Included by UNESCO in the “Intangible Cultural Heritage list” is a dance form known as Tango. This “Latin American” dance style is said to have originated around the border that separates Argentina from Uruguay in the River Plate region. Apparently, this dance has been created using influences belonging to the African as well as to the European culture. Furthermore, the music used in this dance style is heavily influenced by European melodies and rhythms. In addition, tango has gradually evolved over the years, as a result of which today there exists about 14 different styles of this “elegant” dance form.
a. History/origin of the Tango:
The tango (initially known as tango criolio) was basically developed in River Plate region (i.e. around the border that separates Argentina from Uruguay). Apparently, it was created by the lower middle class community residing in cities such as Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Initially, this dance was mainly performed at musical gatherings that were organized by the labour class. It was eventually in the beginning at the 20th century, when dancers and musicians from Buenos Aires travelled to Europe that this dance form began to gain popularity. For example, it was in Paris, France that tango first became popular in Europe, which was soon followed by London, Berlin, and by the end of 1913 New York too.
b. Costumes used in the Tango:
This dance is performed by both male and female, and so the costume worn varies according. They are as follows
1. For females:
The attire worn includes long/short skirts with openings, as well as dresses i.e. tops that are extremely sensual and usually expose the cleavage.
2. For males:
The attire worn includes a silk shirt, straight cut trousers, and a pair of good dancing shoes.
c. Music involved in the Tango:
The major musical instruments used in this dance form include bandoneons, classical piano, Italian violin, the string bass, and the Spanish guitar.
d. Training availability and technique involved in the Tango:
The basic technique of this dance, basically involves the dancers (i.e. leader and follower) either positioned in an open embrace or in a closed embrace. In the open embrace, a distance is maintained between the bodies of the leader and the follower while, in the closed embrace the bodies of the leader and follower are in close contact with one another. As for training schools, there are many available around the world that provide for training in this extremely “romantic” dance style.