Argentine Tango has been Inscribed in 2009 on the
UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
The Argentinian and Uruguayan tradition of Tango, now familiar around the world, was developed in Buenos Aires and Montevideo in the Rio de la Plata basin around the year 1880. Among this mix of "Tano" (Italian immigrants) and other Europeans, descendants of African slaves and the natives of the region known as Criollos, a wide range of customs, beliefs and rituals were merged and transformed into a distinctive cultural identity.
As one of the most recognizable embodiment of that identity, the music, dance and poetry of Tango both embodies and encourages diversity and cultural dialogue. It is practiced in Dance events called "Milonga" usually organized in the traditional "Salon" (dance halls) of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, spreading the spirit of its community across the globe even as it adapts to new environments and changing times.
That community today includes musicians, professional and amateur dancers, choreographers, composers, songwriters, teachers of the art and the national living treasures who embody the culture of Tango. Tango is also incorporated into celebrations of national heritage in Argentina and Uruguay, reflecting the widespread embrace of this popular urban music.
Argentine Tango Dancing
Argentine Tango dancing consist of a variety of styles that developed in different eras and decades; in response to the social situation, crowding of the venues and even the fashions in clothing. It is traditionally danced in a very closed embrace with a chest-to-chest connection and can vary to a very open embrace (in more modern versions “Nuevo” or for exhibitions “Escenario or Fantasia”), in which leader and follower connect at arms length. Dancing Tango is essentially based on walking with a partner and making use of the full spectrum of musicality (not only following the rhythm like other dances). Dancing appropriately to the emotions and speed is extremely vital to dancing Tango. Tango dancers rely heavily on improvisation; a good dancer is one who transmits a feeling of the music to the partner, leading/following effectively throughout the dance. Furthermore, dancers generally keep their feet close to the floor as they walk, their ankles and knees brushing as one leg passes the other. Argentine Tango is danced counterclockwise around the outside of the dance floor using a "line of dance", cutting across the middle of the floor and overtaking other couples is forbidden. In general, the middle of the floor is where one finds beginners who lack floor navigation skills. It is acceptable to stop briefly in the line of dance to perform stationary figures, as long as the other dancers are not unduly impeded. The school of thought about this is, if there is open space in front, there are likely people waiting behind. Dancers are expected to respect the other couples on the floor; colliding, crowding other couples, or stepping on others' feet is to be avoided strenuously.