Argentina Tango

Tango © Jenny Mealing

Tango emerged from a set of social conditions in Buenos Aires in the 1800s. In those early days, it spoke of the hardship, pain and loneliness of the European immigrants who had left their families and loved ones behind in search of a better life. This seemed elusive for the majority of the male immigrant population who lived mainly on the shores of the Riachuelo and in the impoverished neighbourhoods of southern Buenos Aires. Tango lyrics arose from the mournful love songs and melancholic moments of these times, and with it a dance that expressed much of these sentiments. Men danced with men, and then prostitutes gradually provided the female quota, and so the dance evolved.

The Argentine upper classes distanced themselves from the dance because of its associations, and it was only after World War II that things changed. Its transformation in the eyes of the elite came about with its celebration on the dance floors of the Parisian ballrooms. Buenos Aires thus gave birth to a dance that has captured the popular imagination of fellow dancers around the world. It is the ultimate experience for any tango lover to watch the passion, lust, beauty and melancholy of the dance being performed on the streets and in the tango halls of the city of its inception.