What is Tango?

Tango and tango dancing is most commonly is most commonly defined by ‘the eye of the beholder‘.  To most people, tango means whatever type of style and influence they have connected with.  For me that has been the traditional social dance from Buenos Aires sometimes called  “Milonguero Style” a name popularized by Susana Miller and her Milongueando Academia.

The ‘Milonguero’ style Argentine tango social dance that has been danced in the tango halls, community centers and milongas in Buenos Aires for over 100 years. It is a close-embrace style that focuses on technique — the connection between partners through the embrace, posture and musicality that — that provides the building blocks for anything thrown your way. Through ‘entrega’, that connection, is the fundamental concept that makes Tango dancing what it is and distinguishes it from other forms of dance.

‘Milonguero‘ style tango evolved in the late 19th and 20th century as an amalgam of European symphonic dance, combined with Kikongo (Central African) and Caribbean rhythms, as a result of migrants bringing with them their heritage from those regions of the world. This style was also necessary to be able to dance in the crowded milongas in Buenos Aires that where there wasn’t much room to dance. That continues in Buenos Aires through today, where space is often limited and people still need to be able to dance in whatever small space (e.g., a 3-4 foot circle) that is available to them.  Tango ‘Milonguero’ is an elegant and sensual dance focusing that nurtures people on and off the dance floor for years to come. As a result, there are those who dance for 50+ years and well into their 80s or 90s.

Milonguero is the preferred style of my new friends, Angeles Chanaha & Michael Nadtochi … and is danced in some of the finest dance halls in Buenos Aires (e.g., social tango dancing at Porteño y Bailarin);

and is taught by some of the finest teachers from Bueons Aires e.g., Enriqueta Kleinman and Nestor La Vitola dancing to Pugliese at a workshop in Ann Arbor.

Other related dances such as ‘American tango’ and ‘ballroom tango’ have been made popular in television, movies and theatrical troops in North America and Europe.  The focus of those dances is a connection with the audience, instead of only the music and your partner.   I call those styles “stage tango” instead of tango social dancing or “tango milonguero”, even though some people chose to dance “stage tango” socially.

As I mention elsewhere in this blog, “‘Milonguero’ tango dancers feel what ‘Stage tango’ dancers can only see.” Don’t miss the opportunity to share in this enriching and enjoyable experience.


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