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Argentina I.L.E.E. Spanish Language School

Only school in where all teachers hold Masters degrees



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teaching Spanish as a foreign language in Buenos Aires

TANGO in buenos aires


Tango in Buenos Aires



Learn to tango or improve your technique in intensive classes:
Leading to an effective  learning and personalized approach.
A preestablished programe takes into account  the  particular characteristics of each person.

Add 5 tango classes a week (90 minutes each) to your Spanish program. Many times outings to real "milongas"  are organized..
Just choose your Spanish Program ( A, B or C) and add extra U$D110 per week.
Classes with some of the best tango teachers in town.
Learn to tango or improve your technique in intensive classes:
Leading to an effective  learning and personalized approach.
A preestablished programe takes into account  the particular characteristics of each person.


The word tango refers to both a musical style and the dance performed to it . While in modern Argentina tango is associated mostly with a type of music, the rest of the world sees tango as a dramatic, indeed sexy, dance.
Both music and dance were born in the brothels of Buenos Aires just before the beginning of this century. Shunned by respectable society, the tango was considered to be extremely vulgar. Shortly after the end of World War I, the tango was transported to France, where Parisian high society embraced it.
As the Parisians took to  tango, they modified it into a more refined
 and sophisticated dance. The Francofied version of tango soon became popular throughout the world. At the same time the lyrics of the tango became central in Argentina. These lyrics, almost always in a melancholy vein, speak of lost love, missed opportunities and shattered lives.
The most famous tango singer and composer was Carlos Gardel (pictured at right); his work began "the Golden Age of Tango," which lasted until the 1950s. In the 1980s due to the enormous success and influence of the stage show "Tango Argentino", interest in tango as dance has been rekindled around the world.


Buenos Aires generates tango, thanks to Buenos Aires scenery. Tango recreates Buenos Aires every day. Buenos Aires with its strange identity, difficult to understand and deny: "the Buenos Aires people identity", a mixture and derivation of tango. Probably, tango had been a hideous fertilization, something in between pampa and city, criollos* and inmigrants.

Such a mixture gave rise to a dance, a piece of music, a way to move around in the world. The so called Tango was born in Buenos Aires, in the Piver Plate.

A human scenery: the Buenos Aires people, the Riverplates, the Argentines. A piece of music, a dance, a poetry, a way of living. A place, a city scenery that lulls to sleep and finds them. Buenos Aires and the Tango.


The Origins of The Tango

Both the music and the dance have indirect influences from the African candombe, the Cuban Havanera, the Andalusian tango, the chotis and the cuplé, added to regional music and popular lyrics.


Is has been attempted to reconstruct the history of the tango but it turns out impossible to determine a date of birth due to the fact that there is no written and/or proven information about it. There has also been a speculation that Cuba  was the country where the tango was danced for the first time.

Nevertheless, most experts coincide that Buenos Aires, during the decade of 1880 marked the starting point of the music and the dance. In those years there was a proliferation of brothels in Buenos Aires, mostly sustained by immigrant women from Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Poland, whose clientele were also immigrants that had left their families and wives in search of new opportunities.

Initially, the tango was played in brothels with a violin, a flute and a guitar, and if a guitar was not available, it was replaced with a comb turned into a wind instrument alongside a cigarette paper and a expert blower that marked the rhythm. The mythical instrument, the bandoneon, was not a part of the tango until a couple of decades later,  around 1900 approximately, and little by little it started to replace the flute.

As time went by, tango shows at brothels became monotonous and in an effort to avoid the publics boredom, the brothels' management hired trios or different musicians' groups, who inspired the public to start dancing. Unexpectedly, these shows became so successful that they started to be more frequent. It is said that this is how tango was originated. Afterwards, the first tango ballroom dances were organized at tango academies, for men only.

The first tango composer is considered to have been a man called Juan Perez, author of the song "Dame la lata ", sometime around 1880; though it is not discarded that other authors and other songs have existed. It is likely that the first tangos were "Dame la lata ", "El Tero" and "Andáte a la Recoleta ".

The tango grew in the suburbs and followed its way to the streets. Some time later it spread to the city and arrived at places like the Café Tarana, known as the Café Hansen, El Kiosquito, La Glorieta, La Red and El Velódromo. It was at that time when women were added to the dance and gave it its final touch.

Piano solos started to get popular, occasionally accompanied by a flute, a violin and a guitar. In 1904, Casimiro Ain appeared at the Opera Theater as a dancer of tango joined by his wife and since that moment dancers like Ricardo Güiraldes, Florencio Parravincini and Jorge Newbery rose.

Tango Lyrics

The first tangos lacked lyrics but in some cases the musicians improvised them in the spare of the moment. The first written lyrics described the brothels environment and were vulgar, obscene, and showed lack of education. Some of the titles were "Dos sin sacarla", "Qué polvo con tanto viento", "Con qué tropieza que no dentra" and "Siete pulgadas", among others.

 On the other hand, in some parts of Buenos Aires, poetry began to spread in the lyrics of tango. Thugs were introduced and described as "compadritos" (arrogant, womanizer, drinker and aggressive men who always carried a knife).


Pascual Contursi was considered the most important lyricist of the tango and  introduced, in 1920, the lyrics with argument and narrative, being  "Mi noche triste" his most successful tango lyrics. Nowadays, there are very few instrumental tangos.

Tango Environment

The tango is said to have been born in Buenos Aires, on the shores of the Riachuelo; in brothels and in impoverished neighborhood squats of southern Buenos Aires. The social class in which it developed was a mixture of regional people and immigrants made up by sailors, craftsmen and working class people.


They were mostly lonely men who had left their families at their natal countries and frequented clubs or dance ballrooms for fun. Many tango lyrics are inspired in these groups of men who became the "guapos", "malevos" and "compadritos". Some meeting places of these characters were the Café Sabatino, the Almacén de la Milonga and the Viejo Bailetín del Palomar. This portion of society felt identified with the tango lyrics because they talked about the "hard or bad life".

The First Tango Bands

The first tango bands were the Trios, which included a flute, violin and  guitar players and performed in brothels around 1870. Towards the end of 1890 the bandoneon was added to the lineup, sometimes replacing the flute. However, it appears to be that bands changed constantly and they were formed by whoever showed up on the day of the show. 

At the beginning of 1900 many quartets and quintets were formed, but this fact didn't stop the duos from staying on board. Through the years, small bands gathered up and formed the "Orquesta Típica" (Typical Orchestra) that became very successful among tango fans.  

The most representative artist in the history of the Tango was Carlos Gardel, whose charisma and talent managed to conquer the lovers of this music.

The Dance

One of the characteristics that better define the Tango is its choreography. The dance is one of the most important expressions of the tango and the visual beauty illustrates the spirit of the music.
A foot moves in every musical note, meaning that if a foot moves in one note, in the following note the other one should, too; similar to walking.


The famous "firulete" refers to the steps that dance-couple make as a skill display to seduce and beautify the dance, and it is the detail that transforms the tango into a showy spectacle. The tango has wide range of choreographic options, making it intriguing and of singular visual beauty. It is important to differentiate the choreographic dance from the improvised one. In the first one, the dancers skills offer a specific rehearsed show, while the improvised dance is unexpected and does not come out as a result of rehearsals but shows creativity and expertise.


The tango cannot be danced individually; the woman seduces and the man leads. He protects and supports her, while she elaborates and outlines the dance breaking balance and resting on his chest.

In the 1990's the tango music and dance had huge internationally success and many new artists surfaced in Buenos Aires, while the passion has grown without borders.


 The "Tango Day" is celebrated in Buenos Aires on December 11th


For further information on classes, museums, radio, festivals, etc. visit the Official Tango Portal of the City of Buenos Aires at


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