How to dance the tango

The Argentine tango is a passionate ballroom dance that is great for expressing love between two partners. Tango dancing involves quick, graceful, and playful movements with plenty of room for improvisation. These fun moves create a simple, yet elegant dance that consists of eight steps taken across eight counts. Learn how to dance the Argentine tango with Howcast’s free video lessons, which are great for beginners!

History of the Tango

Tango dancing first appeared during the 19th century in Argentina and Uruguay. It is based on the Cuban habanera rhythm and has influences from European and African dances. This was a product of the many immigrants that made their way to Argentina who mixed their music and dance styles.

As various cultures combined styles, the tango was eventually created in poor Argentinian neighborhoods. The tango reflected the desperation felt by poor immigrants and their longing for a better future. Eventually, the dance also became popular with wealthy families. From here, these wealthy socialites spread their tango skills to Paris and America for the whole world to enjoy.

How to Tango

The tango is a fairly straightforward walking dance that just requires precise footwork. It is relatively easy to perform once you master the eight basic steps and understand how the count works!

Body Position

To dance the tango, you will need to have your body close to your partner’s and keep your knees bent. A man’s left hand will extend forward to meet a woman’s upward-flexed right hand. The man’s right hand will then be placed on the midsection of a woman’s back. The woman’s left hand should be on the man’s right shoulder.

How to Do the Argentine Tango Basic Step

Now you know the basics of the tango, involving body position and how to count the steps involved. Remember to keep your knees bent during each step, as this is an important characteristic of the dance. Here’s how you can perform the moves of the Argentine Tango Basic Step:


  • Begin with your feet together, toes apart.
  • Shift your weight to your right leg and step forward—one, two, three, four—cross left over right, five.
  • Keeping your toes closed, transfer your weight step back with the right—six, side seven, eight.
  • From here, just wait for the next signal making sure that you keep your spine straight and weight slightly on the balls of your feet.


  • Start with a small back step on count one…
  • Side step on two, forward step three, forward step four, cross your partner, five and bring your feet together…
  • Small forward step six, side seven, and change weight to your other leg on eight

Start Dancing the Tango!

You should now have a better idea of how to perform the basic steps of the Argentine tango! Explore our full Tango video lesson series for even more moves and tips.

Or, if you want to take a look at other helpful dance video tutorials and guides, head to our main How to Dance page!


Diego Blanco and Ana Padron

Award-winning Argentine Tango dancers Diego Blanco and Ana Padron are one of the top performing couples in the world today. Diego and Ana command a wide range of dance disciplines from which they tap inspiration for their improvisation and choreography. They founded their dance company, Tango for All, to bring this electrifying dance to audiences in America and throughout the world. Diego and Ana have toured throughout the United States, the Caribbean, South America, Europe and Asia. They have performed in numerous off-Broadway shows and have danced and done choreography for an independent film. In Kuala Lumpur they were honored with an award for their “dedication to Argentine Tango as a form of expression through dance and for expanding knowledge of the dance through teaching.” They are now based in New York City, where they teach experienced dancers and newcomers alike.

With our free online Tango dance steps below you will learn how to Tango dance the most basic steps that are essential for the Tango. When you are learning the steps be sure to really understand the timing of each move as well as the technique you are using. These videos are from Passion4dancing’s dance training which you can visit here: There you will find a lot more lessons available for Tango, Ballroom and other Latin styles.

FREE Beginner “How to Tango” mini-video course:

How to count the Tango (Quick introduction):
The way you count the tango is Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow (S,S,Q,Q,S). The slow is 2 beats and the quick is 1 beat of music. You need to fill out the timing very well so that you can show a real difference between the slow and quick counts.

Lesson #1: Tango basic step:
Learn how to Tango with the Tango basic steps. It consists of three forward walks, followed by a side step and lastly a drag step. The drag step is when one leg closes to the other leg without changing weight.

Lesson #2: Curved basic step (to the left):
Now you will learn how to turn the basic step you learned on one spot. This Tango dance step allows you to move around the other couples who may be in your way.

Lesson #3: The back Corte:
In this step you will learn how to do a very nice shaping move. The man will lunge back on his left leg and shape the ladies over their right legs. The ladies can bend their shoulders and necks back as much as they want to create the illusion of a back bend.

Go beyond the basics with

How to dance the tangoPassion4dancing Video Training
For those who want the very best Latin and Ballroom dance instruction, you need to check out where you can get access to over 100+ video lessons including tango dance steps. Each of the video breaks down the footwork, timing and provides extra tips. Once you become a member you will get unlimited access to everything.

Did you enjoy this mini-video course? If yes please share this page with your friends and leave a comment below.

How to dance the tango

I have been thinking about creators.

I am one: I put out an e-book on Gumroad about cold emailing. That is actually the low point of creativity in my whole life, considering I think I have it in me to be a scriptwriter, a stand-up artist or at least a mediocre YouTuber. I created a piece of art about spamming. What a fall!

There are successful creators, unlike me. But what makes them succeed, and how should brands work with them? Let’s get the definitions in place first.

Creators create and hence have an influence over their fans. Influencers exist. That’s the working definition we’ll go with.

Where brands go astray is when they expect creators to obtain products for their brands in the way that influencers do.

Brands work with influencers all the time. It doesn’t take a special skill to have a rotund posterior on which a wine glass can be balanced. Most of us don’t try such things. Yet some do, post it on Instagram and build multibillion-dollar fashion brands.

It’s art if an influencer does it. You and I have no business here, but brands embrace such influencers. Influencers monetize eyeballs directly (through brand partnerships) or through platform ad revenue.

Creators are morally superior — they earnestly create good, mediocre or bad content/art/internet moments through their good, bad or mediocre skills. That builds a niche fan following.

They monetize through ads, brand partnerships or subscriptions

Where brands go astray is when they expect creators to sell products for their brands in the way that influencers do. Influencers influence. Creators endear themselves to their audience. Creators evolve and their audience base evolves along with them.

I have a framework for how brands can think about creator relationships and how to set goals for such relationships.

Let’s call it FFS (Fan Follower Strength 🤦‍♂️) Framework.

Fans of a creator manifest their liking for the creator in one of these ways:

  • Appreciate
  • Advocate
  • Adulate

Depending on the scale of the audience base and their fan following strength, creators’ alternative revenue streams could be anywhere between that of a guy who does the opening act at an obscure club’s stand-up night to that of a cult founder.

How to dance the tango

Image Credits: Ashwin Ramasamy

How much influence a creator has depends on the distribution of fans they have in these stages.

The more adulation they get, the more they are ready to carry a brand or monetize on their own. While the number of fans decides the scale of an outcome (exposure, sales, etc.), at any scale a creator can monetize if they have more fans in the advocate or adulate stages.

A brand has to choose its creators both on the scale and the goals they have for the relationship.

A creator with millions of merely appreciative followers could be good for brand exposure but not immediate sales, whereas a niche creator who receives great adulation from their audience could not just move products but move their audience to visit your store to buy a product they promote.

Such creators — if they are able to maintain a high proportion of advocates and adulatory followers as they hit scale — could launch their own brands.

The relationship becomes troublesome when brands simply look at influencer marketing metrics (engagement, clicks, etc.) and ignore the FFS metrics (intensity of fan following as measured from comments, organic shares and engagement for those shares; the shelf life of the content measured by the longevity of comment interaction; fanfic creations around the creator’s content or about the creator, etc.)

Without the understanding of FFS metrics, brands end up partnering with creators at a life stage that could be incompatible with brand goals. A creator with a huge following does not automatically translate to sales if their fan following strength is skewed more toward appreciation than advocacy or adulation.

Early Stage is the premier “how-to” event for startup entrepreneurs and investors. You’ll hear firsthand how some of the most successful founders and VCs build their businesses, raise money and manage their portfolios. We’ll cover every aspect of company building: Fundraising, recruiting, sales, product-market fit, PR, marketing and brand building. Each session also has audience participation built-in — there’s ample time included for audience questions and discussion.


Q: First you have to find the beat. And finding the beat is pretty much the down beat. Finding the down beat is anything that makes your head nod and you step on that. All the time you step on that beat. You can also speed it up a little. And that is what we call a quick, quick, slow. Anna’s going to show us this.

A: Slow, quick, quick, slow, slow, slow, quick, quick, slow, so if I here going to walk I would just have to keep going. So I go slow, slow, quick, quick, slow, slow, slow, quick, quick, slow, or slow, slow, quick, quick, slow.

Q: The other thing you can do when you’re dancing tango is pause. You could pause at any moment and within the length of time that you wish. So if we put numbers to the music or to the beats we have: one, three, one, three, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four.

A: So if you’re wondering what happens to those even numbers, you’re actually transitioning to the next step. So if Diego were to count it, one-three, you can see that my trailing leg is at transition which is your even number so you have time. So if you’re going to go: one, two, three, four, five, one, two, three, four, five.

Q: One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. If I want to speed it up, then I would have a quick, quick, slow, and we would use the two. One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. If I want to slow it down a lot I would use the one. One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four.

Are you passionate about tango or is it a style of dance that you would like to learn how to dance? If you are starting to connect with the world of tango we recommend that you have a good playlist of tango songs available.

For this reason, we have made a selection of the most famous and attractive tango songs of all time so that you can listen to them and sing their lyrics in your free time, on your way to work or as background music while taking a moment of rest.

It is very important that you can enjoy and connect with the melodies of Argentine tango. In this way you can express their sensuality, rhythm and passion through the steps of this style so recognized and popular in different countries of the world.

How to dance the tango

The most irresistible songs of Argentine and modern tango of all times

#1. Carlos de Gardel – Mi Buenos Aires Querido

The famous Carlos Gardel is and was the greatest representative of tango. It has a great repertoire of tango songs and we have selected the piece by Mi Buenos Aires Querido, which honors the famous capital of Argentina where you can dance and vibrate with tango music with great passion.

Carlos de Gardel triumphed with all his albums as a singer and composer, as well as the variety of films related to tango and all the musicality he created.

#2. Edmundo Rivero – Cafetín de Buenos Aires

Edmundo Rivero was a great tango singer. His great success allowed him to triumph as a soloist and owner of his own instrumental ensemble.

You can’t miss this great song, Cafetín de Buenos Aires, which will make you feel the intensity, passion and sensuality of tango through the great orchestral melody and lyrics of the song.

#3. Carlos de Gardel – Por una cabeza

It is a classic tango by Carlos de Gardel, whose lyrics make reference to horse racing and fanaticism around these competitions, and at the same time describes the relationships between women and life.

A classic and a success that has not stopped playing on all the tango dance floors until today. I’m sure you’ve heard this song before, right?

#4. Cesaria Evoria – Besame mucho

Let us introduce you to this fabulous piece written by Mexican pianist and composer Consuelito Velázques (1916-2005). This piece was performed by several artists and we would like to highlight the version of tango sung by Cesaria Evoria.

A perfect song to dance a tango with a lot of romanticism, softness and love on the floor.

Would you like to dance to it?

#5. Julieta Venegas y Bajo Fondo – Pa’ Bailar

Our beloved Mexican Julieta Venegas could not miss, apart from performing rock songs, ska/reggae music in the Tijuana band No!, indie and alternative music, we fall in love with this piece called Pa’ Bailar, a more modern piece of tango.

What do you think of this tango version of Julieta Venegas?

#6. Julio Iglesias – La Cumparsita

The famous Spanish singer, composer, businessman, lawyer and ex-football player from Madrid triumphed with his piece La Cumparsita. He is one of the most important Latin artists in history and this song, among many of the hits he created, proves it.

This piece of tango has come to sound in many different environments, as well as on movie screens. A classic that can’t be missing from your playlist of the best tango songs!

#7. Gotan Project – Mi confesión

Gotan Project is an electronic tango and electronic jazz band. The group is made up of three artists, the Swiss musician Christoph H. Müller, the French Dj Philippe Cohen Solal and the Argentine musician Eduardo Makaroff.

The origin of this musical fusion of the group was in Paris. Their great success led them to be able to perform their music on international tours.

It has been proven that the style of tango has also fused musically and it is a pleasure to see the different interpretations of it.

#8. Shakira – Te aviso, te anuncio

It may seem strange to name Shakira on our list of the best tango songs, but the famous singer-songwriter, among many other artistic skills, also created a successful version of tango.

We thought that one of his pieces could not be missing from our playlist, as his songs and dances always leave all his viewers in love.

As you can see, Shakira is not only very good with the movement of her hips, she also has a very stylish and sensual tango style.

#9. Roberto Goyeneche Osvaldo Pugliese – Mano a mano

We highlight this memorable piece of tango by Roberto Goyeneche. Our beloved singer stood out for his highly personal style that has stood out over the years.

This piece was composed musically in 1923 by Carlos Gardel and José Razzano, and Celedonio Flores composed the lyrics.

You ready to hear it?

#10. La Alcoba de las Musas Mix – Tango Electrónico

To finish our great selection of the best tango songs we would like to highlight this piece of electronic tango from La Alcoba de las Musas Mix.

What do you think of this fusion of electronic tango? Do you want to dance it?

We hope you liked our selection of modern and electronic Argentinean tangos. Now there are no excuses to add them to your playlist and start trying out such a classic, sensual and passionate style: tango.

Share them with music lovers and try those tango lessons you’ve been waiting for for so long.

You know, you don’t have to go to Argentina to learn it, nowadays tango sounds in all the main cities of the world. So you know, look for the nearest tanguería or a school where they teach this classic and attractive dance style.

What are your favorite Tango dancing songs that are not on this list?

We would love to know what your favorite tango songs and lyrics are. Add them in the blog comments and we will help you to discover new or not so new tango music.

As a serious dance form, it is epitomized by the dancers jerky movements to the characteristic rhythms. When composing your tango, remember that tangos are composed to be danced to, not just listened to! The main musical features to work on when starting to compose your first tango are the bass, melody and general rhythmic feel. The easiest way to begin composing this type of music, is to familiarize yourself with the style through listening, or better still playing some tangos, and other Latin American music.

The Basics

The two main rhythms that characterize tango music are:

How to dance the tango

The first rhythm is taken from Cuba, and is called the Habanera. These rhythms are used as the basis for both the bass line and the percussion parts. Make sure that when you compose your own music, these rhythms feature heavily (don’t worry about not being original, this is important in getting the tango sound). Although there are many variations, these two are the main rhythmic cells. Remember, tangos tend to be in either 4/4 or 2/4, and while there are some exceptions in other meters, this is considerably less common and makes it much harder to produce convincing results.

You can begin to add your own personality and originality when creating your percussion parts; begin with one of these rhythmic cells as a basis. Once you have this simple starting point, begin to intuitively add other notes until you have a fuller sounding percussion part. However, be careful not to overcrowd the percussion part, as this may hide the tango pulse. Also, be careful not to add too many short notes; try to make quaver notes (eighth-notes) the shortest notes that you use. Look at this example to get an idea how to make a successful tango percussion part:

How to dance the tango


Most tangos begin in a minor key, reflecting the serious nature of the dance (indeed, most dancers keep stern faces when dancing tangos). When starting out, the easiest key to use is the harmonic minor, but all minor key variations are fine to use. Melodies also tend to use lots of chromatic notes, so use these to fill in any gaps between tones in your melody. Rhythmically, melodies can move either with your bass line, or they can play flowing straight notes to contrast the dotted rhythms in the other instruments. Moving by step, or by leap is equally okay (as long as the melody works with the harmony!) so as long as your melody sounds musical, it’s okay!

Bellow are a few examples of the type melodic ideas that work in tangos:

How to dance the tango


Tangos use relatively simple harmony, which contrasts the more complicated rhythms and melodies. The main chords used when the music is in the minor key are the chords i, iv, V7 and VI. In A minor these chords would be A minor, D minor, E7 and F major. In most tangos, the harmony comes out through the bass line, or a through a piano accompaniment.

Composing A Tango From Scratch

The first step to writing your first tango is sketching out a chord sequence and a bass part. To begin, make an 8 bar chord sequence using only the four allowed chords. The most important two chords are i and V7, so use these most of all!

Here are some examples of typical 8 bar chord sequences:

Example 1: Am |Am |E7 |E7 |E7 |E7 |Am |Am |
Example 2: Am |Dm |E7 |Am |Am |Dm |F |E7 |

To make your bass part, start by copying one of the tango rhythms into your bass line.

The first note of every bar should be the root of the harmony. So for an A minor chord, move first note in the bar should be an A, and for and E7 chord the first note should be an E. The remaining notes can be any pitched from any note in the chord. This includes the 7th if your using the V7 chord. Examples of bass lines can be seen below.

How to dance the tango

Now, using your chord sequence and a bass pattern like the ones above, construct a skeleton score like the one bellow:

How to dance the tango

Now that you have your skeleton score, begin to add a melody. You can try to add one of the melodies you made earlier, or make a new one specifically to fit the harmony. Most melodies should work; though make sure you have some consonant notes in every bar! If your melody doesn’t seem to fit the harmony, try checking whether you can fit more consonant notes into your melody. If you can’t add any more notes and the melody still doesn’t fit, then you can add more chromatic scales to the melody to help mask this. As mentioned earlier, melodies in tangos tend to be chromatic. The melody doesn’t have to be too fancy however, just look at the example below made when using the skeleton score above:

How to dance the tango

Once you have got a melody and harmony that works well together, repeat these steps to create another 8 bars of music. Try to make these a bit different from the first bars, either by making the rhythms more complex, or by making the melody more chromatic. If you arrange your music later on, then arrange these bars differently to the first. An example of the sort of contrast you might want can be seen below:

How to dance the tango

We now have two sections of music written, both of them in a minor key. Two thirds of your tango is now composed.
For the final composed section of a tango, we need to modulate to the relative major. If you are using A minor so far, then we now will move to C major. We can extend the chords we can use to make harmony to I, ii, iii, IV, V7 and vi to help once again build our 8 bar skeleton score. As before, add a bass part, and then a melody, aiming to make this section sound a bit different from the other two.

Finishing Your Piece

Use your 8 bar sections, to form a structure akin to the one below:

Section A (8 Bars) -> Section B (8 Bars) -> Section C (8 Bars) -> Section A (8 Bars)

If you want to make the piece longer, you can repeat each section. You can also add an introduction or a separate ending based upon the material you’ve created to make the piece even more musical.

Add your percussion part you created at the very beginning, and if you want, you can also add your own drum fills every four, eight or sixteen bars.

In essence, you now have successfully completed writing a tango. To develop your material further, you may consider arranging the material for a different ensemble.

Another way of developing your piece is by adding a second (or even third) melody. You can use a second melody antiphonally, as a call and response feature with your existing melody. If you have less space for call and response type melodies, you can use harmonize the melody in thirds or sixths (but be careful in the places you have use chromaticism!)

Congratulations on composing your first tango!

By Ingrid Michaelson | Submitted On January 11, 2010

If there’s one dance that people consider romantic and sexy, that would be the tango. It comes as no surprise that many people show a lot of interest in learning the famous moves they’ve seen in movies. Not to mention the sultry dresses women wear! As they swing and move their legs to the beat of the earthy and dramatic music, the swish of the skirt is a mesmerizing site indeed. Unlike the other ballroom dances, the movements involved in tango can either be slow and smooth, or sharp and strong. It is distinct in its own right and is easy on the eyes. A quick leg flip and a head snap usually signals the beginning of the dance.

Tango is a dance made for lovers. While it has the same circular flow as most other styles have, there is a sense of need emanating for both the man and woman. It seems as if they crave for the touch of the other person while their feelings of passion radiate all throughout the dance. And although it looks very complicated, the basic choreography involves alternating movement of the feet. The man starts and the woman mirrors what he does. Some people prefer to learn the tango with the help of the instructor. While studios can be found practically anywhere, you can equip yourself ahead of time by learning the most basic steps:

1. Stand up beside your partner and hold him close.

2. As he moves his right foot back, you step forward using left foot. The foot moves to where the body leans. Keep your heel off the ground while your leg trails smoothly. Avoid bouncing at all costs. Allow your heel to touch the floor only when you take a step back.

3. As he brings his left foot to the side, do the same with your right. This lateral movement begins with the leading foot extending to either direction that is quickly followed by shift in weight. Your feet come together soon after.

4. Switch sides and mirror his movement.

5. As he pivots his right foot to the left, do the same with your left. The leading leg should pull your body weight.

6. Switch sides when he does.

7. Add toe-taps and a variety of other movements only when you’ve grown comfortable and familiar with the dance.

8. Think like a cat and try to move like one all throughout. And remember, some people believe that it is actually the women who do the first move. However it will be for you, you shouldn’t act like a ragged doll being dragged around.

Tango is very much like walking with your partner. The major distinction here is that you face and hold each other close as you traipse your way through the floor. For those who feel the need to challenge themselves, the dance does get complicated. As for those who live in a world of self-reliance, there are those who believe that you can add your own personal movements to the dance. Just know that as an active participant, you must exude passion. After all, what good is the tango without the emotion?

How to dance the tango

The Tango of modern ballroom originated with the Argentine Tango, but, thanks to the conventions of ballroom dancing, it developed into a very different style of dance. While both the Argentine and Modern Tangos are passionate dances, the former is smooth and sensuous while the latter is sharp and fiery. This sharpness also differentiates the Modern Tango from the other modern ballroom dances, which tend to be smooth and floaty. Tango, in comparison, is bold, deliberate and low to the ground. It’s also a lot of fun to dance!

Learn the Tango at Long-Steps

We’ll take you through all the steps from scratch. Even if you have never danced before, we will show you how. You do not need a partner to learn the dance, your instructor will dance through it with you.

Long-Steps currently teaches the Tango periodically during our Advanced Classes, and by Private Tuition.

Long-Steps teaches the Tango according to a combination of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) Dance Examinations Board’s The Ballroom Technique, and other reputable ballroom technique publications and resources.

History of the Tango

Coming soon – watch this space


Technical Details

Time Signature: 2/4
Musical Selection: Tango
Tempo Range: 28 to 32 bars per minute.

While tango was originally born as the music of the underprivileged in the working class districts of the Buenos Aires in Argentina and Montevideo in Uruguay, in the early years of the 20th century this musical and dancing style managed to reach Argentinian upper class, which quickly disseminated this unique dance to the entire world. They managed to achieve this feat by promoting it first in the fashion centers of the world such as Paris, London and New York. There, tango became the couple dance that everyone wanted to learn. In the year of 1913, the tango became a worldwide phenomenon. Europe was especially enchanted with it, with new fashion styles emerging that helped youth to break the chains of Victorian fashion and embrace new clothing paradigms. That year tango was danced in Tango Teas at the Waldorf Hotel in London, new fashion styles emerged from Tes Dansants in Paris, and the grand Tango ball held in Selfridges department store in the United States was later recalled as one of thelargest fashion events of the season. In 1913, first proper “tango dresses” (known as “Tango Visite”) started being made and promoted. They were light, colorful, and featured loose transparent bodice and skirt that was shortened to the mid-calf .

Tango was danced by many, but it was also attacked by many who did not approve of its extravagant fashions of clothing. Tango arrived just in time when Victorian “restrictive” fashion style was moving away from popularity, most notably female items such as hooped skirts and tight corsets. Historians have recorded that Parisian women gladly stopped wearing corsets so that they could freely dance the tango (although for many years, female tango dances performed to wear a slimmed-down version of the corset that allowed them to perform many tango dance moves). These changes fueled the negative voices, who described tango dance, tango music and most loudly, tango fashion as too revealing, vulgar and indecent . But of course, fashion styles and social circumstances changed, enabling tango to become embraced all around the world.

How to dance the tango

Faison of tango dance attire can easily change with times

Other parts of female Victorian fashion quickly followed the fate of corsets. For example, before the arrival of tango females preferred to wear elaborate hats with large brims and decorations that flowed away from the hat (such as large feathers) and sweeping across the front of the face of the wearer. While these hats were beautiful, they were an obstacle to the dance, and the fashion quickly changed, allowing women to wear vertical hats that allowed for close embrace during tango dance. Dresses also changed significantly, with more open skirts becoming more favorable, especially those who have more opened front sections which allowed for easier dancing.

Tango mania of early 20th century touched almost every part of fashion clothing, including shoes, stocking, dresses, hats and everything else. For many years, the official color of tango dance clothing was orange, which is a theme that managed several times to come and go away from fashion to this day. Today, one of the most popular colors for female tango dresses is red, while men’s clothing is black or white.

Tango Clothes for Women

Tango is a sensual and passionate dance, and the woman’s clothes reflect this. Women’s clothes should always strive to be elegant, but the greatest amount of customization allows each dancer to customize their clothing to fit their needs best. In its most basic form, female tango clothing needs to be light, comfortable and to provide easy movement that includes intertwining of feet of both dancers.

The most important part of the apparel on women dancers is, of course, the type of dress, which first needs to be comfortable, and then it needs also to be able to provide a proper amount of movement that the dancer desires. Traditionally, early tango dresses were long, but over time they become more and more shorter. Today, women tango dancers can even pick very short dresses and skirts .

Women tango dancers should be sensual, but with clothes that allow freedom of movement

One of the primary element of every tango dress is elegance. Women can often pick tango dresses to serve a dual purpose – to be used for dancing, and to be worn when going to parties and social events. Majority of traditional tango dresses can fulfill both those needs.

Traditionally , tango dresses often have asymmetrical hemlines and many of them with various adornments on fringes and crochet. Most dresses have open tops that show cleavage. These dresses are regarded as very sensual, and dancers often spend a lot of time picking a right dress that best fit them. On most occasions, female dancers prefer not to wear strapless dresses that allow slit to move too high during energetic dance moves. Tight dresses are rarer.

How to dance the tango

The dress material is also very important, with best dresses being the ones that do not elevate heat levels during a dance, and who are soft and loose enough not to cause skin issues.

As for accessories, female dancers are encouraged not to wear elaborate designs too long dresses that may cause them to trip or to become entangled with their dance partners. This includes accessories such as chains, large hats or heavy and rough-edged objects.

The most extravagant and flashy tango clothes are worn by dance pairs in competitive ballroom tango dance scene.

Tango Clothes for Men

Men’s tango clothes are much more subdued and closer to regular clothing items than with females. Men dancers usually prefer to wear anice and elegant shirt and pants combination ( straight cut), made from materials that best fit the need of the dancer. Silk shirts are very popular, but other materials are also common.

Elegance and straight cut clothing is perfect for male tango dancers

In addition to this, men can also enhance their appearance or style with the presence of various accessories which include things such as vests, suspenders, and hats. The most stylish presentation is of course achieved if men’s clothing does not clash with the look of his female dancer.

Tango has always been included in the standard dance program, regardless of either its Argentinian spirit or the cultural-social context in which it originated. If we take a little more interest in the history of this dance, we might have a lot of questions about the different versions of it. Why are we still dancing tango of the 50s today? Why are there so many different styles of tango? How.

Tango Roots: Men, Poverty, and Forbidden Passion

Tango Roots: Men, Poverty, and Forbidden Passion

The nobles were disgusted by tango dance, the right-wing government forbade it, but the immigrants who came to Argentina expressed themselves through this dance and sought the warmth of women. Now Argentine tango is popular all over the world from Tokyo to Paris. However, until the moment the tango gained worldwide recognition, this dance was considered dirty and unacceptable. Immigrant Dance.

Four Fancy Tips to Perfect Your Ballroom Dances

Four Fancy Tips to Perfect Your Ballroom Dances

Ballroom dancing is competitive, elite and most importantly … elegant. Striving for excellence is a known element among those who dance both casually and competitively. Lessons are taken while dedicated practices cultivate the skills necessary to perfect the art of the Ballroom. Competitors and seasoned dancers have accumulated years of experience to assist novice individuals and couples.

The Many Ways Ballroom Dancing Benefits Children

The Many Ways Ballroom Dancing Benefits Children

Ballroom dancing can be viewed as a romantic tale of music and dance coming together. The various styles are also considered as divinely technical needing precise skills or talent to convey the poetic nature of the dance. There is a dividing line among society whether ballroom dancing is suitable for younger children. Although there is nothing adult rated in the steps, some convey concerns it.

Are Ballroom Classes Right For You?

Are Ballroom Classes Right For You?

Most Dances require repetition to memorize each fluid step. As the Dances become complicated or more technical, you will benefit from having a teacher to guide the way. There is a difference among Dancing styles that determine if an actual class is necessary. Line Dancing can typically be learned on the go whereas Ballet or Ballroom are not as simple to master. This is where Dancers can benefit.

How to dance the tango

Miss Fischer made her way through 1920’s jazz clubs fighting crime. In her premiere episode she was caught dancing a Valentino tango, Inspired by 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. Unravel the mystery of the Valentino tango with Miss Fischer today!

Phryne a Princess?

How to dance the tango

Did you know Phryne was princess? In the movie Miss Fischer and the Crypt of Tears Pyrene is Married to the Maha Raja. Maha Raja is the Alvaar ruling house of India. This makes Phryne Fischer an Indian princess. Miss Fischer mysteries kicked off with a hot tango scene, just like Rudolph Valentino kicked his popularity into high gear with the legendary 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse Tango scene. Phryne would have been and expert at unraveling how to dance the Rudolph Valentino Jazz era tango.

Valentino’s Tango

How to dance the tango

Rudolph Valentino came to America from Italy. In 1914 New York Rudolph was hired to perform tangos with Joan Sawyer at various clubs. From there he was hired as a taxi dancer (gigolo) at Maxims paid to dance with unescorted ladies. You could say he was a Tango Lizards courting disgruntled tango bugs.

After going to jail for a rumored liaison, he joined a musical and traveled to the west coast. Once there he taught dance between movie bit parts. His big break was in “4 horsemen of the Apocalypse” the bestselling silent film of all time. His tango in “4 horsemen of the Apocalypse” was a merging of the early argentine tango and the Apache dance.

1922 Rudolph Valentino went on strike to gain more control of his films. He took a 4-month tango tour of the Us and Canada sponsored by Mineralava beauty products. He and Natacha wowed audiences with their tango spreading its popularity across the continent.

Jazz era Valentino Tango

How to dance the tango

I took time and reviewed many tangos in this time. From the apache tango to the French tango, there were many sources to reference. I reviewed the original footage of Rudolph Valentio dancing in the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse as well as his Mineralava tour footage. Then I reviewed 1920’s dance manuals on the Library of Congress. From all of this I put together a fun Miss Fischer’s Valentino tango how to. Enjoy the pieces below.

Miss Fischer’s Valentino Tango How To

Figures used.

Jazz era tango Library of congress Walker, C. The modern dances.1914

First Figure Jazz Era Argentine tango

Position, as shown in Illustration 6, which is assumed immediately on completion of the four introductory steps.

Starting with the outside foot, take four forward steps—counting one, two, three, four. On the fifth step bend, straighten up and turn on six, and hold this position through the counts seven and eight. See Illustration 12

Now take four steps in the opposite direction, bend on five, straighten up and turn on six and hold through seven and eight as above. This completes the figure and leaves you in the same position as at starting. Repeat this figure before starting the next.

Fig. 3 Jazz era Argentine tango

Third Figure Position, as shown in Illustration 6. Counting one, step forward with the outside foot; two, forward with the inside foot; three, forward with the outside; four, forward with the inside; five, cross the outside foot over the inside, face the partner and bend; six, straighten and face in the opposite direction; seven, extend the outside foot (which is now the man’s right and the lady’s left), point the toe forward and hold this position through eight, keeping the weight on the inside foot. On the next five counts take five steps in the direction you are now facing. On six, turn, and hold through seven and eight. This brings you back to the original position. Repeat

Fourth Figure Jazz era Argentine tango

The Scissors Position,

Starting with the inside foot, take three steps forward. On the fourth extend the outside foot, rest the weight on it for the fraction of a second give a short, quick “brush” with the toe and swing the foot across the other, the fifth count being a step in the opposite direction. Six and 62 seven are two more steps, then “brush” with the other foot on eight. Repeat, Now vary the above by “brushing” on two and four instead of four and eight. This completes the Scissors Figure, made famous by Elsie Janis.

Promenade turn-
4 horsemen and in our syllabus today- The rhythm used is slow, slow, quick, quick.
Gentleman 1.Left foot side in promenade position, 2.right foot forward and across left foot in promenade position , 3. left foot side across lady, 4. right foot forward pivot to right.

Lady 1. Right foot side in promenade position. 2. Left foot forward and across right foot in promenade position. 3. Right foot forward turning to closed position, 4. Left foot side pivot to right.

Rudolph ronde

this is a common figure danced today rotating to the right instead of to the left as Rudolph did in the 4 horsemen. Forward right foot between lady’s legs lady ronde right leg to hook behind left. I preceded this with the first 3 steps of the promenade turn listed above. I ended this with a walk around the back and tango close. When you put these steps together, the rhythm would be slow, slow, quick, quick, quick, quick.

Double Corte-
From 4 horsemen footage and the same in our syllabus today. The rhythm will be Quick, quick, slow, slow, quick, quick, slow, slow, quick, quick, slow.

Gentleman 1.Left foot forward rock. 2. Replace weight to right foot. 3 Corte back left foot. 4 replace weight to right foot. 5-8 repeat steps 1-4. 9-11 Dance a tango close, or 9. Left foot forward. 10 Right foot side. 11 Close left foot to right foot without weight.

Ladies 1.Right foot back rock. 2. Replace weight to left foot, 3 Corte forward right foot. 4 Replace weight to left foot. 5-8 repeat steps 1-4. 9-11 Dance a tango close, or 9. Right foot back, 10 Left foot side, 11 Close right foot to left foot without weight.


Miss Fischer-Holly Tomazin

Valentino– Craig Tomazin

Location- Adventure in Dance

Ballroom dancing has evolved from a social dance for the privileged to a style of dance that is accessible to everyone. Perhaps the most widely known form of dance, variations of Ballroom dancing have often been showcased in popular culture on stage, movies, and television. The significance of Ballroom dancing has only continued to grow since it began in the 16 century, with world championship competitions still today.

The best part about this style of dance is that anyone can learn how to do it! With informative and free video tutorials, Howcast makes it easy to follow along and teach yourself how to ballroom dance like you never thought possible. Our Ballroom Dancing 101 series has video tutorials covering the most popular styles including: Waltz, Tango, Fox Trot, Cha Cha, Rumba, Samba, Mambo, and Jive!


The Waltz was a game-changer in the dance world. It was initially introduced as a country-folk style of dance in Austria and Bavaria, but once it was brought to England, it became what it is known as today. It was the first style of dance where a man held a woman so tightly. It was considered intimate and quite risqué for the time period.

The Waltz is characterized by a step, slide, step pattern. In ¾ time, couples dance closely, performing a smooth and controlled movement that is beautiful. Today, there are many popular variations and styles of the dance—so be sure to experiment so you can find whichever suits you best.


The Tango is an Argentinian style of Ballroom dance that is a combination of flamenco and milonga. It is a fast and sensual style of dance that emerged in the 1880s in dance halls across Buenos Aires. In the 1900s, the Tango exploded onto the scene with popularity all over Europe. Musicians began to compose their own music specifically for the genre.

There are many variations of the Tango that are extremely popular around the world today, like the Argentine Tango, Uruguayan Tango, Finnish Tango and Ballroom tangos, both standard and American. The sensual and energetic style of the Tango is still a core component throughout all forms. Learn how to dance the tango with our free video series!

Fox Trot

Since 1914, the Fox Trot has been a popular style of Ballroom Dance. Stylized after Ragtime music, the Fox Trot consists of methodical and slow movements, with walking steps, chassés, and quarter turns. This style of dance can be adapted for faster or slower music, making it fun for all tempos. Its versatility is the main reason this dance has remained so popular since the early 1900s. There are many Fox Trot styles out there, so there’s definitely something for everyone!

Cha Cha

The Cha Cha is a Cuban style of Ballroom dance that originated from the Danzon, another Cuban dance. The Cha Cha is a fun, lively and sassy style of dance, which became popular in the 1950s. There are a few different versions of the Cha Cha, including Street Cha Cha, Country-Western, and Latin Street.

In true Latin dance fashion, dancers of the Cha Cha keep their feet close to the floor, follow intricate footwork, and can swing their hips freely to the music. Learn how to Cha Cha today with our free ballroom dancing videos!


Rumba, also spelled Rhumba, is an Afro-Cuban style of dancing that gained recognition in the 1930s. There are two varieties of the dance performed today: American Style and International Style. This dance is a combination of the Cuban dance, the bolero-son, traditional Rumba, and conga.

The International Style of Rumba teaches a quick-quick-slow motion pattern, similar to the Cha Cha. Its most notable characteristic is the subtle hip movements going side to side while keeping the torso upright. Out of the Latin dances that are performed, the Rumba is the slowest. The Rumba is still performed in international competitions today!


Samba emerged from Brazil and has gained worldwide popularity. A simple dance featuring forward and backward steps while rocking the body, this Ballroom dance is performed in couples—but dancers have the freedom to separate and perform a variety of stylized moves on their own as well. Brazilians also still perform the African influenced Samba, called batuque, which the known style is derived from. Unlike other Latin dance styles, the Samba has a specific hip choreography (while other dances let the hips flow freely).

The traditional Samba and the Ballroom Samba differ quite significantly, but it still has a lively and rhythmic style. Learn how to dance the Samba with our video tutorial!


The Mambo dance style and music became a worldwide phenomenon in the 1940s. It originated in Latin America, and its popularity eventually took over the United States, where the dance replaced the Rumba as the most fashionable dance at the time. The dance is frequently portrayed in pop culture, including in the classic film “Dirty Dancing.” It is exciting, sensual, spicy and characterized by the fast motions of the dancers. Let’s mambo!

Originating from the United States in the 1940s, Jive began as an African American dance style inspired by early forms of the Jitterbug and swing dancing. The Jive is similar to Rock n’ Roll dance but has a syncopated chassé in the choreography over time. Jive also encompasses a few other dance styles, including the ‘Boogie Woogie’ and swing boogie. After World War II, Boogie became the mainstream style of music, and the popularity of Jive began to really flourish.

Typically led by the male partner, the Jive has a basic six-count step. Counts one and two are the rock step: left foot back, then right foot. Counts three and four are Chassé to the left, and five and six are Chassé to the right.

Learn How to Ballroom Dance

Learning how to ballroom dance is easy with Howcast! Explore our library of free how to videos on your favorite styles—or learn them all!

For even more great dance videos, check out our main How to Dance page, or discover new styles in our guide to the most popular types of dance.

Tango is one of the most famous and influential dances in the world. Originating in Buenos Aires in the 18th century, tango brought together working class European immigrants, indigenous Argentinians and former slaves. As a result, tango has shaped Argentinian culture and society. The dance’s popularity meant that it quickly expanded out of Argentina, with several different styles developing in Europe and North America. With its rich history, tango is a fascinating tradition in dance which reveals a wealth of information about Argentina traditions.

Argentina traditions: The origin of tango

How to dance the tangoThe word “tango” or “tambo” appears around the turn of the 19th century to describe music and dance events organized by slaves. The first official use of the word appears in a statute from 1789, where Argentine authorities banned “tango” gatherings to oppress the working class. It wasn’t until one hundred years later that the word became commonplace.

The original tango dance was a blend of styles produced by the mix of cultures in the lively port of Buenos Aires. In the 19th century, thousands of young people arrived from Europe in search of a better life. In the Argentine capital, they lived side-by-side with former slaves and indigenous peoples. As a result, their traditions in dance and music began to mesh.

The development of Argentine tango

How to dance the tangoArgentine tango developed from the potent crucible of cultures in Buenos Aires in the mid-1800s. People from Spain, Italy, England, Poland and African nations lived alongside native Argentinians to create new Argentina traditions. It was this meeting of cultures that created the Argentine tango. Influenced by flamenco, polka, and numerous traditional African dances, tango became a byword for “the music of immigrants.”

By the later 1800s, tango had become popular with Argentinians of all social classes. Tango became the traditional dance during conventillos parties. These gatherings took place in large houses inhabited by several families that included large open spaces for dancing. Accompanied by solo guitar, the dance became an Argentine household staple. Alternatively, couples would dance to orquesta típica. These small bands would include violins, piano, flute, a double bass, and the bandoneon or “tango accordion”.

Tango goes global

How to dance the tangoToday, its commonly believed that the first professional composer of tango music was Juan Pérez, who penned songs like Dame la Lata (Give Me My Pay). However, this is a controversial topic, as its likely that there were other less well-documented composers before him. For instance, other popular early tango compositions include Andate a la Recoleta and El Tero.

By the end of the 19th century, tango was so popular it began to spread across the world. People everywhere enjoyed the energetic dancing style and soon tango records were being sold all over North America and Europe. By the 1900s, over one thousand tango gramophone records were produced, alongside countless new tango musical scores.

Now, tango is a dance that is synonymous with Argentina traditions. Continuing to capture the imaginations of dance enthusiasts and music lovers across the world, tango continues to develop and grow. Enduringly popular across Buenos Aires, there are still many places where you can experience this magical dance on your Argentine adventure.

In case you don’t already know, the origins of tango were in Argentina. However, tango began to spread worldwide very quickly. In fact, nowadays Tango is a great success in the dance halls of many cities around the world.

It is true that Argentina is the best country to learn how to dance tango, but there are already many world cities that have welcomed tango and it has gained a lot of popularity.

In this post, we have made a selection of some of the 5 best cities in the world to dance tango, starting in Buenos Aires, then New York, Paris, Barcelona and ending in Japan.

So you know, you don’t have to travel to Argentina to learn or dance a good tango. Wherever you are, there’s always a place for you to keep dancing!

Ready to discover new destinations and dance?

#1- Tango in Buenos Aires

It could be said that you can dance tango in practically any corner of Buenos Aires, as the city is full of tanguerías (a place to learn to dance tango and dance in a ballroom).

I’m sure you must be thinking that choosing a school from so many options in this beautiful capital is a challenge, isn’t it?

Don’t worry, we will share 5 options to learn to dance tango in Buenos Aires: the milongas (which are dance halls or events where people gather to dance and usually offer classes before the start of the event), the Viruta, the Cathedral, the Confitería La Ideal, and you also have the option to take private lessons.

And if! Even in its streets you can enjoy and appreciate a good tango. In the most touristic areas there are dancers giving incredible live tango performances. Would you like to see a live performance?

In addition, in Buenos Aires there are many places where Tango shows and performances are held. Very popular among its locals, as they have a great passion for its music and dance, and also among its visitors and tourists.

Visiting the city of Buenos Aires and not seeing a tango show is like visiting France and not tasting its wines and cheeses. Isn’t that right?

We would like to recommend you one of the most famous and great clubs in Buenos Aires, Señor Tango, with a capacity of up to 1000 people to enjoy and enjoy live tango shows. In this incredible place you can have dinner and at the same time enjoy a good tango show. Are you going to miss it?

Tango in the streets of Buenos Aires

# 2- Tango in New York

In New York, not only is Hip Hop danced, tango has also reached the streets of the famous big block.

Tango lovers can now also enjoy the possibilities of learning the traditional Argentinean dance in New York as you can see here. From learning the basics of tango to the most advanced classes.

In addition, New York is a very large city that offers a wide variety of opportunities for locals and tourists, so the option of going out to dance tango in New York for the more knowledgeable, beginners or those who like to discover a dancing city, is also within your reach.

Don’t miss it! Because there are also rooms where live Tango shows are held. Visit NYC Argentine Tango Co. among other venues. Enjoy the sensuality of tango combined with the lights, architecture and great buildings of New York.

Tango in the streets of New York City by

# 3- Tango in Paris

Paris, the city of romance and the famous and renowned Eiffel Tower, is also the capital that opened the doors to Tango at the beginning of its international expansion.

According to the origins of tango, Paris was the first capital city to receive tango shows and hence its great recognition and enthusiasm worldwide.

Paris is a city full of life, magical corners and lots of dance. The style of tango, so elegant and sensual, fits perfectly between the streets of Paris.

Besides being able to dance in nightclubs and take tango lessons in Paris, in the summer season there is a very guinguette atmosphere in Paris. Do you know what it is? They are outdoor snacks in which you can dance.

Join the 19th district, Rosa Bonheur gives rise to snacks in which you can eat, drink and dance Tango in the open air.

Don’t forget to visit this fantastic place and enjoy a good tango with its bars!

Dancers Fernando and Valeria dancing Tango in Paris

# 4- Tango in Barcelona

Barcelona is a city that is much loved by locals and tourists alike. I’m sure you love it too!

However, not only is it a favourite destination for tourists, but Barcelona has also gained much interest for dance lovers, as it is a place that has many schools, dance halls and multiple options for dancing and enjoying.

Although no, Spain is recognized as the country of flamenco and sevillanas, however, many other dance styles are also danced in Barcelona, including Tango.

Barcelona has more than 25 dance schools where you can learn tango and there are portals like go&dance and that promote tango dancing. Choose the one you like best to learn how to dance tango or to continue improving your technique!

We would like to recommend you some of the most recognized rooms to go out and dance tango in Barcelona: Original Tango – Graciela and Osvaldo – La Yumba Tango and the Milonga del Mar Tango in Barcelona. However, you can always visit our ballroom page in Barcelona, filter by “Tango” dance style and go out dancing.

Tango Show in Barcelona at Milonga del Mar

# 5- Tango in Tokio

It is so curious to think that a dance style has been able to reach so many places in the world. And yes, Tango is also danced in the streets of Japan. As Tangocity says, starting with Tokyo, its capital.

Tango was first installed in Tokyo thanks to Megata, who set up a free dance academy where she taught the Japanese community how to dance tango. As a result, the tango began to expand and more and more people spread tango in the Japanese style, and several tango orchestras and ensembles were formed.

Nowadays, tango is very popular in Japan. This is due to the fact that during the Second World War the diffusion of jazz music was prohibited.

Midori and Brix tango dancers from Tokyo. Source

Some of the most important places to learn to dance tango according to are: Tango Night in Tsukiji-shijo, Club Tanguisimo, Luna de Tango Puro Tango.

Don’t forget to stop by one of these places if you visit Tokyo!

Dancing is a good way to meet and spend time with locals, without the need to speak the local language. Dare to tango the Japanese way!

We hope you liked our selection of the best capitals to dance tango.

As you can see, regardless of whether a dance style has its origins in a region, today all styles have spread, and dance has become a new form of expression, a new way of connecting with people and a new way of connecting with society.

Now you know, wherever you are you can always enjoy a tango dance and find a community that shares your passion: dancing.

Would you like to share your experience dancing tango in one of the above mentioned cities or a brand new one?

We would love to know where you have danced tango. Leave your comment, we will be happy to read your story, answer it and share it.

Posted on Last updated: April 11, 2020

How to dance the tango

Marquee for the Tango Porteno dinner show

Intimate, intense, and sexy, the Argentine tango is a world away from the salsa I’d learned in Colombia.

If I had any hope to learn the tango in Buenos Aires, it’d require throwing out everything I knew from salsa, and starting from scratch.

Well, that’s not exactly true. Developing my salsa skills over the previous three years taught me what does and doesn’t work when you want to learn a new style of dance. And it all begins with a good teacher.

1. Find a Good Teacher

Enter Maria José Grattarola, the former tango teacher of Benny Lewis.

She began learning the tango in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo in 1995 and has well over 10 years of experience teaching the dance.

Ever since I’d referred Benny to my salsa teacher in Medellin, I’d been looking forward to taking lessons with Maria José in Buenos Aires.

How to dance the tango

Small group lesson with my tango teacher (far right)

2. Invest in Private Lessons

Confident in Benny’s recommendation, I reached out to Maria and scheduled my first private, one-hour lesson.

They may be more expensive ($50/hour) and more intensive than group lessons but I guarantee you’ll learn faster.

Plus, you can usually get a discount by booking four or more classes at once.

This was especially important for both Benny and me, as we were counting our time in the city in weeks, not months or years.

I met Maria José at a shared studio space in downtown Buenos Aires one afternoon.

I could immediately tell she was passionate about the dance, and her passion began to rub off on me.

She warned me, right from the start, that once I got a taste of tango, I may soon forget salsa.

I brushed her comment off, but as she began showing me the proper posture, and basic steps, I realized she might be right.

Dancing tango felt overly formal, yet incredibly intimate. The intimacy is bred by the close proximity with which the partners dance.

There’s a subdued sexual tension I never experienced with salsa or any of the other Latin dances.

The hardest part, by far, was trying to keep my upper body still. In tango, the man leads with his chest.

It’s a concept that takes some getting used to and the best way to do that is practice.

How to dance the tango

Tango demonstration at La Viruta

3. Practice, Practice, Practice

You can take all the private lessons in the world, but becoming an expert at dancing with a teacher who can anticipate your moves, and recover from your mistakes, won’t help you when it comes time to dance with new partners.

This is especially true for men, whose job it is to lead the woman for the duration of the song.

In Buenos Aires, the venues where people come to watch and dance tango are called milongas.

There are tons of them, enough for anyone to go out dancing to a different one every night of the week.

And at the hostels, you’ll see at least one girl a night leaving for a milonga, tango shoes ($100/pair) in hand.

La Viruta Tango is one of the most popular milongas, especially for beginners.

They offer group tango classes Tuesdays through Sundays. Simply check the schedule on their website, and show up at your preferred time.

I went with Michael Tieso one night. Arriving early, we actually went through a Rock ‘n Roll (Swing) class, before getting to the introductory tango class.

The class was given in Spanish, which made it all the more helpful that I’d already taken one or two private classes on my own.

How to dance the tango

Practice time and social dancing after the group tango lessons at La Viruta

Another way tango differs from salsa is the movement of everyone on the dance floor.

Couples dance the tango in a counter-clockwise rotation, whereas with salsa, you generally stay in the same area for the whole song.

This extra dynamic makes tango that much harder to learn. If you’re not moving forward, it’s only a matter of time before another couple bumps into you.

The milongas in Buenos Aires can vary greatly, from great beginner spots like La Viruta to more austere, old school places where you dare not step on the dance floor as a beginner (lest you mess up the rotation for the more experienced dancers).

To emphasize again, you can spend thousands of dollars on private lessons, but unless you get out and practice with a variety of partners, of all skill levels, shapes, sizes, and ages, you’ll be limiting yourself.

I limited myself. For a variety of reasons, some personal, I didn’t give tango my all while living in Buenos Aires for six weeks.

I knew from salsa that if I wanted to reach a certain skill level, it’d take years of dedication, and dancing with hundreds of different partners.

It was only while trying to learn the tango that I truly realized how much time and energy I’d dedicated to salsa.

And there was no way I wanted to go through that process again to gain proficiency at tango, at least not unless I was learning with a girlfriend, versus a wide array of strangers.

Below is a video from my final private lesson, capturing the results of my six-week attempt to learn the tango in Buenos Aires.

The song is “Al Compas de un Tango” by Ricardo Tanturi.

Maria José Grattarola offers individual and group tango lessons.

She can be reached via email at [email protected] or by cell phone in Buenos Aires at 15-5734-7795.

How to dance the tango

Dave is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Go Backpacking and Feastio, a food blog. He’s been to 65 countries and lived in Colombia and Peru. Originally from New York, Dave now calls Austin, TX home. Read the complete story of how he became a pro travel blogger.


Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:

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Home » How to Learn Tango in Buenos Aires

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

Thursday 31st of January 2013

What a fabulous post. Dancing the tango in BA should be on everyones Bucket List!

Thursday 31st of January 2013

I could almost feel the excitement watching the video. Would love to learn to tango. Learning it in the right environment would no doubt bring it to life! Sounds amazing.

Wednesday 30th of January 2013

Tango has more sexual tension than salsa? I suppose it depends on how the man leads, and I must say this makes me more interested to return to Argentina. 😉 Great post.

Wednesday 30th of January 2013

Much more. To me, salsa is sexy because it’s exciting. Sure, you can dance to the romantic slow songs, and get a bit of that same tension, but the formality and closeness of tango is what really makes it feel different.

Tango originated in Buenos Aries and really the best exponents of the dance are Argentinian, so it is hardly surprising that looking back at the World’s Best Tango Dancers the list is dominated from people from South America. Our list contains names which are the most prominent in the field of Tango dancing, names such […]

The World’s Best Tango Dancers

Tango originated in Buenos Aries and really the best exponents of the dance are Argentinian, so it is hardly surprising that looking back at the World’s Best Tango Dancers the list is dominated from people from South America. Our list contains names which are the most prominent in the field of Tango dancing, names such as Ada Cornaro and Antonio Todaro are legendary in the tango world and all.

Tango originated in Buenos Aries and really the best exponents of the dance are Argentinian, so it is hardly surprising that looking back at the World’s Best Tango Dancers the list is dominated from people from South America. Our list contains names which are the most prominent in the field of Tango dancing, names such as Ada Cornaro and Antonio Todaro are legendary in the tango world and all highly respected dancers from Argentina.

Ada Cornaro

One of the leading lights of theater and dance in the 1930’s and 1940’s was Ada Cornaro, she was a highly well-known film and theater actress as well as a talented dancer of the tango. Her fame rocketed when she appeared in the massive hit film in 1930 Adios Argentina, starring alongside legendary Argentinian actor Libertad Lamarque. Notable films that Ada Cornaro featured in where, Aspasionadamente, Asi te Quiero, Academia El Tango Argentino and Alas de mi Patria.

Maria & Carlos Rivarola

Carlos and Maria Rivarola are outstanding dancers of the tango, their style is distinguished and very authentic. Their routines are always highly choreographed and polished and is a fine example to students of the tango to follow. Carlos and Maria are classically trained in many dance forms although they excel at tango, they were enrolled in 1975 to a show put together by Nelida y Nelson touring Peru, Venezuela and Colombia and were smash hits. The couple also appeared together on the popular television dance program La Botica del Tango presented by Eduardo Bergara Leumann. Their popularity in the 1970’s and 1980’s was massive in Argentina, and it is worth noting that they were responsible for displaying the art of tango in Japan and created a dance show full of Japanese dancers.

Antonio Todaro

Antonio Todaro is famous in the notorious Buenos Aires club run by Celia Blanco, in fact Antonio’s pictures adorn the walls of the establishment as he is very much adored by the patrons. Todaro’s brilliance was in featuring more of the women in his dancing of the tango, when he danced the woman would also stand up and display her proficiency at tango. His dancing was based around precise and complex embellishments of the techniques of tango, which took over the whole dance floor.

Todaro’s version of the tango separated the man and the woman, and the dancing style was highly athletic and energetic, ideal for cinema or theaters. Todaro’s version of the tango is not strict classic tango style, he threw aside boundaries and created a spectacle for audiences. Some experts of the tango do not particularly agree with Todaro’s expression and version of the dance, but they would all agree that he was indeed a highly talented dancer who bought world attention to the tango. These people were all great exponents of the art of tango dancing, their styles of this classic South American dance were different but, in a way, to suit the expression of the dance. Tango is not about following a set pattern of steps, it lives in the heart and soul of the two dancers and encourages them to express themselves when they dance.

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Tango Lessons

Tango lessons? The first thing we think about when we hear “Tango lessons” is how to dance Tango. How to do the right steps. But Tango lessons can be much more.

Thinking about Tango lessons most people probably will have the idea of standing in a dance school with a Tango teacher explaining steps. Many will remember the Tango lessons in the Sally Potter movie.

Of course all these ideas are not wrong.

How to dance the tango

Tango lessons? The first thought most of us have about Tango lessons is being in a Tango school with a Tango teacher explaining some Tango steps.

Yet Tango lessons doesn´t mean necessarily talking about dancing Tango and Tango steps.

In Argentine Tango the music is considered the most important thing. So Tango lessons could mean discovering Tango music. Listening to different styles and rhythms of Tango music from different eras of Tango.

Tango lessons could mean getting to know the culture that created Tango. Discovering the habits and rules that go along with this culture. Finding out why they were made and which of them are still helpful for us today.

Tango lessons could mean to improve your self confidence by learning how to dance Argentine Tango.

Tango lessons could also mean to discover how to improve your ability to make right decisions quickly by learning how to dance Argentine Tango.

Maybe Tango lessons will provoke some thoughts about Tango beyond the clichés often to be found.


How to dance the tango

The dancing emerged in an improvised fashion, but since the very start, it has been decisive for the tango. This is a very personal and suggestive dance that lies on rhythm, unlike the music based on melody. Another singular feature is that, when the tango is danced, while the legs draw figures on the floor, the torso sets a different movement.

At the beginning, it would emulate some steps from the candombe and the dancing couples, instead of approaching each other, would get away from one another following the rhythm.

The rhythm of tango is based on a 4/8 beat and dancing it only takes walking this basic nucleus of four steps following the rhythm. Figures can be added, but the most important issue in order to be a good dancer is to “walk the tango” and that means within the rhythm.

The tango has a soft undulation and a bold rhythm. It is not danced at will or with stiffness.

Shortly after becoming well-known, the compadritos took it to the Corrales Viejos neighborhood and the tango invaded the piringundines where the traditional milonga was already being danced. Real parties would be held there and many of these places were quite popular for their good milongueras, such as “the” Carmen Gуmez, who would dance in a hovel near the old Lorea Square.

How to dance the tango

The boldest and most skillful braggarts were the ones who used to dance the tango not only with their feet but also with their knives.

Tango dancing used to be learnt by trial and error and the steps were practiced in order to be performed before an audience. Later on, learning tango passed onto the family and, by the 1970s, parents would teach their children, big siblings to the younger, and aunts, uncles and cousins would exercise their steps dancing with one another.

In 1904, Casimiro Ain and his wife showed off as tango dancers at the Уpera Theater. They were followed by distinguished dancers such as Ricardo Gьiraldes, Florencio Parravicini, Jorge Newbery, Benito Bianquet and Tito Lusiardo, among some of the eldest.

As a result of dancing, the tango reemerged in 1913 after its first crisis, when it succeeded in Paris and Rodolfo Valentino danced it in a scene of the movie “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. It also experimented a new impulse in 1985, when the Tango Argentino Company, made up by Juan Carlos Copes and Marнa Nieves, Nйlida and Nelson, Gloria and Eduardo, Mayoral and Elsa Marнa, Virulazo and Elvira, Marнa and Carlos Rivarola and the Dinzels, trimphed at Broadway with a memorable show. Created and directed by Claudio Segobia and Hйctor Orezzoli, it was presented all throughout the United States and Europe and let the tango be brandished as an international artistic performance.

Carlos Gardel was the one who fostered the passing of tango from the feet to the voice when, in 1917, he sang the first tango, which was called ” Mi noche triste ” (My Sad Night). But that is a different story.

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Marvil (Elizardo Martнnez Vilas).
Music: Elнas Randal.

What do the stuck-ups,
the emaciated and the fops know,
what do they know what is tango,
what do they know about rhythm?
Here is the elegance,
what a look, what a silhouette,
what an appearance, what an arrogance,
what a class to dance.

This is how the tango is danced,
while I “draw” a figure eight,
for this fancy footwork,
I am like a painter.
Now here is a run,
a turn, a sitting.
This is how the tango is danced,
a tango of my flower.

This is how the tango is danced,
feeling in the face,
the blood that raises in each beat,
while the arm,
like a serpent,
coils around the waist,
that it is going to break.

This is how the tango is danced,
mixing the breath,
closing the eyes
to hear better,
as the violins say to the bellows,
why from that night,
Malena sung no more.

This is how the tango is danced,
while I “draw” a figure eight,
for these fancy footwork,
I am like a painter.
Now here is a run,
a turn, a sitting.
This is how the tango is danced,
a tango of my flower.