History of Tango Essay

This essay has a total of 1179 words and 5 pages.

History of Tango

The man and woman face each other, with the man holding the woman's right hand in his
left, and with his right arm around her. The Tango is the third dance to use this hold for
couple dancing. The Viennese Waltz is the first dance done in this couple hold. It was
very popular in Europe in the 1830's. Couple dancing before the Viennese Waltz was very
formal and did not involve a lot of physical contact just mainly holding hands. About 10
years after the Viennese Waltz came the Polka. Also taking Europe by storm, the Polka
became the newest craze to use this scandalous new hold. Tango was extremely different
from anything that came before it, and was the biggest influence on all couple dancing in
the Twentieth Century. The story of tangos evolution is a mystery but, what is known is
that it was immigrants coming into Argentina who brought these new couple dances with
there more intimate hold.

The first piece of written music that called itself Tango was written and published in
Argentina in 1857. "Toma mate, che" was the song. In this period the meaning of Tango
probably meant Tango Andaluz, Andalucian Tango, a style of music from eastern Europe
mainly Spain.

The origin of the word "Tango" in Argentina is still a mystery but it is believed to come
from Argentina. The most common theory was that the community of African descent put the
name of their god with the Spanish word for drum (tambor) and then came up with the word
"Tango". In Argentina Tango had a much different meaning then that in Spain. Members of
the African community in Buenos Aires certainly joined in and influenced the development
of the dance and music, just as members all the other communities in Buenos Aires did.

Nowadays the Tango is something of high class or upper society. It's very sophisticated
but, during the times of its origin, it became popular in the slums, or the underbelly of
Argentina. The immigrants of Europe, Africa, and other unknown ports streamed into the
outskirts of Buenos Aires in the 1880's. They would find their amusement in drinking and
sex. They would go to the whorehouses to satisfy their need to keep busy. From this came a
mix of cultures and eventually the creation of the Tango. Although it can't be proven that
this is its exact origin this is the theory that is most logical. The relentless rhythms
that the African slaves, the candombe, beat on their drums (known as tan-go); the popular
music of the pampas (flatlands) known as the milonga, which combined Indian rhythms with
the music of early Spanish colonists; and other influences, including Latin. Some say the
word "tango" comes from the Latin word tangere (to touch.) It was the dance of sorrow. It
speaks with body language. More then just frustrated love, it is also said to speak of
death and pain. It was the perfect dance for social outcasts; it epitomized their feelings
about their life.

The act in the Tango was originally intended to be for a prostitute and her pimp. Even
some titles in the tango referred to characters in the world of prostitution. Other acts
were for two men to fight for the love of a woman where it would always end in death. The
tango was very sexual and violent, not literally but that's what it was intended to mean.
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