Learn To Tango – Tango The Night Away

by Kinley McFadden on December 9, 2009

Born on the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Tango is bursting with passion.   This hypnotic and sensuous dance can help put some excitement into your nights.  Possibly in more ways than you first anticipate, as dancing the Tango is often compared to making love.

With the passionate nature of the Tango, it’s likely no surprise that it is danced in the closed position, with the man usually leading.  In closed position, you and your partner will be standing facing one another, close enough together that your upper bodies are touching.  In American Style Tango, the dancers sometimes part from the closed position in order to do special open moves.  Open moves common in the Tango include dancing apart, alternate hand holds, underarm turns and even side-by-side choreography.  Tango has a slow, slow, quick, quick, slow rhythm with two beats of music for each slow step and one beat of music for quick steps.  The best music for Tango dancing is that with 2/4 or 4/4 timing and about 120 beats per minute.

The Tango is often danced free-form, but it can be intimidating to learn something new without at least some guidelines.  Here are some basic steps and information to help learn to tango.

Basic Tango Steps for Men

  • Left foot, slowly step forward
  • Right foot, slowly step forward, slightly passing the left foot
  • Left foot, quickly step forward, slightly passing the right foot
  • Right foot quickly step forward and to the right
  • Left foot slowly moves to meet the right foot

Basic Tango Steps for Women

  • Right foot, slowly step backward
  • Left foot , slowly step backward, slightly passing the right foot
  • Right foot, quickly step backward, slightly passing the left
  • Left foot, quickly step backward and to the left
  • Right foot slowly moves to meet the left foot

Some things to keep in mind while you are giving these basic steps a try:

  • Forward steps and done with first your heel, and then your toe meeting the floor
  • Backward steps are done with first your toe, and then your heel meeting the floor
  • Tango steps are often describes as cat-like or slinking.  Because of the steps done where the foot moves slightly past the previous foot, the movement resembles that of a cat.  This slinky, sexy nature is part of the allure of Tango
  • Steps usually curve gradually left

As with learning anything new, be patient with yourself and don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right away.  As Fred Astaire said, “The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it’s considered to be your style.”

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