Tango is, without a doubt, found in the music and the embrace. It is a dance of the people – for the people.

I understand that and I only truly learned it and understood it after 18 months of living (and breathing Tango) at various Tango studios in Melbourne and elsewhere.

I also understand, that having good technique only enhances one’s Tango. There is no debating that having better posture and good balance are going to make the dance feel better for both yourself and your partner.

Having “perfect” feet – well, that isn’t so important.

In Tango, we can all understand that the embrace is a hug and that we’re giving our partner a hug that lasts a whole song. However, it has been assumed by some that there is no technique to hugging and people don’t need to learn how to hug.

If students need to learn to walk (and they do), hugging (which is something they do far less than walking) is definitely going to have to be taught. If you think that hugging and walking are easy for Tango students, go and watch a beginner class to see how the majority of students end up walking on bent legs (something they didn’t do before arriving to the class).

Argentina (and most of Latin America and much of Europe) has a ‘Culture of Touching’. Living in a country like Australia that does not have this type of physical interaction leaves many at an ’embrace disadvantage’.

That is why many Latinos mock the hug with its minimal touching.

I have been the recipient of innumerable awkward hugs (in and out of Tango). Hugging may be natural, but it is NOT normal or comfortable for many people.

I have been given crushing hugs, limp hugs, half hugs, and soulless hugs (to name a few).

The truth is, many people DO need to learn how to hug – especially how to give consistent hugs in Tango to friends and strangers alike.

Cinderella. Do you remember the story?

You see, Cinderella knew how easily a skillful dancer can sweep you off your feet, and how you can mistake the euphoria felt, when you experience the ‘moment’ in the dance, for true love.

So, Cinderella had to lure the Prince away from the glitz and glamour of his palace and courtiers into her home territory, to find out if he really was the man of her dreams and lived up to her expectations in broad daylight.

The Prince had to pick up on the clue of her shoe, follow her out into the real world, and recognize her inner beauty, notwithstanding the ragged clothes of her impoverished circumstances.

If you are thinking of trying to make something more of a dance relationship, it might be a good idea to see how your Prince or Princess Charming measures up in the real world.

The tango world is littered with broken dreams and shattered illusions.

That dancer, who swept you off your feet in the shadowed milonga, might not stand up to scrutiny in daylight. He or she may not even remember that dance.

They may not be charming and personable, or an interesting conversationalist. They may lack wit and a sense of humour. Ego might need constant feeding.

In the thrall of the magic of tango, it is easy to mistake arrogance for confidence, or a desire to dominate and control for care.

Don’t be dazzled by glass slippers.

  1. Wear proper, well-fitting tango shoes
  2. Give up self-loathing
  3. Stop apologizing
  4. Get over being socially anxious
  5. Stop regretting the past
  6. Focus on the immediate and enjoy the present
  7. Be gracious
  8. Enjoy dancing with your partners
  9. You are as young, or as old, as you feel
  • Dancing tango makes you feel good
  • Tango offers physical activity, mental activity and social engagement
  • Tango is danced at a walking pace, to the rhythm of a heartbeat, in the arms of another person. It feels good
  • Tango is danced to beautiful music, and music is known to facilitate the performance of ambulatory activities
  • Tango is good cardio-vascular exercise, and strengthens heart muscles and blood vessels that supply the brain
  • Research shows dancing tango reduces depression, stress and anxiety, and has been shown to be an effective strategy in alleviating mood disorders
  • Tango challenges the brain with decisions to make and problems to solve on the dance floor
  • Social tango is improvised and creative
  • Creating new dance moves and combinations is a cognitively rich physical activity
  • Dancing tango improves problem solving skills
  • Dancing stimulates the sensory and motor cortices and maintains the brain’s balance system
  • Tango improves balance and walking technique, and can play a role in reducing the incidence of falls
  • Tango improves spatial awareness and memory
  • Tango improves core strength
  • Social tango is play for grown-ups.
  • Slow tango is nice
  • Tango is always different
  • Dancing tango induces a mindful & meditative state
  • Pauses and stops are part of tango – you move when you are ready, so it is suitable exercise for older people, and people with Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological disorders, and hearing and sight impairment
  • Tango training is helpful in rehabilitation programs, and in maintaining mobility
  • Dancing tango is fun; it puts you back in touch with life
  • Tango is a social activity and connects people and fosters a sense of community
  • Fun and laughter should be part of every tango class
  • Improves coordination, balance, and posture
  • Increases muscle tone and flexibility
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves cardiac health
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves memory, focus, and multi-tasking
  • Enables creative and emotional expression
  • Builds greater ease in social situations
  • Imparts that dancer’s aura: standing tall, radiating confidence
  • Is increasingly used as therapy in a wide variety of applications: such as, physical therapy, couples therapy and therapy for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients.

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Milonga is a Tango Dance Party.

The pure joy of dancing tango is found at the Milonga.

What is a Tanda?

At a Milonga, music is played in sets called Tandas.

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