Key Concepts for Tango

Below are the techniques which we think our students need to learn to become great and well-rounded tango dancers. In the process they will also learn many steps. Over time we'll create videos to talk about all of these. There are 5 major categories: Connection, Technique, Musicality, Body, Social.

  • Connection
    • Frame to connect cores → Unmoving elbows allows for core. Traveling, rocking, etc. Movement category: Translational.
    • Embrace → Sense when you have their body, use only what is necessary. Aim for the middle of their body. This is about body listening. I call it Tango Telepathy.
    • Listening → listening as a paradigm for connection. This is about “no mind” listening.
    • Arms off the shoulders → Shoulders = heads of the shoulder and shoulder blades. Muscles of the back. Sliding, splitting the distance, adjusting for height, changes with pivots.
    • Close embrace → Understanding distance. Where are my partners feet going?
    • Space, Energy & Facing → communication that isn’t about touch.
    • Stillness in embrace → A profound paradigm for connection. Not resistance, be unmoving. Mind is quiet and present
    • Living Hands create pressure → For forward & back, compensate for your partner, for balance. For axis and ease. The arms protect the body. For both dancers.
  • Technique for Movement
    • Pivoting → Ball of the foot. Where is her axis? No energy leaks. Ochos, Boleos. Movement category: rotational.
    • Crosses → Him: Clear line. Her: Pressure hits the center.
    • Walking → Her: Forward as she goes back. Him: Core & go through her. The wave - go forward to go back, etc.
    • Easy Pivots → Counter pressure / rolling pressure (in combination with ball of the foot). Body lead rather than arm lead & clear direction. Pressure has direction. Use minimal pressure.
    • Molinette → Her: Maintaining distance. Him: Constant pull. Movement: orbit.
    • Collection → It’s from the thigh, and shapes movement. Part of tango essence & styling, informs the shape of the path of the leg.
    • Throws & Catching → Around and through follower’s axis. Boleo, Gancho, Kick, Rebounds.
    • Combining Categories of Movement → Combining Translational, Rotational, & Orbit. Cross, Ocho Cortado, Sacada.
    • Hip Facing → What is a forward, side or backstep? Use of hips in pivots & turns. Giving shape to ambiguous places.
    • Giving of Weight → When she goes around, leans towards and away, the line between partners. Volcada & Colgada.
  • Musicality & Spirit of Dance
    • The Weights of the Four Beats → Using the center: accent all beats, all beats are not equal.
    • Flow → Keeping the energy of the dance.
    • Rhythmic vs Lyrical → Choosing appropriate movements.
    • What the Music is Actually Doing → In tango, you are free to dance to the music. Use pop music to learn to feel the background.
    • Dancing Rhythmic → Mechanics of rhythmic dancing.
    • Structure of a Tango → 8*4, etc.
  • Posture & Body Integration
    • Hip Stability → Enables everything else ...
    • Body integration → Extending together, legs to core, forward, side, back. Reconciling tango’s temptation to disconnect the body
    • Neck on the Spine → A tango curse almost all suffer
    • Lengthened Low Back → Neutral spine, lengthen the low back, pull up off the hips.
    • Move from the Center → Move from and around the center.
  • Social Dance
    • Line of Dance → Slow counter-clockwise movement, lanes, middle of the floor.
    • Etiquette & Custom → Smell good, be friendly, be nice to your partners, don’t correct partners.
    • Technique → What do many expect? → Ease. What is most impactful? → Embrace.
    • History.

Do you have questions or have things you'd like to say? Please post on our forum.