Tango history (six stages)

The history of tango can be divided into six stages according to Horacio Ferrer and the Academia nacional del tango. [1]

The Academia nacional del tango was created in 1990 by the Government of Argentina to preserve and organize documents related to all aspects of tango history and to make them available for educational purpose, academic research and new artistic projects.

1. Origins of tango (1850-1895)

2. Guardia vieja (1895-1925)

  • Eclosión (1995-1925)
  • Formalización (1910-1925)

3. Guardia nueva (1925-1955)

  • La transformación (1925-1940)
  • La exaltación (1940-1955)

4. Vanguardia (1955-1970)

5. Contemporaneo (1970-2000)

  • La universalización (1970-1985)
  • La perduración (1985-2000)

6. Actual (2000- until now)

Tango begins to emerge out of a blend of elements of European, African and local origins in the second half of the 19th century. It becomes a clearly distinct genre, acquires many of its defining characteristics and gains popularity during the guardia vieja phase. It continues to refine and evolve to reach its golden age with the guardia nueva in the 1940s and experiences a phase of decline with the advent of rock and roll and the end of the big band area. Tango went on evolving during the vanguardia phase with the work of composers such as Pugliese and Piazzolla, regained worldwide popularity in the contemporary phase and becomes an increasingly popular dance again towards the beginning of the 21st century.

One interesting aspect of Horacio Ferrer’s work is the emphasis he puts on contemporary events and the strong vision he has of the renovation tango is currently undergoing. π


[1] FERRER, Horacio. El Siglo de oro del Tango: compendio ilustrado de su historia. Buenos Aires: Editorial El Mate, 1996.

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