The Tango dance is originally from Spain. Tango was introduced to the New World by the Spanish settlers. The movements influenced by African slaves and European immigrants. The music came from Europe.
Ballroom tango originated in the lower class of Buenos Aires. Local gauchos (cowboys) went to the crowded night clubs and asked the girls to dance. Since the gaucho hadn’t showered, the lady would dance in the crook of the man’s right arm, holding her head back. Her right hand was held low on his left hip, close to his pocket, looking for a payment for dancing with him. The man danced in a curving fashion because the floor was small with round tables, so he danced around and between them.
The dance spread throughout Europe in the 1900’s.
Tango music is like a story. It contains paragraphs (Major phrases); sentences (Minor phrases); and the period at the end of the sentence is the Tango close.
More than anything else, the Argentine Tango is about a connection, an empathy between two people, the need to embrace, and be in the arms of another, to escape, albeit for just a brief moment of time, and in that moment, to live a life time …
The Europeans and the North Americans have no connection to this concept. It is totally alien to them. They see the dance in terms of “how flashy can I be with the steps” and I want more steps, and more steps. All I want to do is impress the people standing around the edges of the dance floor. This is, in a way, the very antithesis of the concept of the Tango.
Argentine Tango must be simply danced, with immense feeling, with a sense of energy flowing between the dancers. This energy grows or decreases as the music ebbs and flows. It is a seduction, or a private conversation, something to be quietly shared, not publicly displayed. It is a progressive partner dance characterized by a close hold. The couples move around the floor in a counterclockwise direction. Unlike Ballroom Tango, Argentine Tango is an improvisational form, and the hold is more of an embrace, with the couples’ upper bodies close and the legs far apart.
In these dance styles the lead and follow connect either chest-to-chest, forehead to forehead (Argentine tango) or in the upper thigh, hip area (American and International tango).