Tango is an incredibly passionate and intimate dance considered a true art. And now, it has been officially recognized by the UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Tango is one of the most passionate dances one can imagine and is considered a true art – an expression of emotion and vigor. Both Argentina and Uruguay have been disputing for some time over the right to call tango their own cultural heritage as it is unclear where the dance itself first appeared.
Nevertheless, both countries teamed up recently for the sake of a much higher goal – to add tango on the list of UNESCO intangible heritage. The list of cultural heritage sites grows longer each year; however, as many point out, cultural heritage is not limited to “material manifestations”. There are traditions and oral expressions passed on from generation to generation for centuries which deserve to be safeguarded and supported.
For that reason, UNESCO established a list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003 and set up a fund for all additions to the list. Tango is now luckily one of them and both Argentina and Uruguay will have a unique chance to help protect and develop this vibrant dance.
Its history dates back to the late 19th century; the dance originated in the lower class districts of Buenos Aires and Montevideo in the Rio de la Plata Basin. Carlos Gardel, who lived in Argentina though was born in Uruguay, became the king of tango, or rather the voice of it – he still remains one of the most prominent figures in the history of tango.
Other examples that UNESCO featured on the list of intangible heritage are Croatian lace making, the Ainu dance of Japan, Chinese block printing, and dragonboat racing. It is great news for all of us that UNESCO is fighting to preserve all representations of cultural heritage; after all, traditions are worth keeping.
The full intangible heritage list is here.