A Little About Tango…

Tango Outside

History & FAQs

Where is Tango From?
Tango emerged during the 1890s in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was originally a social dance that blended choreography and music from many different cultures such as European waltz and polka, the Habanera from Cuba, the African candombe, and a Argentine country dance called Milonga. The original instrumentation used in tango groups was flute, guitar, and violin. It wasn’t until the 1920s-1950s that tango was played in tango orchestras. The Argentine tango orchestra, usually 3 violins, 3 bandoneóns (an accordion-like instrument that gives tango its typical sound), piano, and bass is the typical ensemble used in recorded DJ music for tango dances.
What Style of Tango is Taught in the Grand Rapids Tango Community?
There are many different approaches to tango dancing and they are all valid. What really matters is that the approach a dancer uses is appropriate for the environment. For example, dancers move differently if they are performing on a stage, dancing in a wide open practice space, or dancing on a crowded milonga floor. In Grand Rapids we focus our lessons and milongas on social dancing, especially in a close embrace with 2-3 step sequences that are based on improvisation. The goal of GR Tango teachers is to maximize social energy through building good navigation skills, comfortable embraces, and musical dancing.
What are some of the formalities in tango?
At tango dances, called milongas, dancers generally dance 3-4 dances with one partner. This is called a tanda or round of dances. In between the dances is a cortina, or curtain, that serves as a musical cue for the partners to switch.
What type of shoes should I wear?
Shoes with leather or suede soles are needed in tango because you must be able to pivot freely without sticking to the floor which could hurt your knee or ankle. Other than that, the more comfortable the shoes, the better.
Do I need a partner?
No. Argentine social tango thrives on social interaction. Not only will frequent partner switching help make you a better dancer, it will facilitate good social energy.
My significant other doesn’t dance, should I still come?
Of course! Remember, that you don’t need to bring a partner to dance Argentine tango, and since the first tango rule is, “if you can walk you can tango,” then you might be able to convince your supposedly-non-dancing partner to get up and try it anyway.