The history and evolution of Tango are captivating and complex. It has profound implications for the way we dance today. In fact, Tango music is one of the great world music genres. The dance itself has achieved respectability, especially from dancers after struggling for it.
Featuring its Golden Age from mid-1930s to the coup in Argentina in 1955, the dance has spread all over the world again. Dance lovers have every reason to be happy.
The Tango dance
Early tangos were spirited and lively unlike those of the 1920s which were preoccupied with intense melancholy. Likewise, the tango step evolved from exuberance to a smoother ballroom step beside the prevailing duple meter (2/4) into 4/4, 4/8, or another tempo.
Now, tango is mostly performed by a man and woman who execute synchronised movements that express an element of romance. It’s commonly referred to as a dance for couples.
The Argentine Tango seems to have retained the taste of the original tango. It expresses much more intimacy than Modern Tango. You’ve probably caught a glimpse of this exciting and dramatic dance if you’ve watched shows like ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and others.
Tango Styles and Techniques
There are different styles each with its individual flair. A good number of these styles are danced in open embrace with the respective couple closely embraced especially at the chest and hip area, leaving some space between their bodies.
Many dance lovers are familiar with “ballroom tango“ usually characterised by strong and dramatic head snaps.
The technique in this dance is that it follows a repetitive style of music. The lady is normally held in the crook of the man’s hand. Many dance lovers will notice the dance when they see the woman holding her head back and resting her right hand on the man’s lower part of the hip. They do this while moving around the floor in a curving pattern.
Argentine tango mostly shares with American Jazz, especially working class origin that attracted classical composers who quickly raised their art. Astor Piazzolla best exemplifies this duality when it comes to the Americans.
Astor’s first tango innovations were derided, but he, later on, won the hearts of many people and was acknowledged by many world’s great orchestras.
Different Types of Tango
There are several forms of tango even within the Argentine Tango as well as different rhythms that call for variations in movement, connection, and frame.
Dancers too may conjure up more specific but different images. Ballroom dancers are further familiar with International Tango which was first developed in England and is now very popular in Europe.
Argentine Tango dancers have different styles featuring Tango Nuevo, Apilado, Salon or Fantasia. However, if you ask them what kind of Tango they like, a good number are likely to mention Milongas, Tango Waltz or Candombes.
Tango Dancing and Health Fitness
Featuring colgadas, volcadas, boleos and ganchos, the Argentine tango is one of the most beautiful dances in the world. It has tremendous footwork performed within seconds but takes years to perfect.
However, the benefits of this prominent visual art form extend beyond aesthetics. In fact, research has proved that tango does transform not only the dancer’s physical health but also improves mental well-being.
Maya Saliba, the organizer of Dubai Tango Festival, has taught the dance in UAE for more than 10 years and believes that the art improves our health in many ways. Here are some of the surprising benefits of tango you probably didn’t know:
- Body awareness and sensitivity. All your muscles are put to work – Posture, flexibility, and relaxation. The dance discourages body stiffness.
- It opens the heart center and increases the ability to connect from the heart with many different persons. The leader does not use his hands to pass on messages like in salsa.
- Being in the state of active meditation. Being present and mindful.
- Spontaneity and creativity through improvisation.
- Expansion of social life.
- Men become more men while women become more women.
- You develop your relationship skills besides having loads of fun.
In places where the dance is highly valued like Argentina, some hospitals offer tango lessons to people who have Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Though it’s not a cure for these conditions, it helps slow down the symptoms through the taut-muscled movements and complex steps.
Interested in learning or perfecting tango dance? Identify and enroll a class in one of the studios in your area. The classes are lots of fun and newcomers pick up the dance quickly.