Encyclopedia of Dance: Argentine Tango


The enchanting music of Argentine tango captivates the listener with its inner expression, clear rhythm, beauty and originality of melodic turns.

There are many styles and directions of tango, but Argentine tango is their ancestor. This couples folk dance is performed to energetic music with a clear rhythm.

Tango, before becoming popular and loved all over the world, went through rejection and prohibitions. Following the Viennese waltz — the first dance where the close position of the partners was used — the tango received the status of an immoral, indecent act. After all, the salon dances of the 19th century were quite chaste — the contacts of the dancing couple were limited only by the touch of hands.

History of occurrence dance

The history of Argentine tango goes back to African settlers in Buenos Aires. The name of the dance is also of African origin, and it means in the language of the Nigerian people Ibibio «dance to the beat of drums.» The term «tango» was first used in relation to dance in 1890.

For a long time, tango was hidden in the Argentine backyards, danced secretly by the poorest segments of the population. But young people from high society, in search of thrills, secretly visited the suburbs, plunged into a sea of ​​passions, mastered the basics of an indecent, but such an exciting dance. Then they taught the passionate tango to their sisters and brothers, girlfriends and friends, which helped the dance out of obscurity.

Between 1880 and 1930, Argentina experienced an economic boom and was among the ten richest countries in the world. It was fashionable among wealthy Argentines to visit Europe, to have houses there and to live long. Together with them they brought to Europe the fashion for tango. At home evenings, Argentine tango gradually became a mandatory program number. And at the beginning of the 20th century, professional Argentinean musical and dance groups officially introduced Paris, London, Berlin, and the cities of the United States of America to the incendiary dance. The heyday of tango falls on the 30-50s of the last century.

What is Argentine Tango?

Argentine tango music is a synthesis of ancient African rhythms and musical traditions of Europe, America, Africa. The tempo of tango is most often fast in 4/4 or 2/4 rhythm. The step is played on every beat of the bar. The dance involves arms, legs, body and head. Characterized by sharp, accentuated turns. As already mentioned, there is close contact between the partners. A lot of supports, turns, rotations make the dance spectacular and spectacular.

Argentine tango

Types of Argentine tango and their features

Different styles and types of tango have developed in different regions of Argentina and Uruguay and have absorbed local characteristics. Such types of tango are known: tango Salon, Liso, Nuevo, tango Fantasia, as well as Milonguero, Orillero, Cangengue and many others.

Tango Salon

Tango Salon assumes a freer position of partners relative to each other. Less physical contact makes it possible for a man and a woman to diversify dance steps, introduce new elements — steps, turns, poses. This style, like the Milonguero style, involves improvisation, giving the initiative to the partner and subordinating the partner to him.

Tango Liso

This is the simplest kind of tango. The dance uses elementary movements, turns and figures. Difficult lifts and rotations are not practiced in Liso tango.

Tango Nuevo

This style of tango is for those who want to express themselves. Young people, in an effort to show their skills, actively experimented in the originality of dance figures, as a result of which peculiar rotations with legs intertwined, graceful poses and other interesting elements appeared. Tango Nuevo is more suitable for solo demonstration as it requires a lot of space to perform.

Tango Fantasy

Tango Fantasia is a concert number staged especially for the show. The creation of this dance obeys the laws of the stage. The main role here is played by the choreographer, who determines the theme, idea, composition of the concert number and the means by which they will be embodied.

Despite the large number of types and styles of Argentine tango, they all have one thing in common — feelings, emotions coming from the heart.

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