The Hidden History of Tango

The history of Tango is fascinating and complex. The evolution of the dance has profound implications for the way we dance today, and Tango music has become one of the great World Music genres.

For the first century of its history, while Tango music struggled for and then achieved respectability, the dance was neglected by historians and academics. The articles on these pages are based on many years of research in areas sometimes not covered by the official histories of Tango. The aim is to get to the heart of the Tango from a dancer's perspective, but not forgetting the rich history of the music.

We will examine the story of the dance, from its earliest stages, through its worldwide success before and after the First World War, the Golden Age from the mid 1930s until the coup in Argentina in 1955, the dark ages of Tango when the dance was pushed underground and persecuted, and the fabulous Tango renaissance which has spread the dance once again all over the world. An overview of the history of the music will examine its evolution and the influences that formed it, putting the great Tango artists in context.

If you have any questions about the history of Tango not covered in these pages, please e-mail us and we will do our best to answer them.


Articles include:

The History of Tango Dance – 150 years of Tango in Buenos Aires
This history of Tango Dance is based on many years of study and research in Buenos Aires. The subject is a huge one, and the memories of great dancers have rarely been recorded.
Tango Dance Styles of the Golden Age
The huge variety of Tango dance styles in Buenos Aires in the 1940s and 1950s represents amazing depth and richness. Here are three different broad styles danced by the great Tango dancers.
The Traditional Way to Learn to Dance Tango
The traditional way in which a young man would learn to dance Tango was surprisingly uniform across the whole of the city by the 1940s, and very possibly some time before that.
The Dark Age of Tango
The coup in 1955 that ousted General Perón had profound consequences for Argentina as a whole, and for the Tango in particular, launching the country into a kind of modern Dark Age.
The Tango Renaissance
The fall of the military junta in Argentina in 1983 began a spectacular Tango Renaissance in Buenos Aires. Friends of mine who were there at that time tell me the atmosphere was extraordinary.
Canyengue, Orillero and Tango de Salon
As people came to Buenos Aires from many different countries looking for the truth about Tango, many of them began to ask, “What are Canyengue, Orillero and Tango de Salon?”
The Birth of Couple Dance
Tango was the first couple dance ever seen in Europe that involved improvisation. It was the arrival and popularity of Tango that really defines the beginning of couple dancing as we understand it.
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The History of Tango Music
The History of Tango Music is fascinating, with many unexpected twists and turns, and filled with fabulous characters. Tango Music is as old as Jazz, and the variety of the music is as wide.
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