Tango Styles

Canyengue is probably the oldest style of Argentine Tango. It was present by 1930. Some characteristics of this style are:

  • Closed posture and slight “V” position
  • Bended knees
  • “Cross” is not used
  • Short steps following “staccato” rhythm (typical for old school musicians such as Francisco Lomuto, Roberto Firpo, Francisco Canaro)
  • Female dancers wear long and tight dresses

Orillero is one of the older styles as well. It originates on the streets of low income neighborhoods. This style was not accepted in Tango saloons of the time. Due to the complex steps, Orillero was performed in closed and barely open posture. It was not performed in the line of dance. Music of Juan D`Arienz and Rodolfo Biagio was ideal for this style.

Milonguero style is characterized by ‘apilado’ posture. In this posture, upper body is in constant contact, balance is shared, posture does not change no matter ‘ocho’ or ‘giro’ posture is performed. One of many orchestras that play music suitable for Milonguero is Carlos Di Sarlia’s orchestra. Typical Milonguero’s figure is `ocho cortado`.

Salon or Tango Salon is characterized by:

  • Barely open posture
  • Partners are centered on the right side of the partner
  • Posture is more open when performing turns to enable more space, as well as pivots that require free upper body
  • It is usually performed in “on the strongest of the four beats” fashion which is typical for Di Sarlio
  • It is performed in the line of dance (ronda)

Nuevo Tango characterizes:

  • Open and elastic posture
  • All dancers have their own balance
  • Interesting changes of directions when making turns
  • New solutions for ‘ocho’

Fantasia (Show Tango) is a scene Tango. It is performed in the open posture with strong movements, and very often includes elements of other dances or Tango styles.

Few words about styles:
Also, there are some specific tango styles born in barrios of Buenos Aires, which are well known between Buenos Aires milongueros and always subject of polemic and discussion. Some examples of these very particular tango styles are: the Urquiza tango style, the Almagro tango style, the Naveira tango style, and the Todaro tango style. These styles are normally named after a neighborhood (like the Villa Urquiza tango style), a club or a teacher (like the Naveira and the Todaro tango styles).

Every style is unique and as such finds its place in the history of Argentine Tango. Nowadays, every of the styles can be performed in closed posture especially milonguero style. Exception to this rule is Show Tango, which can be performed in the open posture. Another characteristics of modern Argentine Tango is improvisation which pretty much applies to all styles.

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