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"The tango always awaits you"

My recent video about the resurgence of tango in Buenos Aires is only the latest chapter in a very long story.  

The tango's birth was a slow one. It drew from the myriad cultures that helped shape Argentina — those from western to eastern Europe, from northern to southern Africa, which mixed in Spain and, later, in the New World around the turn of the 20th century. Tango is both dance and music — an archetypally Argentine art form."In Argentina everything may change — except the tango," goes an old saying. But like any form of culture, the tango has had its ups and downs, and has undergone its evolutions.

The tango went into hiding in the middle of the century under successive military dictatorships in Argentina. It was rejuvenated in the 1980s and 1990s, largely on the basis of its newfound popularity in foreign films and dance revues.

Thus arose the “Nuevo Tango.” The music of Nuevo Tango forerunners, such as Astor Piazzola, included elements of jazz and classical music. Some, such as Osvaldo Pugliese, even introduced rock and heavy metal sensibilities.

The dance would eventually incorporate movements that traditionally belonged to other Latin American dance forms. Inevitably, this sort of innovation was controversial — and many still refuse to countenance Nuevo Tango's very existence, much less whether it merits the tango name.

Despite the debate about the tango's recent reinvention, many agree that a real renaissance is  now taking place. In the past decade, many young people have rediscovered the traditional tango and made it their own. Which brings to mind another Argentine aphorism: "The tango always awaits you."