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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

Let’s dance - Tango

Charm your way through tango, a walking seduction for two
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - July 1, 2010
By: Goh Mei Yi
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Let’s dance - Tango

Tango has a complex history and its exact origins are murky. However, what is certain is that the dance and its music originated in the working-class suburbs and brothels of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Its sensual moves were not regarded as respectable by the Argentinean upper class until the dance gained popularity in Europe and Parisian high society in the early decades of the 20th century.

Tango music is traditionally played by a small ensemble, which includes a violin, piano, and bandoneon (a type of small accordion). It is the bandoneon that gives tango music its distinctive sound. The music may be purely instrumental or may include a vocalist.

Today, tango has developed into several different styles to include Argentine tango, Uruguayan tango and Ballroom tango (American and International styles). But many dancers consider the version with the truest authenticity is the style originally danced in Argentina and Uruguay.

Argentine tango is a partner dance, led by the man and relying heavily on improvisation. Most tango instructors teach complex movement patterns, also called figures, broken down into simpler parts and also teach students how to improvise.

Branching away from its Argentine roots is Ballroom tango. At present, this style is divided into two disciplines: American and International (or English). Both styles are enjoyed as social and competitive dances, although it is the International version that is used in competitive ballroom dancing.

Tango nuevo or new tango music and dance are examples of the constantly evolving forms of Argentine tango. This style incorporates new elements into traditional Argentine tango and has been popularised in recent years by a younger generation of dancers.

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