Tango Nuevo

This post is a copy of a 2020 post on the LA Tango Academy website, discussing the evolution of tango since the early 1990s, by way of a video clip of an interview with Mariano “Chicho” Frúmboli, one of the most important innovators of modern Tango, as well as clips of tango dancing by Chicho and his partner Juana Sepulveda, and clips of tango dancing by their fellow innovators.


Prior to the 1990s, Argentine Tango was taught with a didactic method; teaching tango by having students copy examples shown by the instructor. Emphasis was not given to how or why movement was done a certain way. Starting in the 1990s in Buenos Aires, the Tango Investigation Group (later transformed into the Cosmotango organization) founded by Gustavo Naveira and Fabian Salas applied the principles of dance kinesiology from modern dance to analyze the physics of movement in Argentine tango. Taking what they learned from this analysis they then began to explore all the possibilities of movement within the framework of Argentine Tango. From the work of these founders of the Tango Nuevo movement, there was a shift in all styles of tango away from teaching what to dance toward teaching how to dance.

A conversation with one of the most important innovators of modern Tango, Mariano “Chicho” Frúmboli.

Though widely referred to as a tango style outside of Argentina, Tango Nuevo is not considered a style of dancing tango by the founders of the movement. It refers only to the method of analysis and teaching developed through the application of the principles of dance kinesiology to Argentine Tango. In 2009, Gustavo Naveira published an essay titled New Tango in which he states,

“There is great confusion on the question of the way of dancing the tango: call it technique, form, or style. The term tango nuevo is used to refer to a style of dancing, which is an error. In reality, Tango Nuevo is everything that has happened with the tango since the 1980s. It is not a question of a style… The words Tango Nuevo are neither a specific term nor a title (except in the case of a musical work by Piazzola). With this in mind, these words directly express, through their literal meaning, what is happening with tango dancing in general; namely that it is evolving. Tango Nuevo is not one more style; it is simply that tango dancing is growing, improving, developing, enriching itself, and in that sense we are moving toward a new dimension in tango dancing… There has been much recent discussion, in the community of tango dancers, on the problem of the embrace, dividing the dance into open or closed style, which is also a matter of great confusion. Open embrace or closed embrace, dancing with space or dancing close, these are all outmoded terms. This is an old way of thinking, resulting from the lack of technical knowledge in past eras. This simple and clumsy division between open and closed is often used by those who try to deny the evolution of the dance, to disguise their own lack of knowledge. Today it is perfectly clear that the distances in the dance have a much greater complexity than a simple open or closed… We have learned, and we have developed our knowledge. The result of this is a dance of greater possibilities, and also of a much more artistic quality.”

Considered by many as the most famous Tango Nuevo pioneers are Gustavo Naveira, Norberto “El Pulpo” Esbres, Fabian Salas, Sebastian Salas, Sebastian Arce, Mariana Montes, Mariano ‘Chicho’ Frumboli and Pablo Veron. All of these dancers have highly individual styles that cannot be confused with each other, yet are all a part of the same movement that have shaped the way we dance tango today.

Sebastian Arce and Mariana Montes dancing to Pugliese’s version of Pata Ancha.

Gustavo Naveira and Giselle Anne performing a vals to Viejo Porton by Rodolfo Biagi.

Chicho and Juana dancing to EGB by Fervor De Buenos Aires, Rie Payaso by D’Arienzo,
La Mariposa by Pugliese, Corazon Al Zur by Cristian Zarate Sexteto, and El Tangon by Canaro.


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