Argentine Tango-Popular dances for Social and Wedding Dance
There are many social dances to embrace, and tango is one of them. It was originally a flirting and immoral brothel dance. Now it is a dance of passion, and can add drama to a dancer’s repertoire, or flair to a wedding first dance.
The Tango was developed in Spain and brought to Argentina through the African slaves and settlers. The name Tango was a term used for the dance that slaves and blacks did as documented in 1786. It was called the “balle con corte’ ” or dance with stop. It was noted as a fashionable ballroom dance in an American publication in 1856. Traditional dances like the Polka and the Hesitation Waltz were mixed with the Cuban Habanera to influence the Tango of 1870. Some feel the name comes from where they danced, others think it is Latin “Tangere” (to touch) or the African drums, the Tan-go. This was a dance of the ghettos and slums of the lower class in Argentina. Many men at the docks would make their way to the brothels, creating long lines. Orchestra’s were hired to entertain the customers with the tango (with quite a lot of body rubbing) until it was their turn for a room. This is how it got its
reputation of acting out the relationship of the prostitute and the pimp. Even the music was viewed as lewd. Others say it was the dance of the Gaucho’s, Gypsy’s and lower class. Rita Morano with the Muppet’s dance the Habenera Tango
The Tango was banned in Argentina prior to the First World War. With the refining of the tango by the French society, it was re-imported to Argentina through its nobility. It was re-introduced to the café’s and Salons in Rio de la Plata frequented by the rich. This cleaner tango took off in Argentina. In 1912 it was absorbed into the general society with the passage of universal suffrage. By 1929 the depression influenced the decline of the Tango. But it came back under the government of Juan Peron. The music of Calos Gardel inspired many until his death in 1935.
In 1950’s the tango began to decline. With the overthrow of Peron, the new government discouraged tango, because they felt it encouraged ladies to work in bordello’s. Coupled with the new American Rock and Roll, the Tango slipped into remote pockets until 1980. Forever Tango produced in France, kicked off another revival of the Argentine Tango. It was not until 1984 that tango was officially defined as an Argentinean.
Argentine Tango is a delightful and flexible dance. It is danced to a variety of classic and contemporary music, typically in 2/4 time but also in 4/4 time. It is danced with a walking step on or around the beat, and it open to interpretation. The walk can be in line on opposite feet, or cross system outside partner on the same foot. The embrace can be chest to chest, close at the top or open. It incorporates Ochos (fans), windmills (grapevines) and Gaucho’s (leg hooks). It is a fun and exciting dance to play with.
Argentine Tango Overview:
- A Passionate and interruptive dance
- Originated in Argentina from the African Slaves of Spanish Settlers
- Danced to 2/4 or 4/4 time music
- Based on Walking steps
- The embrace is chest to chest
- fans, grapevines, and leg hooks embellish the walks
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