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TANGO ON BROADWAY

Beginning in the 60's and until the 80's, tango began a decline in its popularity. The youth of the Rio Plata region no longer danced tango. It's resident generation preferred Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones. However, Tango was still a part of its daily life, always there in the cafes, in the background, but it was no longer part of a lifestyle and a way of socializing for many - until 1985. In 1985, Tango Argentino, the Argentine Tango music and dance production, had an extremely successful Broadway and off-Broadway run. Sexteto Mayor played several Tangos by Piazzolla and most of the music was played in a style clearly influenced by him.

As Tango Argentino traveled the world, it left people awestruck by the dance and determined to learn it. The cast members themselves offered instruction. This was the birth of many social tango dance scenes throughout Europe and North America. Tango enthusiasts in North America began teaching themselves to dance from any available videos of tango dance performances. As others joined in, they looked to those few available local tango enthusiasts for guidance. Teaching their peers whatever they knew became the obvious solution to being able to dance tango socially in their own communities. The result was that many communities learned an exhibition-style Tango which lacked the complex logic of social tango and an observance of the essential "line of dance". The dance videos they learned from were of performers on stage featuring large movements and dramatic lines designed to be seen by audiences in the back of a theatre, or steps that were done in a manner to keep performers in the centre of a stage, rather than follow a "line of dance" direction around a salon. Of course we still all enjoyed our tango.

The success of Tango Argentino had its influence not only abroad. In Buenos Aires a resurgence of interest in the Tango scene was felt. More and more young Tango dancers were emerging, studying the dance from veteran dancers rather than learning it in the neighborhoods. Through their academic study and approach to the dance, they began to pollish the technique, thus changing the way the world saw tango. As an increasing number of these dancers continued to emerge, a trend of tango tourism to Buenos Aires budded. After a generation of Argentines that traded Tango for Rock, Tango in Argentina was popular again.   
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