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How Did the Argentine Tango Begin?

Learn the history of the argentine tango from tango instructors Diego Blanco and Ana Padron in this Howcast tango dance video.


So the history of Argentinian tango begins with Milonga. But the origin of Milonga comes from Playeras actually and Playeras is a song. It's a song, it's a song battle. There's a call and answer and Playeras began in the great place of Argentina with the Gouchos. Gouchos are Argentinian cowboys so they would battle off similar to rapping nowadays, Hip-hop, Okay?.

So this Playeras goes to the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, in the outskirts where there are immigrants. African immigrants and European immigrants. Now picture that there's a poor setting in these places and then this Playeras is giving the name of Milonga and Milonga is a name of arguments. The word argument in Angolian so it's an African word. And it's an argument in a dance so, it's a dance battle just as much like you have that in break dancing.

It's also another form of call and response. So, here picture these people battling each other and mixing European forms of dance like the polka which is dancing in an embrace and then you break the position and Candombe, which is an African dance solo, there's no accompaniment with a partner. It is dancing Encambrada, which means back's bent, and the knees are also bent so if you put those two together you have the common thing. You have cheek to cheek embrace, you know you are dancing very down into the ground.

So it was through this mixture of cultures, it was an influence of cultures that where the first origins of tango come about. There's a misconception about the birth of tango in brothels. Yes, it was danced in brothels, but tango was danced everywhere. It was danced in street corners, it was danced in cafes, it was danced in theaters, dance halls, you know, or ball rooms as you call them. So that's a brief history of tango as a dance form.

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