c. French Tango in the Jazz Age

ImageI won't go into a lot of detail on the Parisian version of the Tango, but will let the videos tell the story.

The Tango, given the huge number of Tangos published in France in the 1930s, was clearly a very popular dance. It was in Paris in the years before the First World War that the Tango made its transition from a low-brow and distinctly Argentine dance to a fashionable dance for everyone. It was the Parisian Tango that spread throughout the world in the nineteen-teens and eventually found its way back to Argentina in a form that was acceptable to the more respectable elements of society.

However, if this 1930s film depiction of the French dancing to a Tango is any indication, the everyday Tango of the ordinary Parisian dancer was very similar in style and substance to the mainstream Tango of most of the rest of the world (More about the Jazz Age Tango). One sees none of the distinctive and very theatrical moves seen in modern ballroom Tango, but just simple walking, rocking and turning steps.

Certainly on a crowded floor (and most floors were crowded) there is no room for broad and theatrical moves or heels flying about in a manner likely to connect with people's shins.

The second video, from the Pathe collection, is an instructional short film which, while English in origin, shows the French Tango.

How to dance the French Tango