Tango is a genre of art: there are tango music, tango poetry and tango dance. Tango originated in the second half of XIX century among the common people in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay.
Over the years tango acquires higher social status and a huge popularity on several continents. In 1902 in Paris there are 100 schools, which teach tango, and a decade later the dance was an absolute hit across Europe. Nowadays it is spread worldwide. Clubs and gatherings where tango is danced are called milongas. World Day of Tango is December 11.
The word tango is of unknown origin and has so many meanings that it is difficult to trace its etymology:
1. A place where cows are milked or milk is sold;
2. A place where Africans play and dance;
3. A place where African slaves are collected before they are loaded on ships (slave mart);
4. mtango, which in African means Circle, enclosure;
5. shangó, the god of lightning in the mythology of Yoruba, Nigeria
6. Jesuit missionary colonies – kind of an inn;
7. A percussion instrument and the dance that accompanies hitting it;
8. Gypsy or Andalusian dance.
Types of Tango
There are a variety of styles of tango. There are also various tango rhythms that require changes in the body and movement in the relationship.
In the United States and Europe, when the majority of people hear tango they imagine a Hollywood scene of a couple that goes forward in a promenade position. Dancers from the dance halls, who are familiar with international (competitive) tango, imagine the tango that was created in England or its stylized version – American (ballroom) tango. Argentine dancers will imagine different styles of tango such as apilado, tango nuevo, tango salon, milonga, tango, waltz, kandombe.
Argentine Tango is a complex social dance with practically unlimited possibilites of improvisation. In comparison, American or international tango have a clearly defined curriculum and dancers learn concrete steps and variations for competitions. Argentine tango is a social improvisational dance in which the leader (man) is responsible to know and visualize each step that he signals to the follower (lady). He has to constantly maintain contact and “listen” for the reaction of the lady. The leader should do so confidently, clearly and primarily musically while navigating in a crowded dance floor. If needed he must stop the move he has started so that he protects the lady from injury. On the other hand, the lady in tango focuses exclusively and entirely on following and must immediately react to what is required of her by moving her legs and torso. Arms are flexible and should not interfere with the movement of the leader. The lady must trust the leader to direct her movement as well as to protect her. She on the other hand must give the leader time and space so he can lead her gracefully.