The Spanish Language Blog

The Argentine tango

Tango originated in Argentina more than 100 years ago. To be precise, at the end of the nineteenth century in the working-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. Like flamenco, tango is not only and dance style but also a music style and a poetry style. There are two types of tango, Argentine tango and ballroom tango.

Argentine tango originated in the late 19th century when many European men went to Buenos Aires for a better life and work. These different nationalities all had their own input into tango. For example, the Spanish brought influences from flamenco and the descendants of African slaves knew the candombe, but Italians, Russians and other nationalities had also had their influences on tango.

All these influences created a confident, restrained, emotional and challenging dance. The most important thing in tango is the connection between the dance partners. Argentine tango is known for its improvisation. This ensures that no two dances are the same. The tango contains many tempo differences and sharp footwork. Because there is so much improvisation, making a mistake is not a problem as long as you improvise together with your partner. The basic steps of the tango are la caminada (the basic step), el paseo (the same basic step but with the partner together while moving) and la cadencia (the same as el paseo but without moving).

The tango in Europe

In the early 20th century, many members of wealthy families from Argentina came to Paris. This caused the tango to become popular in Europe. In Europe, however, the tango had many opponents. People considered the dance vulgar and vulgar. It even went so far that in 1923 the pope banned the tango in Europe! This caused the ballroom tango to emerge. You could think of the ballroom tango as the corrected version of the Argentine Tango. The ballroom tango was characterized by its tight music and the tango dance of this dance style was much tighter and less improvisation took place. This, together with the entrance of other music and dance styles, was the reason why the tango became less popular in Europe.

However, in the 1980s Argentine tango became popular again in Europe. This time there were no opponents of the dance and since then it is impossible to imagine Europe without it. In every major city in the Netherlands you can find a tango dance school.

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