Wild, flamboyant, seductive – the Argentine Tango has many intriguing epithets. When it comes to channeling the most intimate conditions of the human soul, the Argentine Tango is without equal. Born in Buenos Aires in the late 19th century, no other dance embodies raw emotion more elegantly than this unique Latin form.
At Arthur Murray Dance Studios, the Argentine Tango holds a special place, being a favorite of ours for its ability to empower dancers to express themselves. If you are looking for Argentine Tango lessons taught by true aficionados, contact us today.
What is Argentine Tango?
Technically, Argentinian Tango is a handful of basic movements that are indistinguishable from other Latin styles. But once you add the personality of the dancer, it becomes one of the most captivating dances there is. Argentine Tango embodies a mixture of different ethnic influences, exactly like the rugged neighborhoods it originates from. The characteristic beat in Argentinian Tango music has African roots. However, the four different styles of the dance all have Italian names. Add some fiery Latin personality, and a touch of Milonga (fast-paced South American polka), and you have the Argentine Tango – a slow rhythm, volatile affection, and spontaneity.
The Argentinian Tango is not your classic ballroom dance. Where a waltz is 100% form, the Argentine Tango is only 10%. The dancers add the rest themselves. This is why the Argentine Tango is as fulfilling as it is challenging, some even say addictive. Students of the Argentinian Tango should expect to have personal boundaries tested. At Arthur Murray Studios this is an everyday occurrence, and we excel at creating the perfect environment for personal exploration and growth.
Where Does The Argentinian Tango Come From?
The history of Argentinian Tango is shrouded in myth. Most likely it was born in dance halls in the poor areas of Buenos Aires in the late 1800s, where African rhythm was fused with Argentinian polka music. Some say Argentine Tango originated from Italian immigrants’ longing for family left behind. One thing for certain is that Argentinian Tango embodies a rich variety of stylistic and musical traditions from many cultures, made possible by the mass immigration Argentina experienced in the 19th century.
In the early 20th century, Argentine Tango could be found in all working class neighborhoods and was attracting Argentinian high society. Wealthy patrons brought the dance to Europe around 1913, where it immediately seduced the bourgeoisie, ushering it into the world spotlight. During the political repression of the 1950s and 1960s, Argentinian Tango was banned, because it attracted large groups and had a ‘subversive’ nature. That sanction didn’t make a difference, as people simply met in underground venues, not unlike the establishments it grew out of in the late 1800s.
Studying Argentine Tango involves more than dancing. Several members of our staff have made the trip to Argentina to experience the dance in an authentic setting. Knowing how the dance came to be makes our love for the Argentine Tango that much stronger, and we relish every opportunity to share our appreciation for the dance and its exceptional story.
Learning the Argentinian Tango
Learning the Argentine Tango requires a great deal of commitment, but not much else. There is no dress code or need for special footwear. You just come as you are. However, reaching a point where the dance becomes second nature requires an in-depth exposure, which we have divided into 3 stages:
In order to let loose, it is necessary to master the basics. Luckily, they are not very difficult. The walk, cross, turn, counter-turn, leg hook, displacement, embrace, and foot by foot moving do not require any special talent and can all be learned in a few classes. These classes focus solely on learning these fundamental movements, and your instructors will show you great patience. They have all been there.
Intermediate Tango Lessons
In this phase, students are encouraged to begin using the basic steps for spontaneous improvisation. Because the Argentine Tango is so personal, we nurture every student individually to help them become fully comfortable using the basic steps for creative expression. Having gone through the same process, our instructors can relate to the transformational challenge, and they let all students share in their expertise. Requiring more from instructors and students alike, these classes are typically smaller to allow more time for personal coaching, so students can work with their own ideas.
At this level, students rehearse their own creations with as little interference from instructors as possible. However, instructors will be on hand to make suggestions and give advice. Advanced classes are done in a ballroom setting, with all students dancing in the traditional Argentinian Tango circle. These classes are typically very focused and have less room for social interaction, but are satisfying nonetheless.
Because studying the Argentine Tango is as much a personal growth experience as it is the study of a new dance, students on all levels are required to come to class at least twice a week. This ensures that students will retain any progress they have made mastering the form. For students who put in the required work, there are attractive opportunities to pursue. Dance companies often invite Arthur Murray alumni to recitals, and quite a few students have turned the Argentinian Tango into a comfortable lifestyle.
Why Arthur Murray Studios?
Arthur Murray Dance Studios is a perfect choice for anyone who wants to learn Argentine Tango. Besides being professional dancers, our instructors go through a rigorous training program to maximize their teaching capabilities. Using Comparative Teaching, we design lessons carefully to make sure all students can learn at their own pace, and that each student receives whatever individual attention they need. Classes are open to anyone, regardless of background, age, or ambition, and we make sure everyone gets what they came for.
Any student that enters our program will develop a profound appreciation for everything the Argentinian Tango personifies – intimacy, longing, suffering, raw emotion – expressed to tango music in the dance halls of 19th century Buenos Aires. We are ready to take your hand on the first visit, lead you on your way to learning a steamy new dance, and make you part of the real life drama of which Argentinian heritage is so rich. Call us to book your introductory lesson, and take the first step of many toward becoming an Argentine Tango Maestro. It is literally at your feet.