Tango dance is one of the many types of Cuban dances that are considered the national dance. Tango is a popular partner dance, an art form that originated in the late nineteenth century along the Río de la Plata River, the natural boundary between Uruguay and Argentina. It originally was born out of the poorest port regions of these two countries, in poor neighborhoods that had predominately African-speaking populations. These working-class neighborhoods were located along the riverbank, where boats were abundant but the lack of good lighting and poor sanitation slowed the progress of this dance. Eventually the rhythm of the music became more relaxed and rhythmic, until it reached its first big break, in nineteen seventies when the rumba or son, as it is known in Spain was introduced. Later on the music became even more jubilant, with the presence of jazz and salsa as mainstays of Cuban music.
The history of tango dance is marked by several styles and dances, all of which have their own distinct characteristics. One of the main types of tango dance is the classical Argentine tango, which is characterized by its long, fluid motions and lively tone. There are also several other styles, such as the cafe Argentine, the tango con levanture, the salsa Argentine, the rumbo Argentine, and the flamenco.
As you can see, the history of tango dance goes back several generations, although recent years have seen the most popularity occur in Cuba. There, the dances have largely remained the same, although there has been some major changes, such as the use of classical Cuban instruments, such as the maracas. In addition to the classical instruments, many Cuban ballroom dancers also now use cymbals, samba, and maracas. Many of the older style Cuban ballroom dances are based on earlier works, like the Viennese Waltz, the Ecuardi, and the Rumba. While these dances remain popular, they seem to be falling out of favor with the younger generation of Cuban ballroom dancers.
Other early styles of tango dance emerged in the late 19th century. Some were characterized by a strong beat, much like today’s popular salsa dance. Others, especially the ones that were more formal, featured longer, flowing songs. The first recordings of traditional tango dance can be found in the works of Jose Alfredo Cruz, who wrote several albums and showed them at the theaters. His music is also frequently performed today.
The popularity of tango dance reached its peak in the 1920s. While the Cubans were hard-pressed to create a unique style of their own, the upbeat “tea and coffee” of their native Spain helped to fuel the popularity of the salsa. When news reached Cuba that performers from Spain were visiting Cuba, hundreds of young men flocked to the cities of Aruba and Trinidad to see what all the excitement was about. Arriving at the cities too late, those who visited already had a taste for what the world had to offer. The dances of the day were characterized by a strong beat, which was often stepped up a notch with the addition of footwork.
After a short time, the dance went through a transformation. The music grew to be more festive and attractive, and became known as the real tango. Dancing became much more socially acceptable in the cities where it had previously been taboo. It became so popular that when World War II arrived, soldiers going back home would ask their friends to dance for them in order to cheer them on. As the war ended, the dancing gained even more popularity.
Throughout the remainder of the twentieth century, as styles of tango dance developed in Spain, Brazil, and Argentina, new styles appeared in the United States. Many of these new styles were characterized by fast dancing, which was thought to be faster than regular Cuban tango dancing. Other styles emphasized the use of steel tubing to dance. Finally, other dancers developed a style that was similar to tango music, but also incorporated Latin music into it.
Today, tango music is enjoyed all over Latin America and the United States. Young people learn to dance at school, community centers, and summer camps. Dancing brings together groups of people from different backgrounds. Dancers from both Spanish-speaking and Hispanic cultures regularly attend Latin American musical gatherings. No matter what your views are on immigration, you can respect the beautiful heritage of the Argentina by learning to dance it, as well as by watching it.