TANGO (Argentine Tango)

Tango is a popular or folk art form originated in Argentina and Uruguay in the late 19th century.

Nowadays, Tango is a very well developed art that includes music, singing and dance.

The musical part of Tango had its golden era from 1935 until 1950 approximately.

And the dancing had it for the second time from around 1985 and keeps developing.


"The tango dance was created before tango music and music before tango lyrics... all this represent a need of expression.

But the word Tango existed long before all this and has an amazing reason...

Some of the black people who came as slaves at the time of the Spanish colony were coming from Congo. For the people from Congo expressing their feelings through music and their bodies was very important thing! Their bodies were pure rhythm, and every action of their lives was transformed into a dance: death, life, war, sex, religion, joy, and thanks to these dances they manage to endure the painful difficulties of life in front of white eyes full of racial prejudice and hatred.

The first record of the "Tango" word in Buenos Aires, is the name of house in a document when it was sold in 1802. This is a domestic inventory that we have as a prove, and it was showing the meeting point of a place called "Casas y Sitio e Tango" It is the first appearance we have of this word TANGO related to the meetings of black people. They were know for express through the touch, to feel, to have contact. Is not amazing? Those are the roots of this fantastic dance and culture that is tango.

Tango the dance of the embrace, contact and expression of your feelings. That Tango still growing and evolving at the rhythm of Buenos Aires, a city that in it chaos always is looking for embrace!

Marisol Morales

Marisol Morales (Tango dancer, teacher and historian)

Geographical origins of Tango


Tango, as a musical genre, emerged on the Río de la Plata between 1850 and 1890. At that time there was a large influx of Africans and Buenos Aires received ships full of European immigrants.

The fusion of the different cultural origins in Argentina gave rise to a musical fusion that first created the milonga, with an agile rhythm, and then the tango. The drums, flutes and guitars were quickly replaced by the piano, the violin and the bandoneon: the 3 basic instruments of tango.


What not many people know, is that, since Tango was initially danced in the brothels and at some of the lower social classes, its music and lyrics were pretty simple and rude. In fact, some Tango lyrics were modified later to be socially accepted.

The Tango genre was transforming itself little by little, until it became a true urban art (where it keeps developing!). And it was not only expressed in Buenos Aires, but it was also frequented in Montevideo, Uruguay.

In its beginnings, it was a marginal music and dance, practiced by the lower social classes. Then, in the second decade of the 20th century, Tango arrived to Europe and it was danced in the high societies of Paris because they found it exotic and fun. As a consequence, the enthusiasm for Tango began to grow in Europe, and with this "social approval", it was also finally accepted in the Argentine society.

The mythical Carlos Gardel

Carlos Gardel


Throughout the years Tango spread all over the world. The dance appeared in some Hollywood movies and its artists began to travel internationally.

The first big and still mythical forerunner was Carlos Gardel, an extraordinary singer with great carisma who also starred in some movies.

With this, the Golden Age of Tango began in Argentina: music, poetry and dance and culture flourished everywhere. Great musicians, directors, composers and poets were the first root impulse of Tango.

The stages of Tango


The evolution of Tango is generally divided into different stages. Each historian divides this evolution differently. However, beyond the denominative differences, three or four stages are generally accepted in the Tango history:

The Proto-Tango (until 1900), the "Guardia Vieja" (until 1925), the "Guardia Nueva" (until 1950), the "Vanguardia" (until 1970), The Modern Period (until 2000) and The Contemporary Stage.

In each stage we can find different composers and musicians and, because of this, different styles of Tango. Of course, as many social and artistic processes, this division is not so easy to determined in terms of exact years or even in terms of its protagonists. Because some of them took part in more than one stage and even changed their own style.