The Argentine tango is a well-known classical Latino dance that gained the top popularity all over the world. It would be difficult to find a person who could not recognize the rhythm of tango. This dance might be called a synonym of passion as the music and basic steps are very expressive. However, tango has deep cultural routes, and it has not developed or changed throughout the years, as a result, it requires a lot of skills to be performed well. So, what is the key-point of tango, and why this mesmerizing dance is called the cultural and historical heritage of Argentina?
Even if tango is an inseparable part of Argentinian culture, the routes of this dance are going through many countries of Latin America. Actually, tango derives from the Cuban dance called the Habanera, the Argentine Milonga, and the Uruguayan Candombe. Moreover, the typical tango music was inspired by the African community of Buenos Aires, as a result, the typical guitar sounds of Latin America are mixed with European violin interruptions and even some African elements.
However, dance and music of tango cannot be called a part of Argentinian folk art. The first official records are dated back in the late 19th century. Of course, it was known and popular as a street dance in Argentina much earlier. In 1902, the first performance of tango was taken at the largest theater of Buenos Aires called the Teatro Opera. At that time, Buenos Aires was an economically strong city with a growing industry, so a lot of immigrants were coming there to work and live. They were the reason why the popularity of tango spread around the world, and people in New York, Paris, Berlin, and London were flooding to the largest operas and theaters to watch the performances of tango made by the famous Argentinian dancers. As the trends of worldwide culture are constantly changing, the fame of tango decreased. However, it is still extremely important in Argentina as it is a national tradition that helps local people to express their identity and nationally proud.
The worldwide version of tango is called “ballroom tango” or “stage tango” and this is the version that can be seen in movies, performances, or the one that can be learned at dancing classes. This type is mainstream with the same basic steps. The professional stage tango is a gravity defying and requires the skills of gymnastic as there are figures and tricks that might be done in pairs or solo. The choreography of stage tango is designed for the ballroom when the dancers are moving around the room in sweeping motions.
The local version of tango differs from the ballroom because it is based on improvising. The basic choreography can be spotted, but the performance would never be the same as it is an expression of feelings on the spot. This kind of tango originated in the traditional social dancing parties called “milongas”. There are no strict rules because there is no audience; people are just coming to some bars, inviting each other for a dance, enjoying themselves in the process, and going with the flow and music.