An Introduction to Tango

What exactly is Tango, and what are the differences between the different types? Here’s a quick overview, but for different types, that’s a much deeper discussion.  For simplicity of the site, I’m talking about Argentine Tango unless otherwise specified.

Tango at its core is a partner dance between two people, with an embrace that can range from arms length, chest to chest, and everywhere in between. There are a variety of styles with influences from around the world, with the roots coming from Argentina and Uruguay. Argentine Tango is the focus of the site and what is to follow is in relation to the style, and not the different variations like North American Tango, European, Turkish, or others.

Argentine Tango is an improvised dance, composed of walking and moving to the music with your partner. Energy and feelings are focused to your partner in trying to make a connection and working together, sharing, and creating your own dance. The dance is lead from step to step, with no memorized patterns or “basic step” which can lead to every song, every dance, to be unique. Footwork may be mirrored, or alternated depending on the lead, with turns, crosses, pauses, syncopation, and more.

Tango is danced counterclockwise on the outside of the dance floor, with additional lanes of dance  towards the center if there is room. The music is arranged into sets, called a “Tanda”, where you usually dance the set with one partner before escorting each other off the floor and dancing with others. Between Tandas, there is a “Cortina” (curtain) which is music different than Tango music to signal the end of a Tanda.

Tango has a deep history, many basics, numerous styles, places to start, music choices, and has spread around the world. Argentine Tango is usually considered one of the harder dances to learn, but the benefits and getting over the first few hurdles usually turns into a lifelong passion for many.

For examples of Tango, feel free to check out the videos below for some different styles, ranging from the simple, to the extravagant.