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How was Tango danced at the height of Tangomania?
The worldwide Tangomania at the beginning of the Twentieth Century was so massive as to be almost unimaginable.

There are records of Tango being danced in Paris as early as 1907, but the passion for Tango shook the elite of Paris in 1912, and until the outbreak of the First World War the Tango was a powerful cultural force, catalysing changes in fashion and in the mechanisms of social interaction, and influencing powerfully the birth of Modern Ballroom dancing.

What was this Tango, that played such a pivotal role in world culture, like? By the time the Tango Revival began in Buenos Aires in the 1980s, there were no dancers left who had been adults in 1912, when Tangomania began.

Certainly, the music was significantly different from the music of the Golden Age, and while many of the great tango melodies were written at this time, the rhythm - the cornerstone of the dance - had a different swing.

Outside Argentina, as Tangomania swept people up, the dance was talked about and discussed in print by a wide range of people, from self-proclaimed experts, to people proud of never having even seen the shocking dance, and a variety of sources exist, giving tantalising glimpses of the dance.

Many of these sources are obviously fanciful, and others are clearly influenced by a variety of other dances and techniques. But as there is practically no record in Argentina of how the Tango was danced at this time, the few reliable European sources are the best guide to the authentic Tango in this early, Canyengue period.

Wading through the original material to find the occasional specks of gold that illuminate the real nature of Tango in Argentina at that time is a massive job - made much harder not just by the difficulty of locating these documents, rarely stored in any but the most complete and exclusive academic libraries, but also by the problem of trying to work out what someone really means by the description they give of a step.

Christine Denniston has spent many years studying Tango in great detail, always going back to the most authentic sources. For her research in the styles of the Golden Age she worked with a wide variety of dancers who danced in the milongas of Buenos Aries at that time. For her research into the first great age of Tango, she hunted down and examined a wide variety of original sources.

Many of these sources are obviously fanciful, and others are clearly influenced by a variety of other dances and techniques. But as there is practically no record in Argentina of how the Tango was danced at this time, the few reliable European sources are the best guide to the authentic Tango in this early, Canyengue period.

Christine says, "The Tango that was danced in Paris, London and New York in 1913 and 1914 had its origins in Buenos Aires and the authentic early Tango style. The massive popularity of the dance meant that there were many teachers, and some them had learned the Tango in Buenos Aires and danced it as it was danced there. Sorting through the fanciful inventions of other teachers and the additions from other dances, it is possible to get a feel for the core of the real dance - a central body of steps that probably came directly from Buenos Aires.

"Amongst the various sources I found, one stood out. That was Secrets of the Tango, attributed to Samuel Beach Chester, but with figures supplied by a young Argentine dancing professionally in London under the stage name Juan Barrasa. The steps Sr. Barrasa presents seem to me to cover the core movements of the Tango at that time, including the corte, so often mentioned in descriptions of the dance at this time."

The job of trying to work out exactly what each author means by a description of a step is a difficult and time consuming one. Christine has undertaken that work, and has presented Juan Barrasa's steps in a really clear and useful format, with simple animations that clarify exactly where the feet go.

We are delighted to be able to make Christine's analysis of Tango at the height of Tangomania available to anyone interested in the true history of this fascinating dance, as Secrets of the Tango - 1914 by Christine Denniston.

And as the music is so vital to understanding the dance, and since the music of that great period of the Tango is not quite the same as the music most Tango dancers are familiar with, Christine has carefully selected a fine recording from the period to include with Secrets of the Tango - 1914 as part of the electronic book, so that you can try the steps straight away with the music with which they fit so perfectly and charmingly!

Secrets of the Tango - 1914 by Christine Denniston is available on CD ROM or to download. Order the download now and in minutes you could be learning the secrets of the dance that shook the world.

Read more about Tango History


Secrets of the Tango - 1914 DOWNLOAD

Secrets of the Tango - 1914
How Tango was Danced at the Height of Tangomania
to download (Windows PC only)

Your download instructions will be e-mailed to you automatically as soon as your order has been processed. The e-mail will have the subject "Order Number" followed by your order number.

The file size is approximately 1 Mb. On a typical dial up modem the download will usually take about 5 minutes. If you don't already have it, you may also need to download ebookPro Viewer. This download is free. At 1.5 Mb, it should take less than 10 minutes to download on a 56k modem. All the instructions will be in the e-mail you receive as soon as your order has been processed.

Price:  £7.99



The Meaning of Tango
The story of the dance, and a fascinating insight into the meaning of Tango in its birthplace, Buenos Aires
Click here to learn more
Secrets of the Early Tango
How was Tango really danced at the time when the whole world went Tango Crazy?
Click here to learn more


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