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Sociality of tango draws students to dance club

October 07, 2010

Latin America enjoys a wide range of dances and music, but few musical traditions are as mythical and alluring as tango – the leg throws, subtle footwork, upheavals in tempo, and lyrics decrying tragic loves are at the heart of this dance.

“There are many myths to the origins of tango,” said Daniela Borgialli, professor who teaches tango in the School of Dance in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. “Some say it originated in Uruguay, others in Argentina. I firmly believe that whenever you have lots of people, they bring what they have and simply create something new…”

While scholars may not agree on the exact birthplace of tango, most people agree the dance originated in the coastal areas of Uruguay and Argentina around the end of the 1890s.

The dance is tied to musical influences from Cuba, France, Uruguay and Africa.

However, few would argue the fact that it was iconic singer Carlos Gardel, who cemented the popularity of tango and its melancholic qualities, beginning with his first recording in 1917 of the song Mi Noche Triste.

At ASU, the dance has found considerable support through the student-led Tango Club and the work of Professor Borgialli.

Borgialli’s class has more than 40 students enrolled at any given time, all from different backgrounds and drawn to the dance for different reasons.

“I do caution people though, especially if they are a couple,” said Borgialli with a smile. “A lot of people decide to join class because they think it might be fun and sexy, only to find out they don’t have dance chemistry … ”

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Professor Borgialli and the ASU Tango Club will be hosting four evenings of free dance instruction for anyone wanting to try their dancing shoes at the ASU Night Gallery at the Tempe Marketplace, October 14, 15, 21 & 22, 6-9 p.m.

For more details, send a message to Daniela Borgialli at