Here you’ll find information about different types of Tango including Argentine Tango
Argentine Tango and other forms of Tango
When thinking about Argentine Tango we usually envision a sharply dressed couple doing mysteriously looking things with their legs to “Hernando’s Hideaway” or some other piece of quintessential Tango music. This visual in our head often has to do with red high heels, fishnet stockings, pinstripe suits, hats and dramatic suggestive poses.
But Argentine Tango does not only mean poster like scenes taken straight from Buenos Eire’s stage productions. It also means social experience, camaraderie among students, improving ones physical appearance, improving fitness level and coordination, overcoming ones’ inhibitions. It’s addictive in it’s ability to transport you into a “head space” where you forget about the outside world and can relax and unwind.
Argentine Tango means regular dance classes, the Practicas, devoted to practicing with your partner what you have learned, occasional workshops and last but not least: Milongas: events for which you get to dress up to dance different types of Tango with others like yourself – hooked on that once “Forbidden Dance”
There are several styles of Tango. Here we have a short description of main ones.
A competition style of Tango dancing, strongly influenced by other ballroom dances like Slow Waltz or International Foxtrot (Slowfox), with their particular competition technique and ballroom dancers body position. International Tango focuses on dynamic traveling around the dance floor, spectacular showy figures and sharp head movements. It tends to be performed almost exclusively to orchestral strict tempo music at around 125 bits per minute.
From social point of view: impractical and esoteric, over the top and rather ostentatious by nature, tends to be a hobby of amateur keeners and competition buffs.
International Ballroom Tango was developed in British Isles, based on a British – middle of previous century – take on Argentine Tango, primarily inspired by a Great Britain’s tour of performances of a Paris taught German Tango dancer Freddie Camp. Camp developed his own style based on his own peculiar understanding of that dance, added his own signature moves – sharp head turns, but as a historic irony – prior to inspiring a whole new style of Tango – he never even made it once to Buenos Aires.
A more focused on social aspects, more practical cousin of International Tango – was developed by Arthur Murray’s and Fred Astaire Dance Studios in order to facilitate quick and easy learning and immediate student’s gratification. Rather simplified in syllabus, less intricate then original Argentine Tango, less extravagant then its European cousin, American Tango offers a middle ground, agreeable with North American – mainly US – consumer based mentality: customer is supposed to be happy. This in turn translates into marketability and by extension – North American popularity of this style of Tango.
Argentine Tango – Tango De Salon.
The closest to it’s origins, social Tango danced to medium tempo classical tango repertoire, easily recognizable by it’s characteristic close embrace, upright posture with heads quite close together, full of both flowing as well as sharp movements frequently contrasted by stately pauses, is supposed to be an epitome of subtlety and god taste. When done in a more strenuous and technical “House of Cards” – figure “A” leaning against one another alignment – it is often referred to as a Milonguero style of Tango.
Argentine Tango – Tango Vals.
When Argentine Tango figures are danced to medium tempo waltz music, it is referred to as a Tango Vals. The rhythm and music of Tango Vals closely resembles medium tempo to quick tempo Viennese Waltz, however, unlike Viennese version, Tango Vals doesn’t continuously travel spinning around the floor with steady three step per musical measure. Instead it leisurely sways and rotates through unhurried and precise one to two steps per measure, with great rhythmic variety and subtlety. If Viennese Waltz was an sprint race around a track and field pitch, Tango Vals would be much closer to running around in a park.
Argentine Tango – Milonga.
This word refers to two different concepts in Argentine Tango world.
First it could refer to a quick dance. Milonga is done to rhythmic Tango music, with tempo that could be best described as that of a quick purposeful march. Imagine marching quickly with no obstacles in your way and then while becoming impeded by crowd in front of you, you attempt to maintain the rhythm of your walk by taking small steps almost on the spot. You cannot move as progressively as before, but still you can attempt to weave your way across the crowd having to side step left and right and once in a while rotating clockwise or counter clockwise. Now imagine whole dance floor of couples moving that way around the dance floor. That will give you a rough idea what Milonga danced at a social event looks like.
Second we have a social event dedicated to dancing Tango called a Milonga.
During Milongas there is a strict set of rules of conduct universally observed by all Tango dancers around the world, with slight regional variations. You can read more about them HERE.
The context of word Milonga is usually inferred from the context of the sentence and once you understand what the word could mean, its easily decipherable what someone wanted to say when they declared that “they like to dance Milonga during a Milonga”
Argentine Tango – Tango Nuevo.
This term most often loosely refers to both New Age, R’n’B and Electronica styled music with Argentine Tango instrumentation, melodies and rhythms intertwined, as well as dancing Argentine Tango to that kind of music. Since Classical Argentine Tango technique has been long established and well documented for many decades by now, any dancing with considerable departure from the core Tango stance and alignment while still retaining the overall mood and semblance to Tango style of dancing – would fall into that category.
Ever since Tango Nuevo appeared and started to have an ever growing following, the Tango World and Tango dancers seem to have divided roughly into three categories:
1 – Purists – they claim Tango Nuevo is a total Fault Pas, it should have never been invented, it should never be committed, anybody dancing Tango Nuevo should automatically become a Tango outcast barred for life from entering any well established and well to do Milongas.
2 – The opposite to Purists – they claim a heart wrenching, squeaking, rusty, crackling old style Tango music accompanied by a never ending emotional hara-kiri on a dance floor is a thing of a past and should be replaced by new style of dancing.
3 – Everybody else – happily dancing “either” and getting fair amount of pleasure from “both”.
In words of some modern Argentine Tango thinkers and gurus, Argentine Tango is a fluid and ever evolving artistic and cultural phenomenon, that by it’s constantly changing ways, always was in some way departing from what has been, and always will seek new artistic grounds and inspirations, and in some philosophical way all Tango always was, and always will be Tango Nuevo.
Throughout the week we have several Argentine Tango classes, each devoted to a different level of difficulty and experience.
Monday: Beginner level 1 – starting date: Jan 26, 2018 – to be confirmed: registration
6:15 pm – 7:25 pm, Aurora: location to be announced.
Wednesday: Beginner level 2 – Ongoing
8:50 pm – 10:00 pm, Aurora, Trinity Anglican Church.
Thursday: Technique of Tango Movement – Ongoing – all levels, no partner necessary.
7:15 pm – 8:25 pm, Etobicoke, Swansea Town Hall.
Thursday: Improver – Ongoing
8:30 pm – 9:40 pm, Etobicoke, Swansea Town Hall.
Beginner level 1: If you are interested in getting started please let us know by contacting us so we can put you on a list.
All other classes: providing your level of dancing is compatible with the level of a class you are interested in, you can join at any time. Please note: if you would like to attend without a partner there might be a delay in getting you enrolled: we are trying to have an equal number of women and men in each class and typically there is a shortage of man.