Argentina may be the nation that gave tango to the world but the dance has been at risk of a quiet future in its homeland.
The threat has come not due to any decline in interest among Argentines, because – by contrast – the popularity of dancing the tango is now at its highest level in the country since its so-called golden age in the 1940s and 1950s.
Instead, the problem has been caused by a growing shortage of the musical instrument that provides the key soundtrack to any serious tango performance – the bandoneon, a large type of concertina.
Despite being an essential part of the tango scene, the bandoneon was never made in Argentina. Instead it is a German instrument that was brought to the country in the 19th Century by European immigrants.
As production of bandoneons came to an end in Germany after World War Two due to limited domestic demand, the instrument quickly became a collectors’ item in Argentina.
As a result, few vintage bandoneons ever come up for sale, and those that do cost more than 40,000 pesos ($4,700; £3,000) – unaffordable for most Argentines.
Thankfully, efforts are now continuing to solve the shortage by producing the first ever Argentine-made bandoneon, and at a much cheaper price.
‘The Stradivarius of bandoneons’
The instrument is being developed by staff and students at the department of industrial design at the National University of Lanus in Buenos Aires.