Tango Queer in Buenos Aires

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Tango Queer in Buenos Aires
Tango Queer, an event in Buenos Aires created in 2005 by Mariana Docampo (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

An article appeared in the LA Times about Tango Queer, a gay tango club in Buenos Aires. The above photo taken from the article depicts men dancing with male partners and women dancing with their inamoratas as well. It’s nice to see gender roles breaking down anywhere and in this club event, couples enjoy the most passionate of dances.

Tango started in the late 19th century, usually in the whorehouses of the great Argentine city. The small tango conjuntos had nowhere else to play; these were immigrants from Germany and Italy at the bottom of the social ladder, dirt poor workers assigned to the docks and other bottom-end blue collar jobs. Recent immigrants usually left their women behind in Europe; in the brothels they would dance with other men. But tango was not a gay dance back then. It did, however, bring the underclass together. The Uruguayan candombé rhythm was African, and it mixed with other European popular idioms and crossed the Rio de la Plata from Montevideo to Buenos Aires (there were more people of African descent in Uruguay). Later, tango went back to Europe as an import and became all the rage. In the 1930s, Carlos Gardel was the most popular man in the world.

Tango had almost died out as a regional art form until Astor Piazzolla reinvented it and made it a concert music enjoyed worldwide. Now we see tango becoming more popular in Buenos Aires because of gay porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) as well as gay tourists. Which is to say that tango is very much alive and well in Buenos Aires.

tango queer
Click to find out more about Tango Queer