The Tango made its first appearance during the greatest period of the dance evolution in American history (1910-1914). It was an instant hit with the public for its intriguing, asymmetrical, and sophisticated patterns which added a touch of romance. The Tango has no clear, definite origin. It may have originated in Argentina, Brazil, Spain, or Mexico. It clearly descended from an early Spanish folk dance called the Milonga. It bears traces of Moorish and Arabic ancestry as well. The Tango first came to be known as such, early in the 20th century in Argentina. It was danced under various names throughout all of Latin America.
Years later, Argentine plainsmen or “gauchos” danced a modified version of the Milonga less than socially acceptable cafes in Buenos Aires. Argentine and Cuban youth later changed the name and style to Tango which made the dance more acceptable to society. The Cubans danced it to habanera rhythms which were syncopated. These rhythms obscured the basic Milonga rhythm. It was not until after the dance style caught on in Paris and was re-introduced to Argentina that the music was restored to its native style.
For over 60 years, the four beat Tango rhythm has endured. It has continued to enjoy popularity everywhere as the music is universal with many types of sub-styles. Of all the dances which came into being in the early 20th century, only the Tango has continued to enjoy this much popularity.
The Tango is a dance where the staccato movement of the feet and flexed knees highlight the dances dramatic style. The Tango is one of the most highly stylized ballroom dances. It is dramatic with measured crossing steps and poised pauses. It is possible that the main reason for its widespread popularity is that it is danced close to the partner.