The American Tango, a distinct variant of the traditional Argentine Tango, has a unique history that reflects its adaptation to American cultural sensibilities.

Early 20th Century:

  • The Tango originated in the late 19th century in the lower-class districts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was brought to the United States by dancers and immigrants in the early 20th century.
  • In America, the dance was initially seen as provocative and was modified to suit more conservative American tastes.

Adaptation and Evolution:

  • The American Tango evolved to be more structured and less improvisational than the Argentine Tango. It developed a smoother, more theatrical style, focusing on progressive movements across the dance floor.
  • The dance was influenced by the music of the time, particularly the big band era, leading to a style that was more dramatic and less intimate than its Argentine counterpart.

Ballroom Influence:

  • The American Tango became part of the American ballroom scene, with formalized steps and techniques. This version is more upright and less grounded than the Argentine Tango.
  • It was included in American Smooth dance competitions, alongside dances like the Foxtrot and the Waltz.

Modern Day:

  • Today, the American Tango is recognized as a separate style within the world of ballroom dancing, known for its dramatic movements, sharp head snaps, and theatricality.
  • It continues to be a popular dance in both social and competitive dancing, often featured in dance shows and movies.

In summary, the American Tango is a dance that has been shaped by cultural adaptation, evolving into a distinct style that emphasizes theatricality and dramatic flair, setting it apart from its Argentine roots.

Tango Characteristics

  • The Tango is known for its passionate, dramatic character, featuring sharp, staccato movements and a close connection between partners. It’s marked by precise footwork, intense eye contact, and a strong, grounded stance. The Tango’s music is rhythmic and emotive, driving the dance’s fiery and expressive nature.


Tango Music Information

The Tango, with its distinctive musical style, is characterized by the following features:

  • Rhythmic Complexity: Tango music often includes complex, syncopated rhythms and sudden changes in tempo, providing a dynamic and expressive backdrop for the dance.

  • Time Signature: The most common time signature in Tango music is 4/4, but it is known for its varied and sometimes irregular accents within the measure, contributing to its unique rhythm.

  • Bandoneón: A key instrument in Tango music is the bandoneón, similar to an accordion, which gives Tango its signature sound, full of emotional depth and intensity.

  • Melancholic and Dramatic: Tango music typically has a melancholic, dramatic feel, often featuring minor keys and passionate, sometimes sorrowful melodies.

  • Instrumentation: Besides the bandoneón, Tango music commonly includes a string section, piano, and sometimes a guitar, all contributing to a rich, layered sound.

  • Dynamic Range: The music can range from very soft and subtle to powerful and intense, mirroring the dance’s dramatic and emotional range.

These musical elements combine to create the Tango’s unmistakable atmosphere, driving the dance’s passionate and expressive movements.