An old photo on the wall of a club showing a more formal exhibition style Tango.
This club was called Salon Canning. A British Men's Club from the last century, it represents a warm and comfortable place to spend the evening. Around Buenos Aires from the center of town out and around all the suburbs are 100's of clubs, large and small, all offering Tango classes daily and open 6 nights a week.
This is Lourdes, a friend who I paid to be my dance partner during lessons. She is a Taxi Dancer with clearly defined lines of employment.Both Men and Woman hire themselves as partners since many foreigners like myself do not feel comfortable asking someone I don't know to dance mostly because I'm uncomfortable with my skill level. Everyone says,"We all were there and the only thing you can do is Dance. You'll never learn to dance by watching".
In the early 1900's, Argentine musicians, dancers and orchestras travelled to Europe where the craze ignited a widespread following among the upper class. Tango was introduced into the U.S. about 1914. Tango was new, raw, exciting and sensual. All of these elements continued to create a fast boom of excitement and caused military dictatorships to ban or severely limit the dance since it was a 'public gathering'. Throughout the 30's ,40's and 50's the love, hate relationship between governments and public dances such as Tango continued a see-saw, up and down popularity. By the 50's Juan Peron of Argentina supported Tango and once again a resurgence of interest swept the country.
There are lots of forms of Tango. Many people have seen what might be called Exhibition Tango. Almost acrobatic with twirls, lifts and deep splits marks this form. It is not common but represents a form among certain sectors of dances, many with classical ballet backgrounds. Other forms might be defined by either a loose embrace with lots of room between partners or a close embrace where the upper body of leader,follow is glued together yet from stomach down it is far apart. There is Tango Waltz, Tango Electronico, New Tango and other styles, old or new, that provide a form for new interpretations to be introduced.
In the following photos taken in a couple of different clubs, I noticed a number of people I had seen in other clubs over a three week period. We're talking mid week at 1 or 2 AM. These clean shaven men in their 30's, 40's,50's and beyond come to dance as do the woman, some married, some not. Couples or singles, it doesn't matter.