Tango – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Dance Styles Glossary

I. What is Tango?

Tango is a passionate and dramatic dance that originated in the working-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, Argentina in the late 19th century. It is a dance that is characterized by its close embrace, intricate footwork, and intense connection between partners. Tango is not just a dance, but a cultural phenomenon that has captured the hearts of people all over the world.

II. History of Tango

The history of tango is a rich and complex one, with roots that can be traced back to the African and European influences in Argentina. Tango was born in the brothels and bars of Buenos Aires, where it was danced by the lower classes as a form of self-expression and escape from the harsh realities of everyday life. Over time, tango evolved and spread to other parts of Argentina and eventually to Europe and the rest of the world.

III. Characteristics of Tango

Tango is known for its passionate and dramatic movements, with dancers often expressing a range of emotions through their movements. The dance is characterized by its close embrace, with partners often chest-to-chest and cheek-to-cheek. Tango also features intricate footwork, with dancers executing a series of quick steps and turns that require precision and coordination. The connection between partners is also a key characteristic of tango, with dancers maintaining a strong physical and emotional bond throughout the dance.

IV. Types of Tango

There are several different styles of tango, each with its own unique characteristics and influences. The most well-known styles of tango include Argentine tango, which is the original style that originated in Buenos Aires, and ballroom tango, which is a more structured and choreographed version of the dance. Other styles of tango include Nuevo tango, which incorporates elements of jazz and electronic music, and Finnish tango, which has a slower tempo and more melancholic feel.

V. Tango Music

Tango music is an integral part of the dance, with its distinctive sound and rhythms setting the mood for the dancers. The music of tango is typically played by a small ensemble of musicians, including a bandoneon (a type of accordion), violin, piano, and double bass. The lyrics of tango songs often tell stories of love, loss, and longing, reflecting the emotional intensity of the dance itself. Some of the most famous tango musicians include Astor Piazzolla, Carlos Gardel, and Osvaldo Pugliese.

VI. Tango in Popular Culture

Tango has had a significant impact on popular culture, with its influence being felt in music, film, and fashion. The dance has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows, including “The Tango Lesson” and “Scent of a Woman,” where it is often portrayed as a symbol of passion and romance. Tango music has also been incorporated into various genres of music, with artists such as Madonna and Gotan Project sampling tango rhythms in their songs. In addition, tango fashion has inspired designers around the world, with its elegant and sophisticated style being a popular choice for formal events and performances. Tango continues to captivate audiences with its beauty and intensity, making it a timeless and enduring art form.