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Argentine Tango

Argentine tango is a social dance and a musical genre that originated in the late 19th century in the Rio de la Plata region, which includes the cities of Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Montevideo (Uruguay). It has since spread to many parts of the world and has become an international dance form.

Argentine Tango - The Dance

The dance is characterised by its elegance and improvisation. While there are basic steps and patterns, the dance allows personal creativity and expression. It’s often described as a conversation between the partners. Watch this short documentary to find out more.

The social dance of tango is very different from performance tango that we often see on stage and TV shows such as Strictly. Social tango is danced by people of all ages, all backgrounds, and all levels of dance experience in clubs and halls up and down the country. The Performance, or “show” tango you may see on screen and stage is choreographed and danced by professionals. It’s designed for entertainment rather than participation. Both can be inspiring.

More than this, Argentine tango is not just a dance; it's an experience. Enjoy the journey of discovering the nuances of the dance, the music, and the connection with your partner.
Find out where you can learn to dance  with our Find your tango map.

Argentine Tango - The Music

Tango music stems from a fusion of cultures (from the countryside of Argentina/Uruguay together with melodies of European immigrants) and developed into the genre we know today. 
The tango music that was recorded in Buenos Aires (between the 1920s to 1950s) that is enjoyed at social dances around the UK, and around the world, is rarely or never heard on UK radio or television. The distinctive sound has a strong rhythmic structure with syncopated beats, dramatic pauses and is characterised by its melancholic melodies.

The typical dance orchestra consists of bandoneóns (a form of accordion), violins, a piano, and double bass. The dance music consists of both instrumental and sung tangos. The lyrics of tangos often explore themes of love, loss, nostalgia, and longing, with some light-hearted ones to lift the mood!

We are delighted that our members include many talented tango musicians that perform for the listening public as well as for tango dancers, eg Caroline Pearsall, director of the London Tango Orchestra; Julian Rowlands, leading bandoneonist with the orchestra Tango Siempre; and violinist David Juritz representing the London Tango Quintet. Our members also include amateur musicians across the UK who, thanks to their love of the dance, have turned to composing and playing tangos on a variety of different instruments.

The variety of tango music is extensive but we have included a sample here: a video of a contemporary orchestra from Buenos Aires and a Spotify link to dance tangos that were recorded in Buenos Aires during the 1930s/50s.

Benefits Of Dancing Argentine Tango

Argentine tango is a dance deeply rooted in the basic human need for connection and communication. The embrace that is characteristic of Argentine tango creates a strong physical and emotional connection between the dancers, creating a sense of trust and intimacy between the partners.

The benefits of dancing tango are well recognised and include:
  • It's Social! Argentine tango is danced socially across the globe. Throughout the UK there are regular social dances (milongas) where you will be welcomed and can connect with other dancers. Many dancers make new and long lasting friendships through tango.  
  • Physical Fitness: Dancing Tango can help muscle tone and flexibility and regular dancing can help cardiovascular health.​
  • Improved Posture and Body Awareness: Tango encourages good posture and body awareness, helping alignment and balance in everyday life -  great if you  spend long hours sitting at a desk.
  • Stress Reduction: Dancing tango can be a wonderful way to relieve stress and everyday tensions. The focus on the music & a partner is a wonderful way to escape from the worries of the day.
  • Cognitive Benefits: Learning and mastering the steps and patterns of the dance stimulates the brain and can improve cognitive function. And it’s fun!
  • Emotional Expression: Tango is known for its emotional intensity, allowing dancers to express a wide range of emotions through movement. This can be a wonderful means of self-expression.
  • Multisensory Experience: Tango engages multiple senses, including touch, sight, and hearing. This combination creates a wonderful rich and fulfilling experience - there's nothing like it!

Reasons to Dance Tango

Many people's image of Argentine Tango is drawn from TV and films. In reality it is very different and has lots to offer everybody, whatever you age or fitness level.
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The Music

You will be swept into another era when orchestras played the powerful and sophisticated rhythms of tango all night long. The tango music is intriguing, beautiful, demanding… 
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The Body

Dancing tango is a great way to  increase core strength, flexibility, and balance. And dancing all night at a "milonga" is a gentle way to gain cardiovascular benefits too.
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The People

Tango is a great way to meet new people and make friends. There are tango social dances almost every day of the week right across the UK.
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The Science

Many studies have shown that tango not only releases chemicals to the brain that are calming and pleasing but that tango improves co-ordination and balance more than any other form of exercise.
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The Personal Connection

That’s tango’s little secret, its uniqueness. Connection is when the powerful yet delicate alchemy that exists between two dancers takes the dancing to another level.
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The International Connection

Today tango is danced all over the world by local communities just like yours. Wherever you go, you can now plan a tango night in your travels and immediately be amongst locals – no language challenges, the music is the same, the dance is the same.
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