The Argentine Tango is one of the most complex Latin American dances. This dance requires lessons, practice, balance, and eloquence. The Argentine Tango is truly an emotion-filled and passionate art form.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Argentine Tango debateable beginnings were in the nineteenth century. At this time, half the population of Argentina lived in Buenos Aires and half of that population was foreigners, mainly from Western Europe. Like all aspects of Argentine society, the tango must have been influenced by these demographics as well.
The tango started in the brothels and slums. The close body contact of the opposite sexes and provocative styles were unacceptable in the mainstream and high societies at that time. The song titles and lyrics many times consisted of vulgar double meaning phrases. However, many rich youngsters would go to tango bars, etc. to dance the tango, and later transfered their knowledge of the dance to Paris where tango became “all the rage.” Simultaneously accepted and rejected in the beginning, tango today is largely admired and danced, even in professional dance competitions. Moreover, the tango has come to represent Argentine culture.
There are three types of tango rhythms: the tango, the milonga, and the watz. The tango is an even melody with a medium paced rhythm. The milongas are fast and require the tangueros to make shorter, quicker steps. The waltz is the slowest of the three rhythms, allowing for elongated and eloquent movements.
This complex dance requires a the couple to maintain an “A” shaped embrace. The follow must follow the leaders chest to receive the directional cues. The tangueros (tango dancers) must their stomach muscles lifted and inner-thigh muscles tight to stabilize their bodies while simultaneous keeping loose legs that follow the direction of the torsos. Then, they walk, shifting weight from one foot to the next and mirroring one another. To view the basic step, please click here. To see professionals (a previous tango teacher of mine) who travel all over the world to teach tango and live in Buenos Aires, click here. And, finally, to see the passionate dancing of professionals dance to the accompaniment of a popular Argentine band, Gotan Project, click here.