If you were to asked to list a few facts about Tango Dancing, we are sure you would only know the basics. Most of you would definitely be aware that Tango Dancing comes from Argentina. Many of you may also be able to remember that the first tango song ever recorded was called ‘Toma Mate Che.’ But do you really know enough about this uniquely Argentinian form of dance?
I bring to you 5 facts related to tango dancing which we are sure most of you do not know. They are as follows;
1) Shortage of women increased popularity of Tango
Yes, you read it right. Most of the immigrants who migrated to Buenos Aires did so to earn money quickly and send it back to their families. And most of these immigrants were men. At that time, there were an approximate 100,000 more men than women in Argentina. So, in order to get closer to a woman, a man would have to either visit a brothel or work on his dancing skills to impress her. This helped make Tango popular as Tango Dancing exudes passion, longing, and sexual innuendo.
2) Tango had to go underground for nearly three decades
In 1955, a right-wing group seized control of power in Argentina. And it did it’s best to ensure that Tango dancing is removed from Argentinian society. The right-wing group had seized power from Peron who was a nationalist and had used the dance form many times as a political tool in Argentina. The new power center of Argentina hated Peron and didn’t like anything that he liked. This led to a time between 1955 to 1983 when Tango dancing went underground.
Large gatherings, in general, were not allowed and all the large public venues were closed. The dance and its music survived in small venues which were not publicized to the world.
The military government would prosecute dancers and would also ban songs related to Tango. During this oppressive regime, Tango lost its enormous popularity that it was previously enjoying in Argentina. Although the popularity dropped, the dance form still ruled the hearts of the Argentine populace.
3) Tango dancing was seen as a low-class activity
The upper class of Argentina viewed Tango dancing as something that the lower classes of the country enjoyed. They would look down upon the dance form. This was mainly because the dance form had lots of sexual innuendos and was full of passion. Tango was mostly done in brothels and the upper class did not want to be associated with it.
4) Tango is a fusion of African, European and Gaucho styles
Tango emerged as a popular dance form of the lower classes of men living in Argentina. Most of these men were workers who had emigrated from Europe to seek employment. Other immigrants included the African labor.
These groups would perform the dance in the streets as well as in brothels. As a dance form, Tango emerged in the mid of the 19th century in the south of Buenos Aires as the city was the melting pot of all kinds of immigrant labor. The dance form kept integrating the styles from European, African as well as Gaucho styles; it is a fusion of all these three styles.
5) Argentinian upper class helped global spread of Tango
Although the upper class of Argentina looked down upon Tango dancing as something that the lower classes indulge in, the young ones of such upper-class families loved Tango.
These young upper-class sons of Argentina were responsible for spreading the dance form to Paris and then to the rest of Europe. Around the 1920s and 1930s, many movies were made that featured the dance. Tango singers also started touring the world around the same time.
This is seen as the golden period of Argentine culture. Eventually, the shift in the dynamics of power and the surging popularity of rock and roll set the popularity of Tango dancing into decline. The dance form eventually regained its lost popularity in the mid-1980s after Tango Argentino, a popular stage show gained popularity in Paris. Ever since then, it has enjoyed international popularity and there are even tango competitions held in Europe and South America every other passing year.
So, these are 5 facts we believe many of you would be hearing for the first time. How many of these did you know? Which ones surprised you the most?
written by: charlie_chaplain