The tale begins in the early thirteenth century in China when a great Mongolian warrior, Genghis Khan, spotted an unusual dance style while being entertained in his tent by local dancers and musicians. One of Khan’s officers had become so drunk that he joined all of the female dancers and began dancing with his own drunken and improvised choreography. The handsome young officer not only impressed the ladies, but the great warrior Khan was so entertained that he encouraged the officer to give up his military career and dedicate his life to dancing.
The mysterious man behind these impressive moves was named Go Tan. When Go was not busy waging war, he began regularly performing his dance to the rhythmic beating of gongs, while Khan enthusiastically chanted, “Go for it, Go!” People loved watching Go Tan dance, and began calling his dancing style the “Gong Show”, or the “Whiskey-A-Go-Go”.
As his improvised dance continued to gain popularity, it seemed more appropriate to name the dance after the hotshot himself. So, using the Chinese custom to mention the family name first, Go Tan was addressed as Tan-Go, and sure enough people began calling his famous drunken choreography “Tango”.
Tango hit its peak as a popular dance style from 1216 to 1294, the time in which Genghis Khan's grandson, Kublai Khan, became Emperor. Under Kublai's rule, art and science flourished and cultural relations were established with countries throughout the world. During this time, the renowned Italian, Marco Polo, had come to visit Peking (now Beijing), China.
The adventure continues as one of Tan-Go’s descendents, Chow Gow, meets up with Marco Polo to accompany him on his travels back to Italy. Chow Gow settled in Venice, while becoming the most popular Ballroom Dancer and teacher in all of Europe, alongside his Italian Wife, Lucia.
Many merchants of Venice took their lessons, and among the many was one of Italy’s greatest artists from the Early Italian Renaissance Period - the man with two left feet, who not only learned the Tango, but accidentally stumbled over Juliet’s feet, to get beat up by the beautiful woman’s lover, Romeo – all in the midst, hope and passion of learning the erotic style of dance.
Generations passed and one of Chow Gow's descendants, Fernando Gowcho, emigrated to Argentina with many other Italians. Upon his arrival to Argentina, his need for extra money forced him to sell street sausages for awhile. The sausages were called Mi Longaniza, and were abbreviated to MiLonga - the name which he later applied to his faster version of the Tango.
Fernando Gowcho gave birth to five tanguero sons who continued to expose the world to their wonderful style of dance. One of the sons, named Gancho, popularized the tango even further by adding a unique style to the dance; one which demonstrated his irrestible urge to wrap his legs around his partner's legs.
Musicians and singers, like Carlos Gardel, quickly became inspired by the incredible tanguero's and by 1930, Rudolph Valentino, Hollywood's movie Idol, helped the Tango receive worldwide popularity.
The Tango seems to have taken on quite an exciting history. DanceScaper's, it's your turn to be the judge - is this the true story behind the Origin of Tango? Share your opinion in our Global Dance Forums - click here...