Recently, a 99-year-old Scottish man proved to the world he can still tango, stunning crowds at the World Championship. It just goes to show how timeless this UNESCO listed dance is. From its seductive roots to its resonance in pop culture, tango has proved time and time again that it is a dance for the ages.
Cut to Seb and I nervously walking into the dance studio for our first queer tango lesson. We’d managed to find time in the middle of sightseeing around Buenos Aires, dead excited to learn queer Tango and honour the Latin culture. Well, what we expected to be an easy-going afternoon, filled with laughter and cheer, turned out to be exhausting! But it certainly was the most romantic, sensual and intimate dance we’ve ever experienced in our 10 years together. With the tango, you have to give passion. You have to tell a story. It’s emotional. Powerful. And it certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted…
The Origins of Gay Tango
Initially, in the 1880s, tango was originally danced between 2 men in the back alleys of Buenos Aires. This is because there was a shortage of women at the time amongst the immigrant population. Therefore, the only way for men to get with a woman was either via prostitution or to impress her with some sultry dance moves. Therefore, the men practised with each other!
Sadly, since the late 1800s, same-sex tango dancing got lost in Buenos Aires… until the 2000s, when queer tango milongas (tango clubs) started to pop up, offering classes for the LGBTQ community.