The Mecca of Tango

When you say Argentina, you say tango. It isnt quite clear how it started, nor when, but it is certain that the first tango-like dances originate around the Rio de la Plata, in Buenos Aires and in Montevideo.

The first tango music was created and became more popular in the years 1890-1900, when people used to go out to bars or brothels to dance. But it was also common to just dance on the corner of a street. In the beginning it were mainly men dancing with each other, trying out some new steps that were called milonguero or canyengue. They were accompanied by only two musicians, a guitar, a flute or a violin. It was not uncommon that these dances ended up in fights.

Around that time Argentina underwent big changes due to massive immigration. In 1869, Buenos Aires had a population of 180,000. By 1914, its population was 1.5 million. The mix of African, Spanish, Italian, British, Polish, Russian and native-born Argentines resulted in a melting pot of cultures, including dance and music.

Most immigrants were men, hoping to earn their fortunes in the new world. They were poor and desperate, hoping to make enough money to return to their family in Europe or to bring them to Argentina. Tango reflects their deep sense of loss and longing for the people and places they had left behind.

The worldwide spread of the tango came in the early 1900s when wealthy sons of Argentine society families traveled to Paris and introduced the dance there. By 1913, the tango had become an international phenomenon in Paris, London and New York. The Argentine elite who had shunned the tango were now forced into accepting it with national pride.

Around the 1930’s the Golden Age of Argentina started, and lasted until the 1950’s.The country became one of the richest nations in the world. Dance, literature, culture in general, bloomed. The tango became to be a fundamental expression of Argentine culture.

During the 1950’s, lyrics reflected the political feelings, and due political repression large dance venues were closed and prohibited. The tango survived in smaller bars only.

The tango decline lasted until the 80’s, until the show “Tango Argentina” opened in Paris, and then toured the world. This revival made Argentina once again the Mecca of tango.

If you an expert dancer, or if you just feel like trying it out, Buenos Ares is the the place to be. You can check out  Argentina Tango, and book your whole trip or just the tango classes there. Come to Argentina to dance the tango, and at the same time enjoy the vibrant life in Buenos Aires. Tango. Only in Argentina!

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