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Avid followers of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ would be surprised to hear that the Tango has been in danger of dying out. But the Tango is just one of the artistic legacies which were guaranteed UNESCO protection at the recent United Nations convention.
The music and dance of the Tango were declared part of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at the UN convention in Abu Dhabi last week, following an application by Argentina and Uruguay, from where the dance originated. Since 2001, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has sought to protect the world’s artistic traditions in the same way as man-made and natural sites of interest.
The international financial crisis and swine flu have taken their toll on the Argentinian economy, with fewer tourists visiting the country. This has led to the forced closure of some tango venues, and so the South American governments have been able to make a case for the tradition’s protection by UNESCO. Other traditions which were added to the list in Abu Dhabi include dances from Japan, Azerbaijan, China and Mexico.