Argentina: National Symbol                                 

  • Argentine tango is a social dance and a musical genre that originated in Argentina and Uruguay. In the US, it is commonly confused with ballroom tango or American tango—which was created much later.

  • Argentine tango consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and eras, partially in response to the crowding of the clubs but also in response to clothing fashion.

  • There are records of 18th and early 19th century tango styles in Cuba and Spain, while there is a flamenco tango dance that may share a common ancestor in a minuet-style European dance. Consequently there is overlap and confusion between the styles as they are now danced.

  • Argentine tango is danced in an embrace that can vary from a very “open position,” in which leader and follower connect at arms length, to the “close embrace position,” in which the connection is chest-to-chest. Close embrace is often associated with the more traditional styles, while open position leaves room for many of the embellishments and figures that are associated with tango nuevo.

  • Tango is essentially walking with a partner to the music. Musicality (dancing appropriately to the emotion and speed of a tango song) is an important element of dancing tango. A good dancer is one who makes you see the music.

  • Dancers generally keep their feet close to the floor as they walk, the ankles and knees brushing as one leg passes the other.

  • Argentine tango relies heavily on improvisation. Most dances have a pattern that can be predicted by the follower. This is not so with tango. Tango is a living dance that happens in the moment to the music.

  • One of the few constants across all Argentine tango styles is that the follower rarely has her weight on both feet at the same time.

  • Argentine tango is danced counterclockwise around the outside of the dance floor (the "line of dance") and dance "traffic" often segregates into a number of "lanes." Cutting across the middle of the floor is frowned upon. It is acceptable to stop briefly in the line of dance to perform stationary figures, as long as the other dancers are not bothered. If there is open space in front of you, there are likely people waiting behind you. Dancers are expected to respect the other couples on the floor; it is considered rude and can be disruptive to a couple's musicality.