Tango Defined

Tango is one of the most fascinating of all dances. Performed by a man and a woman, it speaks of unconcealed love and the battle between the two sexes.

Date added to ADN: Tuesday, Feb 21 2012
Originally Published: Sunday, Jan 01 2012
By The AccessDance Network


Scent of a Woman, Take the Lead, True Lies, Shall We Dance, and Frida- these are just some of the movies that showcased the popularity of this romantic ballroom dance called Tango.

Tango is one of the most fascinating of all dances. Performed by a man and a woman, it speaks of unconcealed love and the battle between the two sexes.

Tango had its roots in Buenos Aires but it was made popular in New York in 1910 to 1911. Vernon and Irene Castle became America's sweethearts of the tango dance, making a fortune out of it. In 1921, Rudolph Valentino made a hit as he performed a sensual but more reserved version of tango in his film "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse". This made tango popular in America. And the Americanized version of tango has the best part of the different tango styles. Read more...

The American version of tango features sharp movements, head snaps, cat-like action. It is considered to be more elegant and less passionate compared to the Argentine tango. Partners in American tango maintain an upright position and a decent distance from each other. It is a combination of Latin sensuality and New York sophistication. This style of tango features staccato movements, distinctive head snaps that are not included in the Argentine version. Dips and twirls are also incorporated as the dancers follow the "slow, slow, quick, quick, slow" pattern. While dancing the tango, the female dancer is held in the crook of her partner's arm. Her head is held back and her right hand is placed on the man's lower hip In contrast to the Latin version which focuses on passion, the American tango focuses on fun avoiding the risk of offending anyone.

The music for tango is considered to be one of the greatest musical genres throughout the world. Most tango music is phrased to 16 to 32 measures per minute or 120 to 128 beats per minute at 4/4 or 2/4 time. The music comes from a mixture of different cultures including Latin America, Africa, India, France and Spain. The modern tango music has two distinct styles: the Argentinian style, which is often accompanied by a small band with a piano, guitar, violin and the bandoneon at the heart of it. The European style on the other hand, is a strong march with a steady downbeat played by a snare drum. The American style is danced to either of the two varieties.

Indulge yourself in a dance that's fiery and dramatic. As the famous saying goes, "It takes two to tango!" So what are you waiting for, tango on!

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