Argentine Tango Dance Lessons in Our Warren Studio

The History of the Argentine Tango Dance

There are many legends and stories about the origins and development of tango. Tango is a dance and music that originated in Buenos Aires at the turn of the century, and developed in the melting pot of cultures that was Buenos Aires. The word Tango was used at the time to describe various music and dance.

The exact origins of Tango—both the dance and the word itself—are lost in myth and an unrecorded history. The generally accepted theory is that in the mid-1800s, African slaves were brought to Argentina and began to influence the local culture. The word “Tango” may be straightforwardly African in origin, meaning “closed place” or “reserved ground.” Or it may derive from Portuguese (and from the Latin verb tanguere, to touch) and was picked up by Africans on the slave ships. Whatever its origin, the word “Tango” acquired the standard meaning of the place where African slaves and others gathered to dance.

A Blend of African and Argentine Roots

Most likely the Tango was born in African-Argentine dance venues attended by compadritos, young men, mostly native born and poor, who liked to dress in slouch hats, loosely tied neckerchiefs and high-heeled boots with knives tucked casually into their belts. The compadritos took the Tango back to the Corrales Viejos—the slaughterhouse district of Buenos Aires—and introduced it in various low-life establishments where dancing took place: bars, dance halls, and brothels. It was here that the African rhythms met the Argentine milonga music (a fast-paced polka) and soon new steps were invented and took hold.

Eventually, everyone found out about the Tango, and, by the beginning of the twentieth century, the Tango as both a dance and as an embryonic form of popular music had established a firm foothold in the fast-expanding city of its birth. It 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 urban culture as in Buenos Aires.

Argentine Tango – A Worldwide Phenomenon

The worldwide spread of the Tango came in the early 1900s when wealthy sons of Argentine society families made their way to Paris and introduced the Tango into a society eager for innovation and not entirely averse to the risqué nature of the dance or dancing with young, wealthy Latin men. By 1913, the Tango had become an international phenomenon in Paris, London, and New York. The Argentine elite who had shunned the Tango were now forced into accepting it with national pride. The Tango spread worldwide throughout the 1920s and 1930s and came to be a fundamental expression of Argentine culture, and the Golden Age lasted through the 1940s and 1950s. The current revival dates from the early 1980s, when a stage show Tango Argentino toured the world creating a dazzling version of the Tango that is said to have stimulated the revival in the US, Europe and Japan. 2008 is again a period of renewal, of tension between the international and the Argentine, between a desire to recreate the Golden Age, and another to evolve it in the light of modern culture and values. There is an explosion of interest around the world with places to dance in many cities and towns, and a growing circuit of international festivals.

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What is Argentine Tango Dancing like?

The focus of the Argentine Tango is to match the speed and emotion of the music while improvising the steps. The Argentine Tango is danced by two people in an embrace that can vary from being open (the leader and follower dance at arm’s length) or closed (the dancers touch chest-to-chest). The follower alternates their weight from foot to foot, never resting weight on both at the same time. The follower is led to alternate feet by the leader, who steps outside the follower’s legs.

Group Classes and Private Lessons Available

Whether it’s your first time trying Argentine Tango or you’re a professional dancer learning the most advanced movements, we welcome you to take a class with us. Our students fill the dance floor with energy, excitement, and positivity as we explore the Argentine Tango together.

From wedding dance instruction to a new hobby, or a way to connect with your partner, you’ll learn more, faster, and with more FUN, at Fred Astaire Dance Studios! Give us a call and ask about our Introductory Offer for new students. Our talented and friendly dance instructors in Warren are here for you.

Argentine Tango dance lessons are available now. You’ll be on your way to confident dancing by the end of your very first dance!

Ballroom Dance Styles We Teach

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