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CANYENGUE

The "canyengue" is a term used in the context of Argentine tango to refer to a specific style of dance and music that developed during the Guardia Vieja era of tango, roughly between the last two decades of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th century. The canyengue represents an early and more rustic stage of tango, which was danced in the suburbs and among the lower social classes.


In terms of dance, canyengue is characterized by more relaxed movements, compared to more formal tango styles, but dynamic, with a lot of rhythm and more expressive gestures. There is something that characterizes this style and that is its dance posture, there is a closer contact between the dancers, where the embrace acquires a pyramidal shape: the faces come together and the hips move away and the hand is held close to the waist.


Canyengue is said to have a more defiant and mischievous attitude, reflecting the social and cultural conditions of the era in which it originated.


Musically, canyengue tango pieces were often simpler and had basic instrumentation, reflecting the influence of early tango forms such as milonga and habanera. The tempo is very well marked and there were orchestras such as Francisco Canaro's where we can identify well the "sound" so characteristic of canyengue.

The canyengue effect is the sound obtained by hitting the strings with the bow or with the palm of the hand. For this we must thank the double bass player Leopoldo Thompson, member of Canaro's orchestra, who used to reinforce the rhythm, hitting only the double bass snare and, in other occasions, snare and string (Francisco Canaro was the one who introduced the double bass in the typical orchestra).


This style was transformed over time as tango evolved and became more refined, giving way to the more complex and orchestrated styles of the Guardia Nueva.

It is important to note that the term "canyengue" not only refers to the dance and music, but also encompasses an attitude and way of life characteristic of the era.


Although canyengue is considered an early phase in the evolution of tango, its influence is still evident in some dance styles and in the interpretation of tango today.


Here is a track to listen to "Cahramusca" by the Francisco Canaro Orchestra.



In this slide you can see the evolution and influence of tango styles over time.



In our dance and classes we incorporate movements from the canyengue re-adapting them to today's dance and keeping our embrace.

Here you can see a demo of a class:


Thank you for having arived untill here. You are welcome to share it.



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