Tiger-Tango – source: http://yourshotblog.nationalgeographic.com

Tango and acceptance

Tango, apart from being an endlessly unique, stimulating, exciting and creative dance also teaches us acceptance. We are willing to spend 10-12 minutes dancing with a stranger. It probably doesn’t surprise anyone that sometimes tolerance towards and acceptance of the other rapidly decline once you start talking with them, especially when the topic is tango styles. We even get into pointless arguments. In this article, I’ll share others’ – sometimes funny, stubborn, bigot – opinions about tango-styles.

A short introduction of the tango-styles

Gustavo Naveira - Giselle Anne

Gustavo Naveira – Giselle Anne

If you are familiar with the above mentioned three styles, feel free to skip this section.

If you think about it, most people can actually be recognized only by the way they walk.  The way people dance describes them the same way.  After just a few steps with them, we can see, feel and recognize the way they dance on music, how they use space, the angle closed with the partner, the steps and figures they use, etc… These together help to determine the style of a tanguero.

I personally don’t agree to categorizing people by ‘styles’, I prefer to say that everyone dances their unique and distinctive way! 

Categorizing people based on their ‘style’, I think is a subjective matter, and subtle differences result in blurring borders – we can’t just stick a label on dancers. Yet it is important and useful to know what defines each style, especially if we want to understand conversations such as the ones to follow. So here is a brief summary on the selected three styles (selected, as there are many more!)

  • milonguero – the word milonguero used to have a negative connotation – it was used for lazy people, womanizers (who happened to dance tango). Nowadays milonguero also denotes a style, in which the use of rhythm is preferred over melody. Smaller, simpler steps, a quite limited use of figures, stronger embrace and a stronger leaning towards the partner are typical for this style
  • tango de salón – lots of walking, simple figures, elongated steps. A few complex figures, punctuality, precision; partners have their own, separate axis, using less that of the other. Emphasis on the use of the melody and the importance of harmony between partners. Extremely elegant when done well.
  • tango nuevo – richer, wider collection of steps often combined with extreme techniques; a lot more permissive, therefore more difficult than the others. Professional dancers started exploring (and creating) the territory of tango nuevo, hence the techniques used both in the dance and its teaching are more clearly defined, better organized.

Further information on Wikipedia (although it isn’t perfectly reliable but serves as a good starting point).

(( The following part of the article is not my ideas and is written by an unknown author. It was translated to Hungarian, then back to English. Please help me to find him/her because I want to congratulate him/her and read his/her other posts!  ))

Warning! The following accounts could disturb your calm (especially in a positive way)!

Styles – Opinions – In the eyes of others

– What does a milonguero say…
– What does a tango-de-salon follower say…
– What does a nuevo-fanatic say…

… about the milonguero-way
…about tango de salon
…about the nuevo style



animal-tango What does a milonguero say…
… about the milonguero-way:
“The only style, the real tango, the one that has been danced for ever on the milongas of Buenos Aires. All other styles are superficial shadows, mere imitations! Estilo milonguero is second-to-none in the experience, intensity and quality of connection…Ahh…!”

What does a tango-de-salon follower say…
… about the miloguero-way:
“It’s for the masses… No doubt, estilo milonguero could be useful in really tiny spaces… but it has no elegance, in fact, it is chaotic… people tip-toeing around in crowded dancefloors with their microscopic steps, sacrificing the expressive powers of the embrace… These people must lack connection with others in their daily lives to dance tango only for finding such intimacy…”

What does a nuevo-fanatic say…
… about the milonguero-way:
“It’s for the oldies… Clinging onto their partners with this sticky embrace is their way of compensating for the poor connection… The music… the only music they are willing to dance to is from the stone-age! Nothing to move them from after the 30’s! And anyway what about this obsession with Buenos Aires? Tango has to keep up with the changing times!”



elegant-animal-tangoWhat does a milonguero say…
… about tango de salon:
“Elegant? Perhaps, but I still can’t get my head around why these people don’t touch each other? There’s no proper connection! Are they afraid of intimacy? Every single step could be executed with a full-body contact, in close embrace! What is it exactly that these people do? They glide along the floor with their elongated steps to overly dramatic music such as Pugliese that no-one ever plays in Buenos Aires anyway…”

What does a salon-tango-obsessed say…
… about tango de salon:
“Tango had never been more elegant, more sophisticated, more stylish than in the 40’s. THE perfect, most expressive style of all! It is second-to-none in the experience, intensity and quality of connection…Ahh…!”

What does a nuevo-fanatic say…
…about tango de salon:
“It might be the ancestor of Nuevo, but these people got stuck in an era of tuxedo and cigar-smoke cloudy dim romanticism and lost their dynamics. We know everything salon-dancers do – and much more – and yes, we got rid of those tuxedos! By the way, could someone please tell them that there’s a much wider range of music apart from that of the 40’s!”


*** NUEVO ***

animal-tangoWhat does a milonguero say…
…about tango nuevo:
“Uncontrollable stormers who have no respect to other dancers on the floor! Their style is completely useless and unsafe for social dancing, not to mention their complete ignorance of traditional norms and etiquett of the dance floor! Moreover they are only willing to move to music no sane DJ would ever play in Buenos Aires, like Piazzola! Horrible!!!”

What does a salon-tango follower say…
…about tango nuevo:
“Nuevo-dancers are trying to create the image of being innovative and cool. The “Tango Lesson” movie just made the situation worse! Perhaps their secret fantasy is to one day become stage-dancers? Too much, it is really too much!”

What does a nuevo-fanatic say…
…about tango nuevo:
“The prime of tango-development, the king of all styles. Tango would cease to exist without constantly changing and adapting to new needs – and the direction of change shows us that tango is much more than a mere ‘social dance’.  It is second-to-none in the experience, intensity and quality of connection…Ahh…!”

Do you have a different view? Share it with us in our facebook group!