ango can be debated, and we have debates over it, but it still encloses, as does all that which is truthful, a secret.”
Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine writer and poet, 1899-1986.
The word ‘tango’ originates from…
Well, the thing is, no one knows for sure. It’s one of life’s little mysteries! There are of course theories….
In this theory, the word tango would originate from the word ‘tangir’ and would mean ‘I play instruments’.
In parts of America and in one of the many Canary Islands ‘tango’ meant ‘gathering of blacks dancing to drum music’. ‘Tango’ was also the name Africans gave to the drum itself.
For slaves brought to Argentina from the Congo, the Gulf of Guinea and Southern Sudan, ‘tango’ meant ‘closed space’ or ‘a private space where permission is needed to enter’. It was also the word slave traders used to describe the place where black slaves were kept in Africa, as well as in America.
Regardless of its exact origin, in the early days of the dance, the word ‘tango’ most likely communicated ‘a closed space where people gather to dance’.
Connecting with the dance
To really connect with the dance, it’s a good idea to know a little about tango history. This explains a lot of why it is danced the way is. It is of course continually evolving, with new styles of tango developing to suit every taste.
In order to really understand what is is that you’re supposed to do with your body, it helps to be familiar with the dance terminology. It might sound like a different language. That’s probably because it is. Spanish to be exact.