New To Tango
excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentine_Tango
Ballroom tango steps were standardized by dance studios. The steps have been relatively fixed in style for decades. However, Argentine tango has been an evolving dance and musical form, with continual changes occurring every day on the social dance floor in Argentina and in major tango centers elsewhere in the world. Argentine Tango is still based heavily on improvisation. While there are patterns or sequences of steps that are used by instructors to teach the dance, even in a sequence every movement is led not only in direction but also speed and quality (a step can be smooth, pulsing, sharp, … etc.). Continue reading
The exact origins of Tango are lost in myth and an unrecorded history. The generally accepted theory is that in the mid-1800s and early 1900s, while Argentina was undergoing a massive immigration, African slaves were brought to Argentina and began to influence the local culture. About 2 million immigrants arrived in Bunos Aires from Europe, mostly from Italy and Spain. This intermixing resulted in a melting pot of cultures, and each borrowed dance and music from one another.
Most immigrants were single men hoping to earn their fortunes in this newly expanding country. They were typically poor and desperate, hoping to make enough money to return to Europe or bring their families to Argentina. The evolution of Tango reflects their profound sense of loss and longing for the people and places they left behind.
Most likely the Tango was born in African-Argentine dance venues attended by young men, mostly native born and poor. Men danced together – there were few women, but Tango inevitably moved to where the women could be found. Continue reading