Many say that the Gold Age (Época de Oro) for tango was around 1938 to 1948. It wasn't! We are NOW in the Golden Age of Tango--but for listeners, not dancers.
Around 1938 to 1948 was the golden age for tango dancers. Dance halls were full. A few things happened after 1948 that changed this, but the difference that you can hear today is that after 1948 the musicians slowly began playing for listeners more than dancers (or perhaps more for themselves?). Post-war Argentina had many changes, but simply stated, the the focus on the dancer shifted slowly to the tango listener. The dancer was no longer "royalty."
Today we have a golden age for listeners. Jazz today is even better for listeners than tango listeners because Jazz musicians and listeners buy the best quality of recordings, but tango listeners less so. The average tango listener has become so complacent with MP3's and bootlegged music, that the best quality is getting harder to buy. How can producers make any money if there are few customers? Such is the consequence of stinginess. (Below is a link to begin changing that for those who care about good quality reproductions.)
On the other hand, there is a difference, a positive difference, that we do have over jazz listeners, however. When was the last time you heard of people going out to dance to jazz? Dancers from the Golden Era of jazz consist of some great improvisational dancers, but my guess is that the opportunities to dance tango far outweigh finding a place to go dance to Golden Age jazz.
So, wow! We are living in the Gold Era of Listeners for many kinds of music. But do you know what? I don't want merely to listen to tango. It makes me want to dance. If I wanted to sit on my derrière and listen to music, then I will listen to music that deeply moves me but does not move me to dance.
Don't get me wrong. I can put on Beethoven and catch little phrases as if my dance was choreographed as I "tango-ize" even Beethoven when no one is looking. All music can bring me to my feet. But tango? Watch out.
The only reason for the past "Gold Ages" of tango, of reggae, of salsa/mambo or of jazz is that it was their golden age for dancing. For the listener, jazz, salsa, reggae and tango's best moment is NOW. But they all have had their Golden Era of the Dancer come and go. Lástima.
The good news:
But for dancers we can be transported to both the golden age for listening and dancing. A few live musicians can do it, but mostly this double Golden Age of Tango is when a DJ puts on the music that not only inspires the listening ears but transfers the feeling that tells our bodies that we must dance. Does your DJ do this? If not, he or she is probably just extremely selfish, possibly merely ignorant, and if anything is most probably a DJ who likes listening to music more than dancing. In all cases, the DJ who does not have the Golden Age of whatever you dance as the center of their repertoire, that DJ simply has forgotten the dancer like so many musicians have done in the past.
2014 is your year. Dance and listen.
Start buying good tango music! Don Xello, a DJ in Zurich shares this:
"The Tango Digital Archive project http://www.tangovia.org may be supported by buying tunes via http://www.tangotunes.com. High quality transfers from shellacs and vinyls from Di Sarli, Troilo, D'Arienzo and a lot of others."