OUT to Dance offers group dance classes in West Roxbury
and private lessons in Roslindale. Join us!

About Tango

Ballroom tango is the most foolproof, easy to learn style of tango. This is the style of tango you’ll dance when you’re out dancing at an event where the dj plays a variety of music. This style of tango is learner-friendly, and it’s handy to know, since there are many current pop tunes that are great for dancing ballroom tango. Argentine tango is very different, with irregular tempos and very specific tango music, and requires a sincere investment of months and years to learn to do it well.

Ballroom tango, divided in recent decades into the “International” (English) and “American” styles, has descended from the tango styles that developed when the tango first became popular and went from Argentina to Europe and America. The dance was simplified, adapted to the preferences of dancers, and incorporated into the repertoire used in International Ballroom dance competitions. English Tango was first codified in October 1922, when it was proposed that it should only be danced to modern tunes, ideally at 30 bars per minute (i.e. 120 beats per minute – assuming a 4/4 measure).

Subsequently the English Tango evolved mainly into a style used in competitive dancesport, not in social settings, while the American Tango evolved as an unjudged social dance with an emphasis on leading and following skills. This has led to some principal distinctions in basic technique and style. Nevertheless there are a few competitions held in the American style, and of course mutual borrowing of technique and dance patterns happens all the time.

At OUT to Dance we offer the social ballroom style tango known as “American”, the style most widely danced at social dance events, not the style used in dance competition.

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History of Tango

The dance originated in lower-class districts of Buenos Aires, during the late 19th century. The music derived from the fusion of music from Europe, the South American Milonga, and African rhythms. The word Tango seems to have first been used in connection with the dance in the 1890s. Initially it was just one of many dances, but it soon became popular throughout society, as theatres and street barrel organs spread it from the suburbs to the working-class slums, which were packed with hundreds of thousands of European immigrants.

Tango postcard, c. 1919: In the early years of the twentieth century, dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires travelled to Europe, and the first European tango craze took place in Paris, soon followed by London, Berlin, and other capitals. Towards the end of 1913 it hit New York in the USA, and Finland.

In Argentina, the onset in 1929 of the Great Depression, and restrictions introduced after the overthrow of the Hipólito Yrigoyen government in 1930 caused Tango to decline. Its fortunes were reversed as tango again became widely fashionable and a matter of national pride under the government of Juan Perón. Tango declined again in the 1950s with economic depression and as the military dictatorships banned public gatherings, followed by the popularity of Rock and Roll. The dance lived on in smaller venues until its revival in the 1980s following the opening in Paris of the show Tango Argentino and the Broadway musical Forever Tango.

Music for Dancing

Our Tango playlist on Spotify
The Tango Project- El Choclo; Por Una Cabez; La Cumparsita
Sarah Vaughn and Gotan Project Remix- Whatever Lola Wants
Annie Lennox- Big Sky
Gotan Project- Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre); Vuelvo Al Sur
Quintango- No No No No; A Media Luz
Carlos Sarli- Champagne Tango
Rihanna- Disturbia
Lady Gaga- Electric Chapel
Eurythmics- Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

When joining our Tango and other dance classes, note that our OUT to Dance studio locations, West Roxbury and Roslindale, MA, are within twenty minutes of downtown Boston, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, Brighton, Allston, Brookline, Newton, Chestnut Hill, Dedham, Norwood, Needham, Westwood, Milton and Quincy; and within 25 to 35 minutes of Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, Wellesley, Natick, Waltham, Braintree, Brockton, Stoughton, Canton, Foxboro, Weymouth and surrounding towns. We are also less than an hour from Providence, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.