TANGO: Body language of the basic instict

Homesickness, broken hopes, striving competition, poverty, lack of love… That’s what was lived in Boca, one of the poorest neighborhoods of Argentina, in the years of 1800. When there are thousands of men and very few women, what would happen instead reflecting the basic instict in dance?! Tango was born in such an environment; like a little bit aggressive but a sincere foreplay!

Dance of the poor people came a bit amoral to the upper classes at first… Then, it spreaded all over the world breaking the taboos one by one. Of course, by being tamed like many rebellious things… Once upon a time, this music, which is accepted as the dance of ‘love and passion’ and romanticized in four corners of the world, had been performed for the men waiting in the queues of the brothels lasciviously to spend pleasant time!

Tango, which started to lose its popularity after 1920s; came back to life waking up worldwide in 1980s. The show named ‘Tango Argentino’ which was started to be staged in Paris in 1983 and designed by Claudio Segovia and Hector Orezzoli has an important role in the source of this revival.

Love and passion… When these two words come together, only one thing flashes on the mind, Tango. Although it looks like an extremely cliche topic, it seems like defining Tango, which is the most famous and perhaps the most favorite dance in the world, in different words is a big injustice for the interesting history of this special dance. Noble, graceful, sometimes angry, hot, sometimes deeply compassionate… Tango gives all the emotions about love to one with a very short dance. Therefore, almost everyone uses these words while defining Tango.
It’s not certain where the word Tango was originated. It’s thought that the dance, which was also defined as the ‘immigrant dance’ in the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires in the period it was born, took its name from the ‘tan-go’ sounds of the Africa tamtams or the Latin word ‘tangere’ which means ‘to touch’.

Even though there is no certain information about the origin of its name, it’s clearly known where and how Tango emerged. In the years of 1800, many people from the working class immigrated from France, Italy, Hungary, Spain and Portugal to South America with high hopes. Economic and social difficulties they experienced in this strange continent brought disappointments to the lives of those people. Those disappointments began to form the Tango music being blended with the high hopes for future and the culture coming from the past.

Although it’s considered as the dance of a particular mass, Tango was created by the poor people who was named as the low class in Buenos Aires in that period and couldn’t benefit from the most fundamental rights. This dance was born on the alleys of Boca which was one of the most poor neighborhoods of Argentina in that period. The immigrants who came to these strange lands by their own leaving their matches, children and everyone they knew in the past, in the lands they were born, naturally caused the increase of the population of the men and caused a great difference in the numbers between the genders to happen. This rareness of the female population in Buenos Aires, made the prostitution a developing industry. Therefore, brothels increased and became the entertainment venues of the working class in a short while. As the fewness of women number in those venues caused long lines to occur, small Tango music groups were started to work in order to entertain the men waiting in the queue. In addition to the poor, brothels became the haunt of the middle and upper classes and both cultures knew each other here. Tango, created by poor people on the streets, started to be known by upper class in these venues.
It’s not surprising that some emotions like obstinacy, rebellion, insolence and, as a result of brokenheartedness and dreams broken to pieces, melancholy and pessimism to oftenly take place inside the Tango music, which is emerged between 1865 and 1880, at all. Dance of love had a more rebellious soul back then.

Tango, which was considered as amoral and despised by reason of belonging to culturally deprived and spreading at the brothels, became a popular dance after it had met the upper level. In the first years of 20th century, dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires started to travel to Europe. First Tango madness in Europe started in Paris and London, Berlin and other important cities joined this epidemic. Late in 1913, this dance influenced New York and Finland. When Tango, which was regarded as a type of ‘foreplay’ in Buenos Aires, came here, it turned into ‘Hall Tango’ by undergoing a change in the manner that there would be less body contact.
Tango, which had experienced a sudden and very quick rise, lost its popularity after a while by the reasons of the other dances coming into fashion and the invention of cinema. In the years of 1920, during the Great Depression which affected the entire world and then political crisises, Tango fell into a decline in its motherland, Argentina as well. Although it lived its golden years again in 1950s with the Government of Juan Perón working up Tango into a national value and national honor, military dictatorship in Argentina after Perón government, the prohibition on public to gather together at social venues and the terrorizing ‘rock’n’roll’ madness caused it to fade into oblivion. Maintaining its life at small dance clubs in those periods, Tango came back to life reviving worldwide in 1980s. The show named ‘Tango Argentino’ which was started to be staged in Paris in 1983 and designed by Claudio Segovia and Hector Orezzoli has an important role in the source of this revival. The show which shook the world got the people’s interest in Tango to quicken.

Polyphonic musical development arose with the proclamation of the republic in our country, enabled Tango to be liked and spread nationwide. Composing many Tango songs, Necip Celal, Fehmi Ege and Necdet Koyuturk made great contributions to the development of Tango in Turkey. There are still many Tango groups, courses and orchestras in our country. Tango, which is met with a great interest especially by the people working in big cities, achieved to protect its popularity, which had fluctuated through its history, consistently from its explosion in ’80s until today.
The dance, which was condemned and despised once, has now become a pure entertainment applied in glittering dance halls. With its theme full of myths, romance and nostalgic references, Tango is a touching and extremely passionate dance catching the emotions, hopes and disappointments of the one. Although, its state and the mass it appeals to today is ironic when the environment and the conditions it emerged is considered, it’s certain that Tango is and will be one of the first names coming to mind when it comes to dance.

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