Guest Author - Karin Norgard
The term Neo Tango encompasses contemporary expressions of Argentine Tango music, particularly through tango fusion and alternative tango. Tango fusion is the fusing of traditional tango rhythms with contemporary music. Especially popular today is electronic tango, which incorporates electronically created sounds. Alternative tango refers to non-tango music that is increasingly being used in the milongas where Argentine tango is danced. While Neo Tango primarily refers to these contemporary trends in the music, it also refers to new trends in the dance community.
Traditional tango music typically includes the orchestras of the Epoca de Oro (Golden Age) – the 1930s through the 1950s. And while this traditional music still dominates much of the Argentine tango community today, new generations of tangueros are increasingly experimenting with electronic music and seeking inspiration from techno, jazz, blues, rock, disco and international music. In addition, dancers are seeking to create contemporary cultural expressions of tango. Newer innovations and experimentation include changes in the embrace and the interchange between leader and follower, the relaxing of the hips, and incorporating turns and elements from other dances, such as salsa, ballroom and swing.
Despite the sometimes radical changes that Neo Tango is introducing, most of its influence on the Argentine tango community as a whole is relatively mild. And the changes are controversial – traditionalists claim that the charm of Argentine tango is in its history and its culture and should be preserved. However, even the tango music and dance of the Golden Age was once new and controversial. Neo Tango enthusiasts say they are seeking ways to make Argentine tango reflect their unique identities and relationships in a modern world, as well as attract a younger audience that might not give Argentine tango a second look otherwise.
Despite the breaks from tradition, the emotion, the passion, and the telling of a story through the music and the dance continue to be the focus of both traditional and modern interpretations of Argentine Tango. To experience it for yourself, start with some Neo Tango music. Today’s most popular Neo Tango includes the music of Gotan Project, Bajofondo Tango Club, Tanghetto and Carlos Libedinsky. Check out the resources listed below, then visit the Neo Tango information site and forum under Related Links for more information.