If you are considering going on an Argentina tour, a tango show is a must see event that is embedding in the culture of the country!
“When all is said and done, the tango is no more than a reflection of our daily reality,” said Edmund Rivera, one of the greatest Argentine tango singers of all time. Rivera recognizes that Argentina is an immigrants’ melting pot. Distinctive cultural elements have fused to give birth to an expression of the soul, an arrangement of both lyrics and dance, a truly unique art, the Argentine tango.
In the nineteenth century, many Europeans, especially Italians and Spaniards, immigrated to Argentina. Bringing with them many dances including the waltz, polka, and mazurka. The popular Cuban habanera made its way to Argentina as well. The habanera, polka, waltz and mazurka assimilated along with other innovations from abroad to create the milonga, which became nicknamed as “the poor man’s Habanera” due to its popularity among the urban poor of Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires. It was in the bustling city of Buenos Aires that the milonga’s tempo blended with the much wilder African candombe. Developing rhythmic steps of it’s own, and forming into the entirely new dance of the tango.
The tango originated as a man-to-man dance. This was because many of Buenos Aires’ neighborhoods were primarily of Porteños or male immigrants, former soldiers and working poor. The tango made its way to the brothels of the city, where it is assumed to have transformed into a co-ed dance. By the turn of the century, the tango became the main means of entertainment for the urban poor of Buenos Aires, flourishing in the struggling semi-rural areas and port neighborhoods. The tango’s music and dance began to move up the social ladder, reaching the middle and upper classes of the city. Argentine society developed a love and appreciation for the dance.
By 1910, the dance had reached out through every border of Argentina and found its way to Paris, center of the cultural and entertainment world. It soon made its way to Hollywood, where the tango became glamorized. After becoming globalized, the tango began to loose some of its original meaning, changing from an expression of poverty and loneliness of immigrant men, to a slick dance with elegant love songs for the mass market.
The dance transformed further, it became less popular in Europe and renewed itself as a fundamental expression of Argentine culture. When the depression hit, the tango changed even more, and the dance became representative of current political and economic conditions, those of renewed poverty and social division within the country. Between the 1960s and 1980s the tango lost popularity, to everyone but a select few. Eventually, the tango hit a period of revival, when a world tango tour started, the Tango Argentino.
Nowadays, after reinventions, Argentina’s most authentic form of popular music and dance is a harmonic and melodic expression of the soul. One must really listen to the music in order to dance the tango; tension and releases must be used when pauses and accelerations are heard. Today, the tango is taught and celebrated not only in Argentine culture, but also in cities around the world. The tango has undoubtedly made Argentina more globally recognized and appreciated.