Early tangos were derived from dances popular in rough venues of the working class, and contained more full body contact between partners than was considered polite in more formal dance at the time. In the 1910s versions of the tango became very popular in the United States and parts of Europe; these versions were modified to have less body contact.
All widely known forms of the tango are done by a couple using gliding steps. The basic position is a closed position similar to that of other kinds of ballroom dance. In the Argentine Tango the ball of the foot is placed first, while in the International style "heel leads" (stepping first onto the heel, then the whole foot) are used for forward steps. Ballroom tangos, including American and International, are based mainly on the movement of the feet across the floor, while the Argentine Tango includes various other moves such as the gancho (hooking one's leg around one's partner's leg).
Tango music is traditionally played by an orquesta tipica, which often includes violin, piano, guitar, flute, and especially bandoneon.
The most famous tango musicians of the world include e.g. Astor Piazzolla, Carlos Gardel, Osvaldo Pugliese, Juan de Dios Filiberto, Enrique Santos Discepolo and Anibal Troilo.
The so-called post-Piazzolla generation (1980-) includes musicians as Dino Saluzzi, Eduardo Mederos, Enrique Martin Entenza or Juan Maria Solare. A relevant characteristic of this generation is that they perform tango and different forms of contemporary, experimental music.
Important Orquestas típicas (around 1940-1950): from Rodolfo Biagi, Juan Darienzo, Alfredo De Angelis.