Argentine tango is a genre of music and dance born in the Argentine area of Rio de la Plata. Its origins extend far and wide in the world, blending African, Italian and Argentinian indigenous rhythms into a wonderful, rich and unique style which allows and encourages much freedom of expression.
The lyrics, many true literary gems, often tell evocative stories of people or places. For someone who does not speak Spanish the effort to decipher them is well rewarded as it helps one understand the music of this genre to a much deeper level and brings it closer to the heart.
It is widely agreed that Enrique Santos Discepolo offered the closest definition for Argentine tango: 'a sad thought that is danced' ( 'un pensamiento triste que se baila').
Argentine tango is first and foremost about community; it is about family and friends spending time together in a warm environment of music and dance.
Argentine tango is not just about music and dance, it is about an entire culture which may be more or less close to what you have experienced in your life so far. I encourage you to go to many places where it is danced and see for yourself if this is something that you would like to pursue. I strongly encourage you to travel to Buenos Aires because no other experience compares.
If you think of taking up tango, here is a small introduction to this dance from a social perspective. Going out to dance Argentine tango, or going to a milonga - an experience with codes of conduct rooted in the social and cultural framework of a Buenos Aires in the early 1900s:
1... ANTES DE IR A LA MILONGA NOS BAÑAMOS....(before going to the milonga we bathe)
2... LA PILCHA Y LA ELEGANCIA ES CONDICION NUMERO UNO!!! (the fine clothes and elegance are the number one condition)
3... DESPUES DE PERFUMARTE, A LA MILONGA.... (after you put some perfume, to the milonga)
4... A NO BAILAR TODAS LAS TANDAS Y HASTA LAS CORTINAS MUSICALES, ASI VAS A PARECER UN CABALLO LOCO, BAILA SOLO LO QUE TE GUSTA!!!! (do not dance all tandas and cortinas to appear like a crazy horse, dance only what you like)
5... ABRAZALA SIN LASTIMARLA, PERO QUE EL ABRAZO ELLA LO NOTE!!!! (embrace her without hurting her, she will still notice your embrace)
6... MARCALE TODO LO QUE QUIERAS HACER, PERO NO LA LASTIMES, ES UNA DAMA!!!! (lead all that you want, but do not hurt her, she is a lady)
7... USA LOS CODIGOS DE CONVIVENCIA MILONGUEROS, CABECEALA, Y SI NO SABES, APRENDE!!!!! (use the codes in the milonga, the cabeceo, and if you don't know them, learn)
8... AL TERMINAR CADA TANDA, ACOMPAÑALA HASTA SU MESA... (at the end of each tanda, accompany her to her table)
9... RESPETA LA RONDA , Y LA MUSICA, PERO EN ESE ORDEN, EL TANGO ES UN BAILE SOCIAL....(respect the traffic, and the music, but in this order; tango is a social dance)
10..NO HAGAS FIGURAS PELIGROSAS PARA LAS DEMAS PERSONAS!!!! ANTES DE HACERLE LEVANTAR UNA PIERNA, PENSALO MIL VECES!!!!! (don't do figures that are dangerous for the others; before leading her to lift a leg, think a thousand times)
11..APRENDE A RESIGNAR FIGURAS PARA GANAR EN AMISTAD!!!! (learn to give up on figures in order to earn in friendship)
12..CUANDO ENTRAS A UNA MILONGA, SALUDA A LA GENTE QUE CONOCES....(when you enter a milonga greet those you know)
13..CUANDO TE VAS DE UNA MILONGA, SALUDA A LA GENTE QUE CONOCES... (when you leave the milonga, greet those you know)
If you would like to learn more about Argentine tango I invite you to look it up here in this link: