Many historians agree the word "Tango" originated in Africa.

One of the meanings of "tango" seem to be ‘"celebration" or "gathering of blacks dancing to drum music" . But also some Africans use the word "Tango" to refer to the drum itself.

For the slaves that were brought to Argentina from the Congo, Southern Sudan and the Gulf of Guinea, "tango" meant "closed space" or "a private meeting where permission is needed to enter".

Interestingly enough, "tango" was also the word slave traders used to describe the place where black slaves were kept in America and Africa.

Regardless of its exact origin, in the first days of this dance, this word "tango" referred to "a closed space where people gather to dance".


The first records of Tango as a dance go back to the second half of the 19th century. Many historians agree at first it wasn't really a dance, but mostly an excuse to a physical approach between sex workers and their customers. Both in Argentina and Uruguay, more exactly in Buenos Aires and Montevideo.

As years passed, the first tango musicians started developing this style. Little by little. And with this, the first people interested in the dance itself started to actually dance for fun. It's important to remember at that time, Tango was considered something that belong to low classes, dirty, etc. So it was not well seen that women actually dance it. This resulted in men having to practice among themselves in order to improve.

With the advance in society, women started to be allowed to dance Tango socially. Logically, this was the real of Tango as a social dance. But dancing Tango for women was only allowed, not well seen.

At about that time, Tango arrived to the high society of Paris and it was received with great success. Very soon the "important" and famous people of Paris were also trying to dance Tango.

This fact was of great help for Tango, because now the high society of Buenos Aires would approved its local dance.

From there, Tango exploded with a number of orchestras and singers that fill up some important cafes of Buenos Aires and Montevideo.



So... Tango, as a western social dance, originated in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. It received the approval of the high society of Paris and Europe in general and this allowed it to really grow and expand in its birth lands.

This makes Tango a truly international cultural expression that grew up mostly in Buenos Aires. In this big capital city, you can now enjoy every day of the week all art forms of Tango all day long.

In Buenos Aires you can actually feel the Tango culture: many taxi drivers listening to Tango music all day. Music that's transmitted through Tango stations. Thematic Tango bars, restaurants, etc.

Either if you're a bit curious or you're already a Tango fan, visiting Buenos Aires will surely be on the nice experiences of your life.

Locals are used to tourists all year long. The Tango community is a very international one. As a consequence, you'll find yourself very comfortable once you get inside of it.


Tango Dance History