Tango is a partner dance that developed in the 1900s in towns along the border between Argentina and Uruguay, then rose as a distinct genre of music and dance in the steamy nightclubs of Argentina’s Buenos Aires and Uruguay’s Montevideo. The musical genre and the dance that personifies it both fuse a variety of European dances and styles of music (the Spanish contradanse, Cuban habanera) with African-inspired rhythms and dances, such as the Afro-Uruguayan candombe.
Tango today is romantic, formal and intensely artistic–there are people who take their tango very seriously and consider the dance the highest form of high art. Most of the rest just find it dramatic and fun, and enjoy the spirit of the dance, especially when joining others at a “milonga,” which is a place/event where many come to tango. If you want to dance the tango:
– STEP 1: FIND A PARTNER. You must have a partner to tango. If you don’t, pretend. Tango uses the “closed” frame position: Leader’s right hand on the follower’s left shoulder blade, leader’s left hand holds follower’s right hand. Follower’s left hand midway down the leader’s right arm.
– STEP 2: The most basic tango step has FIVE COUNTS that stretch over 8 BEATS: SLOW (1-2), SLOW (3-4), QUICK (5) QUICK (6), SLOW (7-8)
– STEP 3: You and your partner are a team; dance together and love it.