Argentine Tango: A Short History

30 December 2013

The Tango is generally considered to have begun around the late 1800s and early 1900s, strongly influenced by cuban, african and italian imigrants arriving in Argentina to try their luck and the start of the abolishment of slave labour.


The Tango was primarily danced by those who had emigrated to Argentina from poorer backgrounds in the back alley bars, dance venues and streets of Buenos Aires in the poorer barrios and so the development of the Argentine Tango reflects the loss of those left behind.
The mixture of the cuban habenera and traditonal polka and waltz's with the traditional argentinian milonga rhythms (slightly faster) led to a fusion of styles, each borrowing from the other as a way to release tension.


Unsurprsingly, it was not considered socially acceptable by the upper classes of Argentina. However, by the start of the 20th Century, tt soon spread to provincial towns of Argentina and across the River Plate to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, where it became as much a part of the culture as in Buenos Aires.

In the early 1900s, the sons of the upper classes intorduced the dance to Paris, the cultural hub of the world, where it spread like wildfire. The city, looking for new insipiration even welcomed the risque nature of the dance, especially with it taught by the handsome latin rich boys. 

Today, their are several styles of Argentine Tango, however they all have the same underlying characteristics. 

Due of it's roots, Tango became a way for the overcrowded male population to impress the ladies. Because of this, Tango is an improptu dance, requiring no prior discussion. This means that (like salsa) if you can dance the Argentine Tango, you can dance with anyone.

Strong charactristics of the Tango are a strong walking action, cheek to cheek hold and impressive footwork. The man is strongly in control, although all the time showing off his lady. 

The Tango would orignally only be played by a solo artist then later, by trios with guitars and violins. One of the most common instruments now heard in Tango is the bandoneĆ³n, a type of accordion imported from Germany. 

Read 3392 times Last modified on Thursday, 10 March 2016 09:43
Kim Dunn

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