Editor's Tango Notes
This tutorial presumes that the students have some dance experience and already understand basic dance concepts and language. Gorgeous though it is, Argentine tango should probably not be your introduction to dancing.

Argentine tango is a confounding dance to learn. There is no basic step, no basic footwork and no basic foot rhythm. Cha cha has a "step step cha-cha-cha" and east coast swing has a "slow slow backstep", etc. but for the couple in Argentine tango, there is only where the leader wants her to step next. Caramba!

It's 90% true (and in dance 90% is truth enough) that both the direction she steps in and her rhythm or timing are determined by the lead. What a burden for the leader! In salsa, at least he has the comfort to know that he and his partner will be doing "step step step hold" and he does not have to worry about that part of it.

If the lady is to depend so heavily on her partner, he needs to lead clearly. The connection is everything. And so it is that Argentine tango presents the most difficult social dance and the one that requires the highest level of leader-follower communication.

DanceTutor has the Argentine tango sections perhaps in a different order than what many dancers follow. Perhaps the first section should be Tango 3, Intermediate Figures, followed by Tango 1 and Tango 2 which are more geared toward technique. Our observation is that most folks who take up Argentine tango have already gotten the gist of another dance (i.e., waltz or swing or salsa) in a couple of lessons, and with that background, they bypass emphasis on technique and go right for learning figures. This is okay, but almost invariably these folks get a little frustrated and realize that with Argentine tango, more so than with other dances, there is a need to focus on how to do the little things right. It is a longer journey but an enjoyable one by all accounts of persons who have made it.

Tango 1 and 2 author Jackie Stahl does the little things right, and if you will have some patience, she will help you immensely learn or improve your tango.

Good luck and Happy Dancing!

-- Michael VanBuskirk

Go to the author's introduction.