A dance that originated in the barrios of Argentina and symbolizes the power struggle between pimp and prostitute. The Argentinian tango involves stepping between your partner's legs very quickly and simultaneously w/ your partner but the Americanized version is less difficult. The basic time is slow slow quick quick quick-hold. Good tango dancers enhance their style with a graceful contrabody motion.

As a North American ballroom dance this is one that guys usually hate and women often like. For the guys it's a lot of work because you have to follow Line of Dance and lead strongly, while planning a variety of moves and steering around obstacles, in an unusual dance hold, all while very close to your partner. Nonetheless some very impressive looking turns make this a good looking dance.

A carbonated soft drink in the UK, well known for it's humorous adverts. Originally available in orange flavour, it is now available in apple, lemon, blackcurrant, cherry, tropical, diet varieties of the above, and perhaps others.

One of the advertising campaigns which made Tango popular was a short in which a large orange man clouted Tango-drinkers around the ears. This led to a spate of copycat incidents in playgrounds around the country, and a corresponding increase in perforated eardrums. The campaign was dropped, but anyone who was broadly adolescent in the UK during the early nineties will remember.

i have arrived at my time
to dance with life
i should hold an arabesque
in defiance of movement
but if i had my choice
i'd grab your hand and we'd
dance a tango in celebration
of the very love and hatred
that keeps us alive
come, press your cheek to mine
and let's dance
look into my eyes and see
the power you have over me
let that energy coarse through us -
through our hands as we embrace
we'll plant it back
into the ground
with our feet
Argentine Tango first gained its hold on the US in the 1920s, when screen idol Rudolph Valentino appeared in Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It originated in the West Indies, where it was brought to the ranges of Argentina, which is where it gained much of its distinctiveness and individual character.

Tango is very much a "dancer's dance", as its unique rhythms offer excellent training in timing and footwork. Contrary to popular belief, tango is not considered a latin dance because it doesn't include Cuban motion. It's considered a smooth, or ballroom, dance because dancers hold themselves erect, and swing their legs from the hip.

American Social tango differs from true Argentine tango because in social tango dancers use a normal dance hold, while in Argentine, the dancers are often cheek to cheek, enabling a more complex interacting involving their legs.

You can be a star in the United States-- but if you ever get into Buenos Aires-- you'd be lucky if you can hold your own.

It's impossible to describe the tango as other than the expression of the soul of Argentina. A concept called the 'Pinta' is very important-- It means the way that one stands or walks, or 'attitude'. This is the hardest thing to learn. Friends tell me that in Argentina, the quality of dancing doesn't depend on how many steps you know-- because everybody knows so many-- but on your individuality, steps you invent, and your attitude.

Efficiency in movement, doing more with less is important, and the finishing touch is very tiny movements of the feet, called chiches, which embellish a step and can fill a moment of stillness with a musical flutter of controlled passion.

Done well, it's not just a dance-- It's an emotion that cannot be expressed in words.
Tango is an idea, specifically an Argentine idea, and so anybody who mentions tango in the same breath as ballroom dancing is not thinking about tango in the Argentine sense. There are three dances considered tango: milonga, tango waltz, and tango proper. Well, five: there were candombe and canyengue, too, in the old days. Milonga is sort of a "one-step" dance, set to peppy music with a steady beat. The general rule is to step on every beat of the music.

Tango waltz (or "vals" as some people spell it) is tango steps danced to waltz music (that good old "oom pah pah" rhythm), so it sort of looks the same as tango, but it has a more fluid feeling. Tango orchestras often play a few waltzes, and sometimes they're sentimental, but the ones I like best are by the D'Arienzo orchestra, and they're pretty snappy and even tough.

Tango proper is more or less derived from milonga (and through that from candombe), and canyengue. Tango music is often complex and lends itself to varied interpretations in the dance. You generally step on every other beat (by the way, the slow-slow-quick-quick-quick business is an invention by outsiders), but half the fun is changing the rhythm of your steps. The other half of the fun is stepping into your partner's space (sacada) which looks like you're kicking their foot out of the way. The third half of the fun is the close embrace; it looks like you're leaning on your partner, but actually each person is balanced and standing up separately. It's a lot of fun to do fancy turns or make your partner kick their foot up (voleo), but the main thing is intimacy: it's really good to be close to someone.

I'm not generally opposed to people borrowing stuff from other countries and changing it. Hey, it happens all the time, with fantastic results. My favorite example is Costa Rican swing, which (as far as I can tell) is sort of a cross between lindy hop and salsa, danced to cumbia music. But the sad fact is that Arthur Murray, et al, have totally mangled tango, by obliterating everything that's beautiful about it, and introducing ridiculous dross like head snaps, syllabification, and an emphasis on competition. I guess they're free to do as they want, but I wish they'd call that dance by a different name.

Tango is like making love. The first time you do it, you don't know exactly what to do or how to move. Usually you try to trust your partner, but then little by little you learn how to enjoy it and it becomes an addiction. You cannot stop, you must continue.

If dance is an art, which it is, then tango is on the Bohemian fringe of that art form. It is a way of life for those who accept it as more than just a social dance, or a few moves to be learned in a basic dance class. It is an attitude that comes from the heart. It is passion, where two people write a story in three minutes with only the music and the movements of their bodies.

Tango is a way of life. It is not merely a dance to be picked up by those who need to add another dance to their resume. While the steps can be learned, the attitude and technique are not so easily assimilated. On the other side, the range of tango movements allow tango dancers to learn other dances rather quickly, as they are less complex in comparison.

Tango is like acting. You not only have to dance, but to convey emotion and dialogue, to your partner, yourself and to those who may be watching. It is said that the earliest use of tango was to allow a man to take out "his woman" and show her off as the most beautiful woman in the city. The earliest attitude of tango is said to have been been born of that purpose. To be able to make such a boast, one had to have the most dramatic and impressive moves of anyone on the dance floor.


One of a series of nodes written mostly by Mrs. DeadGuy.

Tango (Argentine Tango) is a passionate representation of the intersection of lives. It is dignified, disciplined and speaks, without words, to the soul. When you burn life, Tango is the dance of the flames.

Some people say Tango is just an excuse to have close contact with another person, ritualised flirting. By way of argument I could not say this is untrue, but if this is the only view of Tango, it is blind to the essence. It is the view of someone who stands with their back to the fireplace in a darkened room: they can feel its heat and see the dance of light and shadow on the walls, but they do not see the flame.

Tan"go (?), n.; pl. Tangos (#). [Sp., a certain dance.]

(a)

A difficult dance in two-four time characterized by graceful posturing, frequent pointing positions, and a great variety of steps, including the cross step and turning steps. The dance is of Spanish origin, and is believed to have been in its original form a part of the fandango.

(b)

Any of various popular forms derived from this.

 

© Webster 1913

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