Correct or Incorrect?


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Funny you should ask. I asked my styling coach about this yesterday. Correct or incorrect? Yes. :lol: I'll see what others post, first, spitfire, then I'll tell you what she told me. (She wrote her doctoral dissertation on dance history, so she knows a thing or two. :wink: ) Hint: there's no wrong or right answer, at least, I don't think so.
Spitfire, I'm not sure about other places in the world, but here in Australia it's classified as a street latin dance, the same category reserved for salsa, merengue and rock 'n roll (go figure?).

A bronze street latin medal can be done in any three of the four dances and as your progress you have to show proficiency in all four.


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I'm fairly sure there is no street Latin category in the U.S. So just to add a little confusion, I'll pulled this from the USABDA rulebook:

USABDA Rules and Policies said:
The following dances shall be used for group competitive events of the following classifications, in the order given. Novice, Pre-Championship, and Championship Classifications have no syllabus restrictions. INTERNATIONAL STANDARD:

a) Championship: Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Slow Foxtrot and Quickstep

b) Pre-Championship: Waltz, Tango, Slow Foxtrot and Quickstep

c) Novice: Waltz, Slow Foxtrot and Quickstep

d) Syllabus: One or more dances selected from Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Slow Foxtrot or Quickstep AMERICAN SMOOTH:

a) Championship: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot and Viennese Waltz

b) Pre-Championship: Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot and Viennese Waltz

c) Novice: Waltz, Tango and Foxtrot

d) Syllabus: One or more dances selected from Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot or Viennese Waltz
And, oh yeah, did you mean Argentine tango, MadamSamba, or ballroom tango? Hehe! No simple answers here. *shrug*
Oh, my, Jenn...I actually reeled back in horror when I read "did you mean Argentine tango, MadamSamba, or ballroom tango?" but that's the just the die-hard ATer in me coming out (though you gave me an idea for another thread)! ha ha

Seriously though, I mean Argentine Tango...ballroom tango is indisputably a modern dance and, though I adore it, it's by far a different beast.

I think the Australian dance bodies created the street latin category so those proficient in non-traditional ballroom dances wanting to receive certification in dances like salsa and Argentine tango could.

It's a huge boon and as such we've got four styles here, modern and latin (self explanatory) and new vogue (the Australian sequence dances based on old-time English dances) and street latin (merengue, salsa, rock 'n roll and Argentine tango).

The inclusion of rock 'n roll is odd and makes it kinda hotch-potch, but the creation of the fourth style of street latin gives legitimacy to four dances that are fabulous and, in their own way, every bit as technical or enjoyable as say, the waltz or cha cha.

If they hadn't done that, we'd have the situation that most countries have where such fabulous dances as salsa and rock 'n roll (which can be amazingly complex in their own right) would not be deemed "real dances" and remain on the fringes.


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Ah ha! If I'm not mistaken, a lot of Americans have no idea that the "modern dance" category means standard dances such as waltz and foxtrot. If you say modern dance here, it sometimes conjures up images of Martha Graham and company. *shrug* So much for clear terminology. :?

It would be nice to have at least one more category, in addition to American smooth and rhythm. A lot of ballroom comps end up throwing extra dances like WCS, salsa, etc. into the rhythm category just because they have no idea where else to put them.


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Oh yeah, and I believe you can take a single dance ISTD exam through the USISTD for salsa, at least. I'll have to double check on that, though.


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Nope. I was wrong. No single dance test is available for salsa. What a pity.

Here are the complete ISTD test requirements, FYI. Too much information. I was trying to set goals, and couldn't decide between preparing for the silver student exam or the bronze teacher exam. Little did I know there was another option -- taking the student exam as the other gender. Eeek! Too many options. (Sorry for the digression :oops: )


Well-Known Member
Oh yeah, and the answer to the question is.

Tango, technically speaking, is a dance of Latin American origin, or a "Latin" dance. And it is very different from the smooth/standard dances -- a different hold, no rise and fall, no body flight. But it was exported to the US and Europe in the 1910's, and codified for teaching and competition around the same time as waltz and foxtrot. So it evolved on a track along with waltz and foxtrot, and developed similarities to those two dances, while getting more and more distant from the dance's Argentine origin.

The dances that are called the "Latin" dances weren't codified until much later -- the 1950's. So they evolved totally separately from tango.

Make sense, sorta?
Classification of Tango

Hey Jenn,

I can recommend that you get a hold of Tango! edited by Simon Collier. It's broken into four parts, each by a different author, which has certain advantages in terms of content, and disadvantages in terms of flow.

That details most of the evolution of the Argentine Tango to present day.

You can then fill in the gaps and critically appraise it's worth with material from cybertango's archives, which I think are excellent.

Yes, it's always tough to answer this question.

The dance originated in a Latinv American country, but is ceratinly not similar to dances that we think of as "Latin" (rumba, salsa, mambo, chacha, samba). There is no "Latin motion". The dance moves around the room. There are few (if any) opening out actions (open break, underarm turn). The music is dramatic, but certainly not rhythmic (in the funky sort of way like a Latin dance).

But it IS similar to smooth (or ballroom) dances. It travels around the room. There is often a brushing action with the legs. There is an emphasis on frame (closed position).

I think the above would apply whether we are talking about ballroom tango or Argentine Tango.

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