Jujuy Salta Misiones Cordoba Buenos Aires La Pampa Mendoza Neuquen Chubut Rio Negro Santa Cruz Tierra del Fuego
Unit conversion Weather center ATM Locator Currency converter Calendar of events National weather
Tango Patagonia Gauchos Yerba Mate Spanish Lessons Local Ranches Trout Fishing Ski Centers South America Fly Fishing Patagonia Tours Argentina
Iguazu Falls Whale Watching Ushuaia Bariloche Lake District Northwest Mendoza Perito Moreno glacier

Tango dancing and Tango music

Destinations Travel Tools Cybercafe finder Ask the Experts Book it yourself Special Interest

Street milongas Dancers Bandoneon

Arrabal de Buenos Aires Tango shapes argentine culture
Tango developed around 1850 and 1880 on both shores of Rio de La Plata. In the city of Buenos Aires, specifically in a neighborhood called Monserrat, crowds would gather at night for the practice of dances such as Tango, Candombe and Fandango, all of which had a bad reputation among the higher classes ruling Argentinean society at the time. Regardless of its poor origins Tango, in time, developed into a national habit and for many decades was the favorite pastime of just about anybody living in Buenos Aires.

Modern times, slowly but relentlessly eroded the firm grasp Tango had in every single layer of Argentine society; never really disappearing, because Tango has a strong identification with what Argentineans, mainly the Porteños who live in Buenos Aires, are about. Recently, Tango has seen a revival with a number of younger crowds devoting time and effort to its practice, and a good number of places opening up where dancers of all ages can meet and dance. It will always be difficult to assess why a lack of enthusiasm for Tango came to be, as much as what are the reasons behind its renewed integration into Buenos Aires' entertainment picture.

It is not uncommon to see a small group of enthusiasts gathering in any street of Buenos Aires, although some neighborhoods are clearly being favored, to watch a young couple performing a Tango session with both of them dressed up, and including a little script play.

Typically, San Telmo or Florida Streets are where many of these performers can be found, day and night. On some occasions they would expect to collect small amounts of money from passersby.

Nothing characterizes Tango more than the instrument through which it gets played. A "Bandoneon", a musical instrument developed for religious ceremonies in Germany, is at the heart of how Tango sounds. It is impossible to determine how or when bandoneones were introduced into Latin America, although stories abound. The critical thing is the degree of difficulty in playing the Bandoneon and, needless to say, to master it-something Argentine musicians are very acquainted with. The same key makes 2 different sounds according to the contraction or expansion of the instrument's body.

Then, there are the dancers. They enjoy today as much recognition as Tango singers enjoyed in the old days. It is their attitude which is most appealing; the twists and slides they make while dancing, never loosing their pride or their arrogance, each dancer never loosing eye contact. And as the male seduces his partner, they both seduce and enchant their audiences, emotionally expressing whatever the particular Tango they are dancing represents to them at the time; usually some sad, nostalgic love story where the male gets abandoned. From its remote origin on the streets of Monserrat, Tango has come a long way, enjoying popularity in theaters of Broadway and even having its own following in Japan-Tango singers included!!

Arrabal Guapos Milonga in San Telmo


Milongueros and milongas

"Tango" edited by Chas Richards