Cayengue Tango

By Isidro Aguirre.

Cayengue is the most old fashioned Tango style and it’s very popular.  It’s identified as playful, characterised by quick and cunning movements, aswell as unheard of flourishes.

Some researchers point out that the word is of African origin, specifically kimbundu (one of the Bantu family’s languages), and that it emerged as a combination of the words candombe and yongo, drifting in canyongo and later canyengue.  The black people from Buenos Aires pronounced the word caniengue, and since 1900, white people have written and pronounced the word cangenque (pronouncing the “y” as it is done in Buenos Aires).

In slang, canguengue means, “in a broken manner” and con cortes de bailar el Tango.

Its choreographic style is characterised by improvisation and by the use of cortes, stops, quebradas,which is why this tango dance is considered informal. 

Because of its cheerful nature, it resembles the Milonga, and yet in this style the movements are much more thorough.  The dancers dance very close to each other, intertwined in an inverted V:  the woman’s chest are pressed next to the man’s side, hands are stretched beneath at the pelvis’ hight, legs are folded in a exaggerated way.  

It’s a dashed dance of close encounter which demands the constant search of physical balance and the perpetual change of the hands’ position. 

Regarding the positions in which hands are held, these can be described in three ways: -the first one- on the man’s hips, -the next one- with the woman’s fingers on the man’s palm, and, -the last one- the man’s hand with his thumb inside his pants’ pocket while the woman holds his wrist.

Most movements consist on step games completely connected to the music, rhythmic combinations of shifts and stops in a permanent physical dialogue which lead to the constant challenges as well as intense and provocative responses.

Generally speaking, because women usually dance wearing long black dresses, steps are short and strongly accentuated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *