2007, October 25 – published “THE MEANING OF TANGO”

Book – one critic said of this book, “The Meaning of Tango is presented with an appealing combination of humility and authority and is logical, open-minded and clear throughout”.…using elegance and cohesiveness, the book traces the roots of tango, from its birth in poverty-stricken Buenos Aires, the craze of the early 20th century, right up until it’s revival today…it has a valuable section which explains the technique using simple illustrations…perhaps no other book ever written about tango does it better


Christine Denniston (born December 31, 1963, Capricorn) was a graduate in theoretical physics from Cambridge University in the UK, when one day, she happened upon a couple dancing tango on the street and was so smitten that she began a passionate and years long odyssey into understanding and learning to dance tango…she has taught tango all over the world and has appeared as an expert on radio and television programs….Christine says, “when tango is done properly, it reaches a level that no other social dance reaches, it is the purest essence where two people can reach a kind of shared Zen state…the man’s job is to please the woman and the woman’s job is to allow herself to be pleased.


  1. Congratulations and compliments to Christine Denniston, on the third anniversary of her seminal work, “The meaning of Tango”. Of my 40 or so books on tango this one is perhaps the most important and one of my equal-favourites, alongside “Dao of Tango”, by J.Siegmann; “Tango Zen”, by Chan Park and “A Passion for Tango” by David Turner.

    I value Denniston’s work particularly as she had so much one-to-one knowledge with the dancers of The Golden Age, the Gavitos and Castellos who made tango what it is. In particular she presents a splendid disambiguation that is invaluable to all who think they “know” what “real” tango is. Here are some of my favourite extracts )paraphrased a little):-

    “…in practice the choreographic ideas used in [tango nuevo] have been in existence since the Golden Age, and perhaps earlier”
    (Page 205. “The Meaning of Tango: The Story of the Argentinian Dance”. Christine Denniston. Portico Books. London. 2007)

    “[the contemporary] ‘Estilo Milonguero’ style took inspiration from the style of tango danced in some parts of … Buenos Aires in the 1950’s. The name of [this] style implies not just that this was one of the ways in which tango was danced in the Golden Age, but that it was the only way, reinforcing the unfounded prejudice that complex figures were a distortion of tango, with no place on the social dance floor.”
    (Page 200. “The Meaning of Tango: The Story of the Argentinian Dance”. Christine Denniston. Portico Books. London. 2007)

    ” ‘Tango de Salón’ refers not to a particular style of tango but actually to the change in the nature of tango [from] the dos-por-cuatro music and dance that [was] enjoyed [up to the 1920’s, when] it began the journey into the salón. A change…in the music led to a change in the way the dance was done. There were many, many different choreographic styles. Confusingly, dancers of different styles tended to concentrate on [the] differences…and, when talking to young dancers of the 1980’s [when tango was re-born, these same Golden Age dancers identified] their own style as ‘Tango de Salon’… [and young dancers took it that they mean that this excluded all other styles]. This led young dancers to define ‘Salon’ as a style rather than a technique that binds ALL tango dancers together [and] in turn, led to the use of other terms, such as…’Nuevo’, [and ‘Stilo Milonguero’] to separate styles that were all considered, by those who created and danced them in the Golden Age, to be ‘Tango de Salon’.”

    P.S. Great website : well done “Today In Tango”!

    • Addenda and corrigenda to the above comment, which I left earlier.

      I omitted to leave the source for the last extract, above. It is from page 203 of “The Meaning of Tango: The Story of the Argentinian Dance”. Christine Denniston. Portico Books. London. 2007.

      Also, apologies for the odd typographical error in my introductory paragraphs, in the above comment. My eyes are not what they were (or are, in a milonga).

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