12 Things to Know about Argentine Tango

Igor Polk, February 2, 2008, Copying is strictly prohibited in any form

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1. Argentine Tango is a culture born and developed in Argentina since the mid 19th century. It gave birth to thousands of pieces of music, songs, poetry, movies, images, and legends. There are thousands of great dancing pieces the best of which are recorded before 1952. Tango music was developed specifically for dancers of Tango and is similar in complexity to classic music. Tango has specific tango rhythm.

2. There are 3 dances in Argentine Tango: Tango, Milonga, and Vals. Tango is danced in regular frame ( called "open embrace") or with chests touching ( called "close embrace")

3. There are following tango styles in Open and Close embrace: Salon, Orillero, Canyengue, Apilado, Milonguero, Nuevo. Each great dancer dances in his own personal way. Tango can be danced with large and tiny steps, fast, sharp, slow, smooth, elegant, and crazy.

4. There are hundreds of figures in Tango, but the dance itself is improvisational: the ability to lead and follow ( feeling the partner ) musically ( feeling the music ) and smart reaction to situation on a dancing floor is most valued. Simple dancing done well often is appreciated more than complex dancing.

5. There are several rhythms in tango based on the major rhythm. In a dance, a leader changes them at his will. A lady does not take a single step that it is not led. After mastering that, a lady can lead the dance too.

6. It does not matter how many figures you have learned. What is more important is "lead and follow", rhythmics, musicality, technique, fluidity, sharpness, inventiveness, feeling the music, feeling your partner, emotions. In short, quality dancing is the only way to dance tango.

7. There are no Tango competitions. People dance for each other.

8. Be ready to dance at any time with dancers from all around the world. This is the way to dance tango.

9. Tango is a meditation dance. Tango dancers fall in trance while dancing. This is the goal of dancing Tango.

10. People dance at tango parties called Milonga. ( There is also a special tango dance called Milonga). Tangos, Milongas, and Vals are played in the sets of four songs. A set is called Tanda. In between Tandas all dancers usually rotate to a new partner.

11. Tango takes years to learn. It is not a dance to learn quickly. Ballet and ballroom training helps, but not as much as one might think Be ready for that. To be able to dance well at a dance party, plan on completing approximately 100 group lessons, 20 workshops, and a minimum of 10 private lessons. However, as a good beginning with a certain partner, it is enough to take 24 of our classes or two sets of 12 lessons. We hope that this will work nicely for you.

12. The results of your learning depend on the mastery of the teachers you take lessons from and on your dedication. In that order. So finding a right teacher makes a crucial difference. Your talent helps, but dedication makes a dream a reality. Rewards of this effort are innumerable. Tango is the best investment in enhancing your lifestyle !

Copyright©2008 Igor Polk
Dance Tango in Palo Alto and San Francisco Bay Area