Tango, as both a pastime and as a way of life, has begun to spread all over the world, culminating in national and international tournaments held year round. With a few of the more important ones looming, we thought we’d take you back to Tango’s Latin Routes to see what’s changed.
Tango began as an informal dance in the late 1800s and early 1900s in less affluent neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires. Characterised by themes of nostalgia and lamentation, classic 4-bar Tango records have become immensely popular in their own right, with some gaining universal critical acclaim. Tango has always been South American at heart – Argentina retains a very strong tradition, with milongas often held in the street or in bars in the evening. These are fantastic fun and we would highly recommend finding your local dance studio or informal milonga when you visit Argentina.
In terms of styles of Tango, there are four main ‘schools’ of Argentine Tango – Troilo, d’Arienzo, Pugliese and Di Sarli. Each stems from a different family and each have a huge depth of tradition and following within the Argentine community. D’Arienzo, for example, is known for its faster, staccato rhythm, based on its creator Juan d’Arienzo, who was nicknamed ‘King of the Beat’. In opposition to this style, many prefer the slower, instrumental chords of Osvaldo Pugliese. Although harder to dance to (as it has a less obvious rhythmic pattern) it is often used in more serious productions as there are parts in the music for a wide variety of orchestral instruments.
Today, you can find Tango in almost every major city in the world (if you look hard enough!). The breadth and diversity of styles idiosyncratic to the myriad participant cultures is astonishing.
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