Tango is one of the most dramatic of the smooth dances. It is danced with a staccato foot movement and characterized by unique music, low centre of gravity and dramatic poses.
Ballroom Tango was born in the slums of Buenos Aires in the late 19th Century. Argentine locals, African slaves and Spanish colonist met and mixed in the infamous Barrio de las Ranas, trading cultural rhythms and dances in and around the areas well-known brothels. From this melting pot emerged a highly passionate dance which the respectable classes shunned. But like the story of the Waltz, there is nothing like scandal and controversy to promote a dance style.
Tango emerged from Argentina in the early 1900s and after taking Paris by storm it spread across the rest of the world – 1913 was the Year of the Tango. It became the couple dance everyone wanted to learn. Tango Teas began at the Waldorf Hotel in London and a grand Tango ball held in the Selfridges department store was declared the event of the season. All of Europe was dancing the Tango and it even influenced the fashion of the day.
Vernon and Irene Castle made their fortune from the Tango and Rudolph Valentino performed a famous sensual Tango in the silent film “Four Horseman of the Apocolypse”. The dance varied from dancer to dancer but was eventually standardised in the 1920′s.
The wail of the tango is said to speak of frustrated love. It speaks of fatality and of destinies engulfed in pain. Tango music has a distinct, dramatic marching sound typified by rolling drums and piano accordian sounds. Well known Tango examples include “Hernando’s Hideaway” by Archie Bleyer and “Por Una Cabeza” from the film Scent of a Woman.
Tango is taught at Firefly in Private Lessons and introduced at Latin & Ballroom for Beginners Level II. Although, we do give people as taste for Tango in the casual Dance Sampler class for beginners.
If you are interested in learning Ballroom Tango: