Tango, also referred to as the "Dance of Love", is a passionate and dramatic dance. It's a dialogue between partners, an expressive form of communication through movements.
Tango originated in the 19th century outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since then it has grown into one of the most popular dances in the world.
It's somewhat different from other dances, especially traditional ballroom, but next in popularity behind waltz and foxtrot. Dissimilar to those two, it has no rise & fall, no swaying. It's known for quick, sharp movements and a catlike walking action.
Today, there are many styles of tango. You can dance the tango argentino, the ballroom tango, the finnish tango, the uruguayan tango, tango nuevo, vintage tango, and the chinese tango, among other styles. Although many different interpretations have appeared, the two main styles are the ballroom style and the Argentine style. The main difference between the two is that the second one has more sharp, staccato movements and the characteristic head snaps which are totally foreign for the dances coming from Argentine.
Tango is danced all around the world by people of all sizes and ages. Because the main requirement is walking, it is a dance for everyone. When it comes to Tango, the Zimbabwean proverb - If you can walk, you can dance – is absolutely on the spot.
Tango is a walking dance, meaning that all the steps are based on walking.
When you start learning it, you must first master some basic movements. Don't worry, basic steps are not that difficult to learn. Beginners usually start with 8-Count Basic or simply Tango Basic.
Tango Basic is made of five steps taken to 8 counts of music. The rhythm is slow, slow, quick, quick, slow. The slow steps consume two beats of music and the quick steps one. Tango music is usually written in 4/4 time (but also in 2/4 time) and played at a tempo of 30-33 measures per minute.
Instructions & Diagrams:
Tango is danced in a closed position, usually closer than in other dances. The man's left hand is holding the lady's right hand. His right hand is placed on her back, along the bottom of her ribcage. The lady's left hand is placed on his right shoulder. You always bent your knees. Remember, this dance is the most bent of all the ballroom dances.
The lead and follow mirror each others steps. The lead begins with the left foot, the follow with the right. Walks usually curve gradually to the left.
Basic Steps for Men
- Step forward with your left foot
- Step forward with your right foot passing the left foot
- Step forward again with your left foot this time passing the right foot
- Step forward and to the right with your right foot
- Left foot close to right foot
Basic Steps for Women
- Step back with your right foot
- Step back with your left foot passing the right foot
- Step back again with your right foot this time passing the left foot
- Step back and to the left with your left foot
- Right foot close to left foot