Ared rose between the teeth of an Argentine tango dancer is one of the most, if not the most iconic image associated with tango. Part 2 of our article (Part 1 here).

Was it tango or maybe flamenco?

 In the 1959 Hollywood comedy Some Like it Hot, the main stars are seen dancing an “Argentine tango” number – debateable! The scene features a red rose between teeth as well as castanets – featured in flamenco; not tango. It seems that Hollywood film makers merged flamenco into their representation of tango.

Whether this was deliberate or not, nobody knows – it’s probably a mistake. What is certain though is that it’s had a lasting impact on how we picture tango even to this day…

Time to review your Greek classics

So we’ve uncovered a bit about how this stereotype caught on. Now; where does having a rose between teeth actually originate from?


The most probable explanation we’ve found is that: “the ancient Greeks and Romans identified the rose with their goddesses of love” – Aphrodite and Venus. Red roses today is seen as a symbol of passion, from a red rose on a date, to rose petals spread across a bed, etc.

Most see Tango as an incredibly passionate dance, so incorporating the red rose doesn’t seem so farfetched, logically.

We haven’t found anybody who knows the definite reasoning behind the red rose in the mouth stereotype, these are simply possible theories we’ve come across. If you know the answer or have a different theory, do let us know! We’d love to hear about your own theory.

See you soon on the dancefloor!

Nathalie and Emma

If you are looking for Tango Dresses that would go well with his red rose, have a look at our online tango clothing store! 🙂