If you’ve ever wondered what tango dance is, you’re not alone. Tango has been enjoying a surge in popularity over the past decade or so, and it’s easy to understand why: it’s romantic, it’s sexy, and it works for almost any type of audience. Tango is an extremely intimate partner dance, and tango dance has even been recognized as an authentic style of Cuban dance by the Cuban State University of Teachers. Tango is essentially a dance of love, with partners moving and linking their bodies with the rhythm of the music. In many ways, tango dancing falls into the same category as salsa dance: it’s popular among singles, and it’s something that most couples learn together.
But there are two important differences that distinguish Argentine tango dance from its Cuban counterpart. The first is the close embrace. A Cuban tango often goes around half way up one leg, or even touches the other side of the body. This close embrace is key to the dance’s romantic nature, and it adds a powerful element of intimacy and passion to the dance. Unlike the more detached Cuba style, where tango is mainly a seductive dance for the women, an American tango goes much further in promising intimacy and lust.
Of course, it’s not just the close embrace that brings popularity to tango dance. Tango has also been popular in high society for several years now. Americans have long associated dancing with class and luxury, something that is missing from Cuban salsa music. It’s also a sign of growing affluence and culture, with more wealthy Americans (and Europeans) taking lessons and dancing to popular music at high parties. All of this has added to the popularity of the dance.
Another thing that separates Argentina from its Cuban and European counterparts is the aggressiveness of the moves. In Spain and Italy, tango moves tend towards the more leisurely and slow, a la Latin music. In the United States, however, it’s common for the men to put a lot of energy into their dancing, going all out with the moves. There is often a lot of energy and verve in this style of dancing, with many people comparing it to ballroom dancing. The aggression of many tango dances has also been blamed on high society in America. In fact, many of the moves used in popular versions of the dance are similar to ones seen in burlesque shows, another form of sensuality that’s enjoyed by many upper-class Americans.
However, high society isn’t the only place where Argentina can be found. Many popular tango styles have origins in poorer countries. Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil are just a few of them. In these places, the tradition is one of the driving forces behind the dance. The women are taught to put a lot of energy into their movements, practicing the same moves countless times before they’re finally taught to perform them on stage. The Brazilian tango, for example, is known for being both beautiful and sultry, with the woman often using her leg to go through her moves and provide a sexy counterpoint to the rhythm.
Even during the early part of the 20th century, some regions of the Americas were still home to slaves. The history of tango dance, then, may be much more tied to the lives of black Americans than we realize. The slaves’ songs, which were largely about the glory of the black man’s life, were combined with food and drinks in celebration of the day – and at these gatherings, things like tango music and slaves were brought into the equation. Slaves would even create their own versions of the popular Spanish songs, complete with their own rhythms of movement. These became the beats that would become the signature of tango music.
The tango dance itself is a very complicated dance. While there are many different styles and variations of it, from the classical to the modern Argentinian dances tend to have certain common elements. Most of the time, the men are paired with their partners and both dancers move their feet along a certain pattern. The most basic Argentinian steps are the samba (literally “foot ball”), the cha-cha (in Spanish, the “carrom”) and the son, which involve a slow, fluid dance, performed by both partners.
Historically, Argentina dancers were thought to be highly attractive (argentines were especially prized by the Victorians for their beauty). When the art of tango dancing began to gain popularity in early twentieth century America, it was celebrated with a bang. As the popularity of tango music grew, so did the number of clubs where tango dancers would perform. As a result, it became possible for many more people to enjoy the beautiful dance. tango dance continues to be enjoyed today by both men and women.