How to Tango

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How to Tango

Sultry, seductive, and sexy, the tango is a very popular ballroom dance all over the world.  Here are some steps and tips you can use if you want to learn how to tango.

Tango Partners

It takes two to tango, and the right position makes all the difference between a perfect tango and a sloppy dance routine.  When doing the tango, you should start with the proper position to start the dance:

  1. Face your partner and stay close.  A great tango can be pulled off if your torsos touch each other.  Keep your body straight, but not rigid; let your bodies move with the music.
  2. If you’re the leader, stretch out your left hand with your elbow bent slightly.  Place your hand on your partner’s lower back.
  3. If you’re the follower, stretch out your right hand to hold the leader’s left hand.  Place your right hand just off his left shoulder.
  4. The partners should then face opposite directions; as they dance, the leader moves forward, while the follower mirrors the movements of the leader and moves backward.

Now you’re ready to do the tango.

Tango Steps

Like many ballroom dances, the tango uses very simple steps to pull off moves with grace and flair.  While professional and expert ballroom dancers use many other moves to pull off tango routines, beginners can start with a few basic moves in tango.

Two-Step Walk

The important thing about tango is that the leader never takes steps backward.  All steps in tango start with the two-step walk:

  1. The leader starts by taking a stride with his left foot, landing heel-first, followed by the ball of the foot.  The follower moves by taking a stride with her right foot, landing toe-first, followed by the heel.
  2. Step forward with your right foot past your left, landing heel-first, followed by the ball of the foot.  Allow your hips to swing during this movement.

The two-step walk is repeated throughout the course of the dance.  Once you have mastered this basic movement, you’re ready to pull off other steps and moves in tango.

Moves and Terms in Tango

As you progress through the basics of tango (either from a dance school or a personal dance instructor), you may get to learn more moves you can use on the dance floor:

  • El paseo, or the stroll, is the basic two-step walk that forms the basis of all the steps used in tango.
  • La caminata, or the walk, is the two-step walk coupled with S-shaped movements.  Many of the steps in la caminata are often performed with slides instead of strides.
  • Circulo, or the circle, is a pivot performed in tango.  There are many types of circulo, including one for complete turns and small turns used to avoid bumping into other dancers on the floor.

Tango Tips

Here are some useful tips that you can use whether you want a good score or the performance of a lifetime:

  • Follow the music. The beat and harmony of the song should be your guide to the whole tango routine.  Learn to anticipate the beats, and coordinate each step of the dance to the melody of the song.
  • Poise and posture. Good posture and perfect poise does wonders for a tango routine.  Instead of dragging yourself along the dance floor, maintain that performance-level dance from beginning to end.
  • Move, don’t chat. Unlike other social dances, tango is meant for spectators.  Once you’re on the dance floor doing the tango, focus on the performance.  Like any dance, let your body move with the music.

Tango is all about grace and elegance in a dance performance.  With these steps and tips, you can pull off the perfect tango routine anytime, all the time.