It takes two to tango, and maybe all of the UK is ready to find a partner!
With TV dancing shows and musicals taking the country by storm this year, are Brits willing to try a few dance steps for themselves?
The Halloween special for Strictly Come Dancing publicised TV ratings of 9.6 million Saturday viewers and 9.2 million Sunday viewers. It appears most of the nation is tuned to the dance programme this year.
The tango was the dance of the Halloween show. A variety of 'spooky' music was chosen to tango to by the contestants; Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton wowed the audience dressed as a corpse bride, dancing with partner Brendan Cole, to Billy Idol's White Wedding. Is this a sign of a tango wedding to come? Pendleton is set to celebrate her own wedding in a few months. She may be using the TV show as a way to brush up on her dancing skills for the big day.
The tango is a passionate dance which originated from around the mid-19<sup>th century. The birth place of tango is recognised as being an area between Argentina and Uruguay, Rio de la Plata. However, tango did not spread around the world until the early 20<sup>th century. The dance was officially placed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists in 2010.
The tango influence can be seen across the world in films, theatre, and sports including gymnastics and synchronized swimming. The various styles of tango are known be provocative and exciting. Is it this aspect of the dance which holds its audience captive?
This year, the West End welcomed the show Midnight Tango. The success of the show has guaranteed its return to the stage in 2013 for another West End run and a national tour. The promotion of the show, set in Buenos Aires, announces that it: "Brings to life all the drama, sensuality and elegance of the tango. A journey into the heart of this intoxicating city, as danger and excitement, joy and jealousy, pain and passion combine into a spectacular and explosive evening."
The UK is not the only country affected by the need to dance. Argentine tango is being utilised as a diplomatic tool in China. Santiago Rafael Martino worked for the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship in Buenos Aires, teaching tango dance classes. In 2010 Martino realised dance lessons could be used as part of a way to teach Argentine culture while working with governments throughout the world. This idea led to a dance program for all employees at the ministry. Its success resulted in Martino working in Beijing in 2011 for the Argentine embassy, offering lesions to various divisions of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Martino explained: "I first started to learn about the dance community and then last year I started to give small classes, and now I have requests from friends, diplomats, Chinese, tango fans and officials who want to learn tango."
Martino's achievement serves to highlight the importance of learning each other's cultures cannot just be placed on understanding the language of words. Tango is a cultural experience and has a language of its own. The UK seems more than happy to learn this particular language of dance.