Joseph then invited everyone to try it and they did an impromptu lesson for the group…around 20 guests were joyfully tangoing when suddenly a great creak was heard and some people stumbled, followed by a loud crash…the supports of the second floor had given way and it, along with the stairway collapsed to the second floor below; a number of guests had to be rushed to the hospital….Joseph sustained a broken arm and a sprained ankle; Florence’s injuries were more serious and she had to spend months in the hospital recovering…the Aurora Beacon News writing about the event the next day, quoted Florence’s grandmother, “I told them it was the dance of the devil”

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