Dance Style

Welcome to tangoorange.org! We bring you everything there is to know about the best Argentine Tango in Orange County! But before that, let’s first discuss the basics of Argentine Tango and its different dance styles.

Tango is a pair dance which originates from River Plate, a place located in the boundary of Argentine and Uruguay. It traces its stylistic origins from other Hispanic dances like Tango Flamenco, Habanera, Milonga, Candombe, Zarzule, Waltz, Polka and Payada.  It is also known as Argentine Tango. Recently, it was included in the list of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intangible Cultural Heritage List as proposed by both Argentina and Uruguay.

Unlike other dances, Tango does not have definitive figures. The dance is composed of improvised spontaneous movements as determined by the lead. It has several elements namely; cross (cruce), leg hooks (ganchos), walk (caminar), figure-eight (ochos), turns (giros), displacements (sacadas), moving foot by foot (llevadas de pie), turn to the opposite direction (contragiros), breaks (quebradas) and cuts (cortes).

Argentine Tango should be differentiated from ‘International Tango’ and American Ballroom Tango. Argentine Tango is more sensual and interpretative. The dancers also share a more intimate connection between themselves, the audience, the music and the environment. Furthermore, the music of Argentine Tango is more lively and varied ballroom tango music.

Argentine Tango Dance Styles

There are several Argentine Tango Dance Styles. Here are some of them:

  • Tango Orillero

It is the style of Argentine Tango dance which started in the outskirts and suburbs of Argentina where there were more space available for dancing.  The dance is characterized with rapid foot movements, acrobatics and kicks.

  • Tango Cayengue

Tango Cayengue is a rhythmic derivative of Argentine Tango that dates back to early 1990s. It contains all the fundamental elements of the traditional version of Argentine Tango. In this Argentine Tango style, the dancers stand and share one axis and embrace each other while their legs are slight bent.

The features most commonly mentioned in this dance style are its playfulness and musicality. The rhythm of this dance style is often described as “exciting, incisive and provocative”.

Some of the famous dancers of Tango Cayengue are; El Negro Celso, ROmolo Garcia, Luis Grodona, Rodolfo Cieri, Adrian Griffero, Roxina Villegas, Marta Anton and Ernest Williams.

  • Estilo milonguero

This dance style is named after Susana Miller. It is a close-embrace style of Argentine Tango. It is ideal for romantic occasions such as proms, weddings and the like. It is also suitable for crowded dance floors. The pairs dance chest-to-chest, with their knees relaxed and their backs straight. The partners appear to be leaning toward each other and sway from side to side.

  • Salon Tango

Salon Tango or Tango Salon is not exactly a dance style. Rather it is a dance literally done in salons or dance halls in Buenos Aires. It was popularly danced in the Golden Era of Argentine Tango when dance events were done in large venues coupled with full orchestras.

Unlike the other types of tango, it is characterized by measured and smooth precise moves. The walk is the most vital element of this version as the dancers walk around 60 percent to 70 percent of the time. Unlike the other tango dance styles, the dancers are in a relatively open embrace.

The following are some of the notable Salon Tango dancers. They are namely; Gerardo Portalea, Carlos Estevez, Miguel Balmaceda, Toto Faraldo, Pedro “Tete” Rusconi, Carlitos Perez, Rosa Perez and Ramon “Finito” Rivera.

  • Show Tango

Show Tango, also known as Tango de Escenario, is the form used in the theatre. It is dramatic and sensual as compared to the other styles. Show Tango also features a lot of embellishments and acrobatics. However, it should be noted that this Argentine Tango dance style should not be confused with Tango acrobatico or Tango de Fantasia.

  • Tango Fantasia

This dance style became prevalent in the1940s to 1950s. Tango de Fantasia does not only refer to the actual dance but also to the music and dresses used in this dance style. Aside from the traditional figures, Tango Fantasia has fast footwork and little sits.

  • Tango Traditional

As its name suggests, Tango Traditional features the steps of traditional Argentine Tango. However, the dancers walk to the rhythm rather than dance to the rhythm.

  • Tango Nuevo

Tango Nuevo, also called as Neo Tango, is the ‘Tango of the Youth’. It had such reputation as Tango Nuevo does not follow the strict rules and steps of Tango. The dancers of this dance style improvise and add steps to the traditional steps of Argentine Tango. Aside from that, this dance style has been dubbed as the most accepting of innovations.

Aside from the aforementioned, there are other Argentine Tango dance styles, some of which may be featured and further discussed in the succeeding posts in this website.