What Is The Tango? - Strictly All You Need to Know

What Is The Tango? - Strictly All You Need to Know

The Tango is a passionate and fiery ballroom dance style that leaves audiences feeling hot under the collar as ballroom dancers battle for power on the dance floor. It is a popular ballroom dancing style that is incredibly intricate and demands a powerful performance not only in the body and legs but in the dancer's face. 

Strictly Come Dancing celebrities who have already taken on the challenge of the Tango this 2018 season are Kate Silverton and partner Aljaz Skorjanec, scoring a total of 27 points in week two and showcasing that the BBC Presenter and Journalist certainly has fire and passion beneath her cool exterior.

What is the Tango?

A ballroom dancing style that originated in the 18th Century in the lower-class districts of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. It was practised in the brothels and bars of ports to entertain patrons as well as being a favourite dance of European immigrants, former slaves and working and lower classes. Taking influences from African, Native American and European culture, the music is derived from the fusion of various forms of music from Europe and soon became popular throughout society.


Although the exact origin of the word ‘tango’ cannot be located entirely, the words 'tango’ and ‘tambo’ started being used to name dancing and musical gatherings of slaves in River Plata. The terms gained popularity and quickly became a key identifier for the music and dance style of the Tango. 

What is the difference between the Tango and Argentine Tango?

The main difference between the Tango and Argentine Tango is that the Argentine Tango is more of a love dance and about seduction, whereas the Tango is a battle for power.


The style of the Argentine tango demands quick flicks of the legs which stem back to ladies of the night who would flick their legs at men's pockets to see if they had money. The dance has a more feline feel to it and is performed in a close embrace with the dancer's chests being closer to each other than the hips. The Argentine Tango relies heavily on improvisation and demands clear communication between partners.


The Tango, on the other hand, is more of a battle for power, with ballroom dancers striving to make a strong and powerful connection with the movement. The Tango features a walk with a stalking nature and dramatic gestures. Movements go from slow and slithery to abrupt quick foot flicks, turns, head snaps and powerful arm and hand gestures. Performed in 4/4 time the close embrace of the ballroom Tango involves close contact in the pelvis or upper thighs, but not the upper body. Followers are instructed to thrust their hips forward, but pull their upper body away, turning their head away from their partner.

What do ballroom dancers wear when performing the Tango?

In 1913 the first official tango dresses known as the ‘Tango Visite’ were made and started to break the mould of Victorian fashion. The light and colourful appearance featured a loose and transparent bodice and skirt that was shortened to the mid-calf. Fast forward to today's culture and what we see on Strictly Come Dancing and the Tango style is still very similar, with shorter skirts and vibrant colours. 


The Tango is a sensual and passionate dance that is reflected in the woman’s clothes and can be customised to suit the dancer. Always remaining elegant, the Tango attire has adapted to current times and you can see ballroom dancers wearing very short dresses and skirts.


Male ballroom dancers clothes aren’t quite as vibrant as the women’s dresses but as seen in ‘Strictly’ they complement their partners dress usually by wearing an elegant shirt and smart trousers that match the colour of the woman’s dress. 

What do professional ballroom dancers say about the Tango and what will the judges be looking for from the celebrities? 

With a vibrant roster of high-end ballroom dancers, we spoke with our incredibly talented ballroom dancer Katie who has toured with Strictly Come Dancing stars Kevin Clifton and Karen Clifton, as well as dancing on the Strictly Come Dancing show. 


When asked what the judges will be looking for from the celebrities dancing the Tango and what it was like to dance on Strictly Come Dancing, Katie said:


“The judges will be looking for lots of drama in the face, strong top line and correct hold. They’ll also be looking for a lot of heel toe lead and pivots with intricate footwork. Dancing on Strictly Come Dancing was an amazing experience and to watch people from all walks of life enjoying dance, it’s just so lovely to see.”

What is the Tango? Hire Ballroom Dancers for your Event and Find Out!

Full of elegance and sensuality, this Tango Dance Couple has an intense chemistry on stage, dancing each number with a passionate and breathtaking interpretation completed with an exceptional technique full of intricate and amazing movement. Award-winning ballroom dancers ensure that you never have to ask ‘what is the Tango?’ When they perform in front of you and your guests. 


What Is The Tango? - Strictly All You Need to Know

Argentine Tango Dancers

An incredibly seductive and passionate ballroom dancing performance, our Argentine Tango Dancers captivate all audiences with their unforgettable performances, slick choreography and electrifying chemistry. 


What Is The Tango? - Strictly All You Need to Know

Tango Ballet Dance Company

Do something different with this sensual dance company who fuse the passion and fire of the Tango with the elegance of ballet. Offering duos, trios and group numbers our Tango Ballet Dance Company wow audiences as they perform intricate footwork and choreography whilst keeping all the fire and elegance of the Tango.


Find The Perfect Accompaniment for your Tango Dancers

Tango music can be all instrumental or can feature a vocalist. Due to its passionate nature, Tango music plays a huge part in the overall impact of the performance and is traditionally played on a solo guitar, guitar duo, or an ensemble, known as the ‘orquesta típica’. 

Argentine Duo - Experience the Sounds of Buenos Aires

Formed of a talented harmonica player and guitarist, our Argentine Duo perform live music from Tangos to the waltz, milongas and popular Argentine songs. Hailing from Buenos Aires, the home of the Tango, this instrumental duo excites audiences with their emotive instrumental performances. 

Tango Saxophonist  - A New and Innovative Fusion

With over 20 years of experience developing his original compositions in his own style that fuses tango and jazz gestures, this Tango Saxophonist creates a musical fusion that awakens the future of Buenos Aires and the sound of the Tango.

What is the Tango? - All You Need To Know

A ballroom dancing style that is packed full of passion, seduction, fire and power, the Tango is a highly entertaining dance that is rich in history and emotion. With various different forms the Tango is a hard dance to master, but when done right - it is truly breathtaking to watch.


One thing is for sure, when you watch the Tango you certainly won’t be asking ‘what is the Tango?’ Due to its distinctive style, sound and appearance.

Explore More Ballroom Event Dancers

With a whole host of ballroom dancers from across the globe to choose from, head over to our Dancers section and click Ballroom Act to discover and book high-end ballroom dancing acts, perfect for Strictly Come Dancing inspired soirees.

Get In Touch With Global The Entertainment Experts

If you’re still asking the question ‘what is the Tango?’ Then get in touch with our team of highly experienced Entertainment Specialists who are more than happy to help you with all your questions and queries and will find you the perfect ballroom dance act for your event.

__By Charlotte Russell

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