During the greatest period of the dance evolution in American history (1910-1914), the Tango made its first appearance. It was instantly a hit with the dance conscious public for its intriguing, asymmetrical, and sophisticated patterns which added a touch of romance to the country’s dance consciousness. The Tango has no clearly defined origin: it may have originated in Argentina, Brazil, Spain, or Mexico, but it clearly descended from an early Spanish folk dance, the Milonga, and bears traces of Moorish and Arabic ancestry. The Tango first came to be known as such, early in the 20th century in Argentina. It was danced, however, under various names throughout all of Latin America.
Years later, Argentine plainsmen or “gauchos,” danced a modified version of the Milonga in the bawdy cafes of Buenos Aires. Argentine and Cuban youth later changed the name (and style) to Tango which was more acceptable to society. The Cubans danced it to habanera rhythms which were syncopated and obscured the basic Milonga rhythm. It was not until after it caught on in Paris and was re-introduced to Argentina, that the music was restored to its native style.
For over 60 years, the four beat Tango rhythm has endured and continued to enjoy popularity everywhere as the music is universal with many types of sub-styles. Of all the dances which came into being in the early 20th century, only the Tango has continued to enjoy this much popularity.
The Tango is a progressive dance where the staccato movement of the feet and flexed knees highlight the dramatic style of the dance. The Tango is one of the most highly stylized ballroom dances. It is dramatic with measured crossing and flexing steps and poised pauses. Perhaps the main reason for its widespread popularity is that it is danced close to the partner.