We have previously stated that we don’t really believe in different styles of Tango and that there is only one Tango that has personal styles or is danced somewhat differently due to space, location (barrio), or era. After our time in Buenos Aires, we discovered that this holds true… almost. We did observe and hear some definitions for the various styles and here is what we learned (but is by no means the absolute truth on this topic):
Milonguero Style (or “Centro” Style)
Is seen mostly in the downtown milongas where there is less space to dance. The embrace stays closed, the steps are smaller, and the musicality is slightly more literal and “choppy” (however, it is in no way S.O.S. Tango Musicality).
Villa Urquiza Style (or “Barrio” Style)
This is the most marketed style – especially by those who have no concept of what it represents. It is about quality – in posture, movement, and musicality. Specifically, there is a focus on the connection of the steps to the music. For this reason, it is said to be “elegant”. This style is more easily danced when there is more space in the milongas because it can use a more flexible embrace (at time interchanging between closed and open). The men tend to use enrosques during giros and dance more elaborate steps. It is these elaborate steps which provide “space” for the more complex expression of music often seen in this style.
A “milonguero” may dance any one of these styles and does not necessarily dance “Milonguero Style” Tango.
What “style” do we dance? We don’t claim to dance any “style” of Tango. However, here’s our answer: When we danced in a Buenos Aires milonga that didn’t provide much space, our Tango was more of a Milonguero Style (we were even told a couple times that our dancing was “muy milonguero”). When we had and have more space, our dancing is more typical of the “Barrio” style. Although we may have learned some Villa Urquiza Style Tango and our dance may have some flavourings of it, we would not claim to dance it at all.
For those who continuously want to claim that Nuevo Tango is a style of Argentine Tango, we can only say that we never once heard a teacher of Argentine Tango put Nuevo in a list of styles.