Argentine tango is an improvisational dance based on the four building blocks of:

  1. Walking
  2. Turning
  3. Stopping and
  4. Embellishments

The dance is like a jigsaw that gets put together differently each time.

Dancers (Tangueros and Tangueras) bring their own styles and embellishments to the dance which contribute significantly to the excitement and unpredictability of the experience.

Certain conventions are followed,however they never quite know how someone will construct a dance, add an embellishment or interpret the music.

The surprises possible within the dance are what make the dance so addicting.

It really does take two to tango, because the dance isn’t just about the man leading and the woman following.

Both partners have important things to contribute—like all good conversations.

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

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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