Ballroom Tango was born in the slums of Buenos Aires in the late 19th century. There is uncertainty as to how the dance came about. Argentine gauchos and migrating blacks were socializing in the infamous Bario de las Ranas, trading cultural rhythms and dance steps in and around the areas of well-known brothels. From this melting pot emerged a highly passionate dance, one that the respectable classes of society shunned. Legend has it that the gauchos of Argentina wore chaps that had hardened from the foam and sweat of the horse’s body causing the gauchos to walk with knees flexed.
They would go to the crowded night clubs and ask the local girls to dance. Since the gaucho hadn’t showered, the lady would dance in the crook of the man’s right arm, holding her head back. Her right hand was held low on his left hip, close to his pocket, looking for a payment for dancing with him. The man danced in a curving fashion because the floor was small with round tables, so he danced around and between them.