The Art Of
by Rey and
There is an art to Tango which implies a personal creation. The
International Tango style is bold – splashing with bursts of movement,
and then stops to emphasize the action. The personal style you pour
into the Tango will define your dance at that moment.
International Tango is characterized by execution of the figures in
closed positions, although in choreographed round dances we allow
flexibility for open positions. The figures in Tango can be very
similar to one another and this makes learning the Tango fun and
challenging. The International Tango close body contact of closed,
semi-closed, and contra position allows for the execution of the
figures with less effort and greater effect.
Consider some of these basic characteristics of International Tango:
More information on Frame, Poise and Hold is found at
No Rise or Fall in Tango. Footwork is staccato (sharp), body is legato
Line up the head, shoulders, rib cage, hips (4 blocks of weight)
vertically (90 degrees to floor). Spine remains vertical to floor. Use
your ab muscles to lengthen and hold the upright position.
Feet are flat, with right foot 2-3 inches back, so toe of right foot is
level with middle of left foot. Feet are turned 1/8 to the left.
The Man’s upper arms and elbows should make a smooth line, elbows in
line with center of body. The left arm is bent to allow the lady more
space to move further to her left in closed position.
The Lady’s head is to the left over her wrist with chin slightly higher
for Tango attitude. The head does not need to pass the elbow. Lady’s
left arm rests on Man’s forearm and is an extension of the Man’s right
arm. Left hand is “up” from beneath Man’s forearm. The thumb is placed
under the man’s right bicep, the fingertips just touching the man’s
armpit. Hand position will not change during the figures. Man's left
elbow is extended out, not up. Lady’s right arm is ‘in front’ of body
while the left arm is in line with body. The right arm should never go
behind the body.
Frame is offset further with 4 lanes for stepping. Slightly flexed legs
(compressed) tend to decrease the size of the frame but the added
offset compensates for this change. There is no sway, so the extra
offset allows for partners to get around each other. Lady will stay
‘forward’ with weight on foot in order to connect with partner. Body
weight should be just over the toes to connect with partner. Don’t lean
back and take weight off toes. The connection is more solid in the
hips. If the lady loses contact with the right side, she would not have
Once you understand the steps, the connection between the steps, and
the connection between the lead and follow positions, you will add the
flair of your persona and create your picture-perfect Tango.
Remembering that there is no one else like you, you can’t go wrong in
your own creation!
From clinic notes prepared for the ICBDA
annual convention, July 2013.
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Aditional articles and dance helps by
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