Where it all started

The history of the Tango

Tango is one of the most famous and influential styles of dance the world has known, born from the cultural and musical mix of native South Americans (Argentina and Uruguay), African slaves and European traders and immigrants.

In 1789 the Argentinian government banned ‘Tango musical gatherings’ for fear of lower class uprisings.

In fact they were only dancing and it was an eclectic mix of Mazurka, Milonga, Habanera and Candome. Tango became the name of the dance and the music and was prominent in brothels and bars along the River Plate where the introduction of the German bandoneon (accordion) by sailors to the music was integral to its development.

In the early 1900’s bands ventured to Europe and the Tango craze hit London, Paris and Berlin. Some bands played faster Tango music and some very slow, thus supporting the split between English ballroom style and Argentine Tango.

The Argentinian President Juan Peron was instrumental in making the dance popular and acceptable, changing it from its distasteful and flirty roots. In the 1950’s it was not unusual to see men dancing it together.

The origin of the word ‘Tango’ is unclear but some suggest that it could have been the word ‘Shango’ from the Nigerian language meaning ‘God of Thunder’ or the Portuguese ‘Tanger’ meaning to play a musical instrument.

Put your best feet forward & learn to dance

Dance with the starts

Our easy to follow videos are created by dancing professionals, ready to get you moving.

Dance when you're ready

Our videos are designed to work around you and your life. Learn at the speed that suits you and your lifestyle.

Created with you in mind

Learn in the privacy and comfort of your own home – putting you at ease and at a time to suit you.

Perfect for friends and family

Learn to dance with friends, family or loved one with our simple step by step videos

Dancing is transformative and the Cliftons certainly know how to transform two left feet. It’s true when they say, the more you learn to dance the more you want to dance and the more you can.

- Louise Redknapp

Sign up today and start dancing

It's all in the style

There are many different styles but International ballroom Tango is danced in a ballroom hold, with subtle differences, almost an embrace, with contact in the hip and thigh area, as opposed to the Argentine Tango which has a mainly open hold.

It is danced with a solid core, a rigid hold and without rise and fall allowing movement and shapes to be fast, staccato and dramatic.

There is mutual acknowledgement of steps and figures from all Tango styles but sharp movements of the feet and body are concurrent. Stillness and speed feature strongly.

That perfect beat

Formerly a Latin American dance, it was reclassified a ballroom dance to equalise the number of Ballroom and Latin dances in competitions.

Tango is danced at 30 bars per minute in 4/4 rhythm and danced socially is a fascinating and enchanting alternative to the other free flowing ballroom dances. Its character and music makes it fun to dance.

See our online music collection