In the midst of the greatest dance evolution in the history of America (1910 - 1914), the Tango made its bid for popularity. It instantly struck the dance-conscious public's fancy for its interesting, asymmetrical and sophisticated figures adding the needed suavity to dancing. There is not a clearly defined country of origin to which the Tango may be credited. It is claimed to have originated not only in Argentina, but also in Brazil, Spain and Mexico. The earliest traces of the Tango date back to the 19th Century..... to the folk dances of Argentina. The "Milonga", thought to have Moorish, Arabic and Spanish ancestry, was at first an ancient Spanish song form adapted to the dance by early country folk of Argentina. Years later, the Argentinean plainsmen, the "Gouchos", danced a modified version of the "Milonga" in the bawdy cafes of Buenos Aires. The youths of Argentina and Cuba changed the name to "Tango", and the style to one that was more acceptable to society. The Cubans danced it to Habanera rhythms which are syncopated, and obscured the basic Milonga rhythm. It was not until after it want to Paris, and was re-introduced to Argentina, that the music was restored to its native style. For the last 50 years, the 4 beat Tango rhythm has endured. The music is now universal, with many types of different styles depending upon the customs of the country. Of all the dances which came into being in the early 20th Century, only the Tango has continued to enjoy undiminished favor, up to this present age.
The Bronze (American) style Tango music is written in 4/4 time (some are written in 2/4 time) and should be played at a tempo of 30 - 33 measures per minute for examinations and competitions. The (International) style Tango music should be played at a tempo of 32 - 33 MPM for examinations and competition.
The Tango is a progressive dance -- moving along the Line of Dance. A staccato movement of the feet and flexed knees highlight the dramatic style of the Tango. The indigenous nature of the Tango invites the dancer to adopt a more flexed knee and a slightly more compact dance position.
* As quoted by the Fred Astaire Dance Studios.