Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 13:22 UK

Tango gets UN cultural approval

Flavia Cacace and Craig Kelly
Strictly's Flavia Cacace is a former Tango champion

The Tango has been declared part of the world's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation aims to preserve a list of legacies under threat from global change.

Argentina and Uruguay, where the dance originated, jointly submitted it.

UNESCO said heritages seeking approval, transmit from "generation to generation" and give "communities and groups a feeling of identity".

It added that the dance "embodies and encourages diversity and cultural dialogue."

Argentinian official Hernan Lombardi said he was "very proud that the music and dance of the Tango have now been safeguarded for humanity.

Artistic traditions

The UN convention, which began on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, will discuss other nominations suggested from different countries.

Belgium has put forward its Procession of the Holy Blood in Bruges and China has nominated several of its artistic traditions, including the Tibetan opera.

In August, it was revealed that the international financial crisis and the outbreak of swine flu had affected the Argentinian economy, with a particular emphasis on tourism.

The number of tourists who have travelled to the country has decreased and some Tango shows have been forced to close temporarily, according to Luis Veiga, president of Argentina's chamber of Tango venues.

UNESCO declared in 2001 that living traditions - from dance and music to rituals and handicrafts - deserve the same protection as natural and cultural treasures like the Great Wall of China or the Great Barrier Reef.

Approved traditions are added to a document, grandly titled The Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Steps are then taken by UNESCO and others to protect and promote their use and understanding.

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