Argentine Tango Syllabus: Section F: Dancing

("dancing" topics refer to general information regarding social dancing)

(See the Syllabus page for a list of the other topics in the syllabus.)

F1: Line of Dance

  • Always done counter-clockwise around the room.
  • There is usually a "lane" on the outside of the room, and there may also be an "inside" lane, depending on the venue and number of dancers.

F2: Basic Tempo Changes

Basic changes of tempo include:

  • Single-time: stepping on the main (strong) beat or pulse in the song
  • Double-time: stepping on the strong and weak beat
  • Pause - pausing, when there's a pause in the music.

Other variations are possible of course - half-time, and so on.

  • By default, forward / back steps are done in single-time.
  • Changes of weight and rocksteps are often (usually) done in double time.

Timing changes of steps are the basis of dancing with musicality, as they allow you to interpret the differences in the music using your dancing.

F3: Improvisation

Argentine Tango is an improvised dance. There is no "Basic Step" like in ballroom dancing - all Basic Steps or Patterns are simply drills, or teaching exercises.

  • Leaders: simple, good steps, done to the music, are dancing.
  • Followers: Relax. Wait for the lead. Don't anticipate the next step.
  • Improvisation for leaders:This involves changing your movements to fit the music, the space, and your connection with your partner.
  • Improvisation for followers:This involves stylistic movements and changes to your steps (including embellishments as appropriate)

F4: Basic Etiquette

Definition: Tanda - a group of 3 or 4 songs (occasionally 5) of the same style or artist

Definition: Cortina - a brief clip of non-Tango music, used to separate the Tandas

  1. The "3 dance rule" - Normally, you would dance the entire Tanda (three dances) with the same person
  2. "Thank you" indicates that we are done (not a good thing in the middle of a Tanda)
  3. The mirada - cabeceo: Eye contact used to ask for a dance, and the nod to accept it (or look away to refuse).
  4. During a song, don't walk straight across the dancefloor, or stand and talk on the dancefloor for an extended period.
  5. If there's a bump, both couples apologise and check no-one's hurt.
  6. Try and be fresh for your partner - showers, deodourant, breath mints etc. - but don't bathe in aftershave/perfume.

For more information