What are the different tango styles?


Unlike dances with formal international congresses and officiating bodies, tango is a happy chaos of meanings and pleasures. You’ll hear people refer to Argentine Tango styles like “salon tango”, “nuevo tango”, “milonguero style”, “Villa Urquiza style” and on and on. But on real dance floors all over the world, if you watch carefully  you’ll be hard pressed to categorize a dancer or a teacher, and there’s no need to categorize yourself.

The crudest cut on all this is to treat close embrace as a “style” (I’ve heard it called both “milonguero” and “salon”) and open embrace as another (I’ve heard it called “nuevo tango”, “stage tango”, and “salon”).

But any attempt to draw strong boundaries around a “style” quickly collapses with historical or social contradictions. See this beautiful interview with Pablo Veron.

Notes on terms sometimes used to describe Argentine Tango styles

  • A milonguero is a person who goes to milongas a lot.
  • A salon is a place where milongas are held and people dance tango socially (as opposed to dancing tango choreographies on a stage).
  • My tango embrace shifts constantly from open to close to accommodate a range of bodies, movements and moods.
  • Style is something personal that you get to construct through your experiences and desires of tango and milongas. It includes what you wear, how you socialize, which music moves you the most, how you move, the tilt of your head, the click of your heels, your choice to smile or not, your ribbons and sparkles…

For a different perspective on this topic, see my post about my experiences of styles as a follower. I’ve also written about the highly controversial non-existence of Nuevo Tango.


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Power is the courage, confidence, and competence to make things happen. I want to create in a way that’s incomparable and define my own compensation package. You too?

Syntax of Power is a raw, potent, and spare revelation of how I got to where I am and how I take on the struggle every day.

This book is not about tango, it’s about everything else.

It’s about stepping into the darkness of change, learning how to take care of yourself, and making things happen.

Dyv stands for Duro y Vio. We were inspired by a 2007 conference at Harvard University about tango as a transnational culture. Also we wanted to create something that would help people to imagine a queerer tango. We forbid ourselves to use the word ‘passion’ and instead tried to articulate the experience more precisely.

Argentine Tango is more than an elaborate and difficult dance, it is an international culture of intimacy, desire, and dignity. No mere romance or memoir, the intricately woven stories evoke tango’s true mysteries … the elation, the frustration, the compulsion…

We published the book in 2009. Dancers asked “how did you know what I was feeling?”

Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

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