Argentine Tango is not just a dance. . . it's an experience,
It is gaining a huge current popularity, with its ability to
combine PASSION, SENSUALITY and ELEGANCE within one dance. The
Tango is a feeling that is danced. That's why it is not
choreographed; though it can have natural sequences, like all
feelings. You can dance love, rage, happiness, pleasure . . .
every mood. The tango is not a dance to demonstrate ability but
rather an interpretation of feeling. It is not just moving your
feet, climbing over legs and posturing. Most pleasure can be
gained by endeavouring to make the dance a pleasure for your
partner, even if this is the first time you have danced
The tango is Argentine, but it belongs to all those who
understand its feelings and its codes. It is an intuitive and
spontaneous dance which is created "in the moment" utilising
variations and combinations of walking, turning, stopping and
adornments. As the couple moves with the flow of other couples
around the line of dance, the man provides his partner with
clearly marked opportunities for steps, figures and adornments
of varying tempo, size and energy, in a dance, which enhances
the excitement and unpredictability of the experience. Even
though certain rules and parameters must be followed, the
dancers can never truly predict how someone will interpret the
music, construct a dance, or embellish it. It really does "take
two to tango", because tango is more than just one leading and
the other following. Both partners are important contributors -
as with all good conversations.
Since bursting out of the salons & dance halls of Buenos Aires
in the late 19th Century, the Argentine Tango has evolved into a
popular dance form which has captured the hearts and
imaginations of people around the world. Tango requires
simultaneous surrender and discipline. The unspoken dialogue, as
partners are responding to one another's expressive
interpretations through the connection of their bodies, has led
to the description of this dance being a pure form of
communication - a conversation without words. Women and men
bring their own signatures to the THE ARGENTINE TANGO.
lessons are held at 7.30pm
at the Cosy Hall, Water Lane, Newport, Shropshire TF10 7LD every Friday
night. For all our activities - please see the
Because of the pleasure we have found in dancing
Tango, we are enthusiastic and passionate about sharing it with
anyone who wants to learn and experience the many facets of
We practice the social style of Argentine Tango. In contrast to
stage or 'medal' tango, the social dance is entirely improvised.
Our Skills Share and
Intro sessions are designed to have
you dancing socially as soon as possible. The emphasis is on the
'connection' between the leader and follower, musicality and
improvisation. Our dancers are of diverse backgrounds,
nationalities and ages and joined together by their shared
passion for the Argentine Tango.
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website, what we should improve and what you'd like to see and
read about. And to make it easy for you to come back and keep
up-to-date, we suggest you bookmark your Perth Tango Club
website. Let's dance tango soon.
Confusing for beginners - the word Milonga has more than one
1. - A milonga is one of the three dances in the Argentine Tango
portfolio - Tango - Vals - Milonga.
2. - Milonga is also used to refer to the dance venue or event.
Like the Ballroom or Ball.
Milonga - the dance - is often referred to as one of the
earliest form of the tango. Normally danced one step per beat.
Most beginners start in patterns of six step. It is usually more
upbeat than a tango - often danced to a quick rythm - but there
are some lovely slower milongas.
The term for a female Tango dancer using the very close
'Milonguero' embrace. The upper bodies of the dancers are
touching thus the steps and movements are less spectacular but
the communication between the dancers is much more effective.
The male equivalent of the Milonguera, being a Milongero became
a way of life for some Argentinian men who would spend their
life perfecting their own particular dance and just dancing -
often to the detriment of their families.
What is a Milonguero?
The following is an extract from a letter written by the late
Maestro Ricardo Vidort:
"To explain what is a milonguero, is really
very difficult, because the feeling of this beautiful emotion is
something new to each person. It is almost impossible to put
it in words. But I shall try to do it, and I hope without
offending or hurting anybody's feelings.
To be a milonguero, first of all you have your own style of
dancing. It means that you have a unique feeling for the
music, rhythm, cadence and embrace. When you have all this,
the music invades your body and mind and then, only then, the
chemistry begins that really makes you transmit to your partner as
if both were talking, whispering, sliding on the floor with sacadas,
corridas, turns, dancing only one for the other, not for the people.
In that moment, when both are listening to the magic of the music,
the skin of one in the skin of the other, the smell, the touch
produces the miracle of something like a mantra, and the ying and
the yang is there!!! We are dancing tango!!!
The priorities of a milonguero are the feeling and the woman.
The codes are like the commandments which were born with the tango,
and the music is defined in three parts. The first is a
question, the second is a pause or prologue, the third part holds an
answer. All this is in our feeling and this is why we always
improvise, having the pleasure of being ourselves, in our own style
with the rhythm and the cadence.
Today people teach in methodic ways, but the tango, the real
Tango Salon, does not have method, because it is a feeling.
Technique and choreography are only for performance, this is
tango which has been learned for hours for show business; there are
hundreds of couples doing the same thing, and only a few of them,
let us say ten or fifteen are really very good because they are
different and that is another thing.
Every tango dancer of the streets, those who practised in the
squares or parks, with other men, developed technique naturally,
without knowing it. His steps and feeling were a technique.
My advice is - walk, walk with your toe first and always in the
music, walk and practise to be yourself and not a copy of anybody
Ricardo Vidort, July 2004"
Much has been written regarding Tango shoes. Most will say that
Tango shoes should be leather soled as opposed to suede soled
ballroom dancing shoes. This has arisen because that is what the
Argentines wear. In Argentina it is rare for a Milonga to be
held at a venue with a sprung wooden dance floor; dancers often
find themselves in sports halls, restaurants, cafes and patios
or even grass. Any shoe that permits the dancer to pivot on the
ball of the foot on the floor in use at the time is fine. Most
dancers have leather soled as well as suede soled shoes so that
they can select appropriately for the venue when they get there.
Suede soles left un-brushed for a time take on the properties of
a leather sole. The important criteria are pivot easily when
turning; without slipping when stepping.
Perpetrators of the Argentine Tango are known as Tangueros.
Tanguero for male - Tanguera for female. Also see
In Buenos Aires the dances at a milonga are generally organised
in groups or 3 or 4 dances in a similar vein (a Tanda). There
may be several Tandas of Tango, one of Vals, another of Tango,
one of Milonga and so on. The Tandas are separated by a short
intermission (Cortina) - this can be a burst of a pop song, rock
number or a full dance of another genre (a Mambo say). At a
Buenos Aires milonga it is usual for a man to invite a lady to
dance the full Tanda (or all that remains of it). At the end of
the Tanda it is usual for the man to escort the lady back to her
table during the intermission. In the golden age, at most
milongas, the music was being played on records (and from the
50's on LP's) they tended to play a Tanda from one LP and hence
one orchestra. At TangoNewport we play the music from our
vast collections stored on computers - therefore we are able to
organise much more interesting Tandas. Few of the LP's had
4 consecutive 'great' tracks, but this is easy to achieve with
the technology at our disposal these days. We still aim to
present each Tanda with a common mood or style - but no longer
need to limit it to consecutive tracks from the same orchestra.
Our play lists for the evenings or other events cover most of
the repertoire - catering for most tastes - but with the
emphasis on genuine Argentinian music written and performed for
In Buenos Aires the Tandas are separated by a short
intermission (Cortina) - this can be a burst of a pop song, rock
number or a full dance of another genre (a Mambo say)
Much of this was taken from an American web site (www.inscenes.com/etiquette) - we have given it our own flavour.
guidelines of Tango dance etiquette are usually assumed to be well
known, but not often discussed. For new dancers, it's good to know
what's what so as to help avoid embarrassing, awkward, or unsafe
situations. As in any pastime - following some basic guidelines
can help maximize the pleasure of your Tango dance experience and that
of the souls around you.
Not The Dodgems. At a Tango milonga (dance), couples
dance counter-clockwise around the dance floor. In some places, with
large floors, there are slower "lanes" toward the centre. The
faster "lanes" are those toward the outside of the counter - clockwise
line of dance however, in TangoNewport, dancing in strict lanes is neither the
norm or encouraged. As you dance, refrain from cutting across
other dancers, cutting through the centre, or dancing backward to the
line-of-dance (into the oncoming traffic). In UK the venues are
generally not very large and it is therefore incumbent on the leaders to
leave space around them for other dancers and not to assume they have
right of way to overtake at any time in a 'fast lane'. The general
direction of progress (the line of dance) is counter clockwise but it is
not a route march. Buenos Aires Milongueros may take an entire
dance to traverse one side of the venue.
Clear The Deck.
If you are not dancing, please show
common sense and respect to those who are dancing by
not walking through the busy dance floor and by staying
clear of the dance space. For example, whilst others are dancing,
do not stand in the dance lanes and talk. On the dance floor,
available real estate is always in demand and constantly changing.
First priority goes to the dance and the dancers. Give the dancers room.
However, in narrow venues where tables are placed around the edges of
the dance floor; dancers should give consideration to those people
standing by their tables or in the process of rising or sitting. A
Milonga is a social event and social activities will go on around the
periphery of the dancing. Give the other guests consideration.
3. Teachers' Pests.
If you are trying to show your partner
a new step, move to a non-dance area for your demonstration and
discussion. At a Practica in particular, please conduct these
activities in the centre of the floor - leaving the outside free for the
normal dance traffic.
Safety First. The safety of your partner and
surrounding dancers is your first concern. Both leader and
follower should always be alert to the presence of other dancers in
front, to the sides, and behind to help avoid collisions. The
leader is responsible for 'Taking The Space' on a dance floor - so
should ensure that the space is available before invading it. If a
collision occurs, try to soften the effect by bringing your arms in and
stopping movement. Afterwards be polite and friendly, even if it
was not your fault (as if it ever would be!). To a large extent, dancing
on a crowded Tango dance floor is an exercise in avoiding collisions in
a safe, creative, and fun fashion - but do it to the music please.
5. Leg Sense.
No one likes being kicked,
run into, or stepped on; so on a crowded dance floor, avoid aggressive
movements uch as high boleos, hard-hitting ganchos, and leg
extensions. If you feel you are about to step on someone,
hopefully not your partner, try to not follow through with the stepping
action to soften the blow of your foot landing on another's.
6. Arm Sense.
Leaders keep your left hand
down and about shoulder height with your left elbow down and fairly
close to your side. You are (hopefully) not trying to look like
the 'Come Dancing' folk. It's not fun on a crowded dance floor
having to duck when another dancer swings around with their partner and
the lead's left hand is five feet in the air and inches from your nose.
7. No Showboats.
On a crowded dance floor, "showboating" in the outer lane is
frowned on since it usually stops dancers, coming from behind, making
forward progress; and it usually involves steps that are not safe to the
surrounding dancers, and probably not in keeping with the music.
Remember, it's not the Olympics or "show time", it's a social dance, so
relax and have fun. If you feel the need to do a little
showboating, move to the centre of the floor where you can stop and do
multiple ochos or molinetes, for example, and not hinder the anti
8. Collision Detection/Prevention.
For the leaders, if you absolutely must travel backwards to
line-of-dance, look to the rear first. For the followers, as
any dance pattern unfolds, be alert to dancers potentially in the
way and let the leader know of a possible collision verbally, by a
hand squeeze, or by pulling your partner closer, or all of these,
especially on a crowded dance floor. In the Buenos Aires
milongas most tangueros start by facing the outside wall. If
you are facing the outside wall a backward step is not against the
line of dance. They progress by using patterns of turning
steps that generally advance counter clockwise. They will
often take an entire Tango to cover one side of the dance floor.
9. Traffic Jams.
If a dance couple in front of you stops, then either dance
around them (if that will not inconvenience others), mark time or use
the techniques we teach at TangoNewport, to continue dancing 'on your
tile' until they move. Turning will generally avoid an
10. Backseat Drivers.
Followers, do not
back-lead. Not only does it make leading more difficult, but it
also makes it more difficult for the leader to avoid collisions. It also
detracts from the very essence of this wonderful dance.
11. Smile - You're In His/Her Arms.
to smile and have fun on the Tango dance floor. We hear that the
Tango police have stopped prosecuting for this.
12. Free Advice.
experienced dancers, try to set a good example for beginners: be
patient, polite and sensitive. It is acceptable to give
advice, provided it is asked for first, or provided you first ask
permission to make an "observation" or a "comment". Remember
you were once a beginner. A harsh or insensitive, but well
intended "comment" can still ruin someone's evening.
13. Getting Close.
but not nearly least: Argentine Tango is an intimate and elegant
dance. For a pleasant experience, good hygiene is essential;
we hope everybody bathes before dancing and uses deodorant. It
helps to use breath fresheners frequently, many Milongas provide
mints at the entrance desk. Minimal talking
while dancing; focus on the music, dancing and floor traffic.
Careful with the aftershave and perfume; some people are sensitive
to them. If you perspire, use a towel or handkerchief often.
People as a rule don't like dance partners that are walking wet
towels (in the literal sense.) So men, if you perspire
heavily, use a towel, take a break and cool down, bring extra
shirts, and change frequently. Try wearing a vest (under-shirt
for the colonials). Even in the steamy Buenos Aires milongas
many men wear jackets for the actual dances, removing it between
tandas. This is a social dance, go to the gym if you want an
aerobic workout. If you wear glasses, consider contact lenses
or removing your glasses while dancing unless you can't see where
you're dancing. Getting whacked in the head with someone's
glasses as they turn their head is not pleasant.
Whilst a Milonga is a social event - please,
keep your chatter OFF the dance floor. Whilst you may well feel
that what you want to say to your partner is the most riveting discourse
since the sermon on the mount, it is the last thing other dancers wish
to hear. Once a dance has started, if you are nattering you cannot
possibly be paying proper attention to the music, your partner, or the
other dancers around you. This is probably the single biggest and
most prolific sin at a milonga, whereas the odd bump may be easily
forgiven; constant nattering is just not acceptable and can totally
destroy the feeling of the dance for those unfortunate souls within
earshot who are subjected to your poor etiquette. Talk at the
tables NOT during the dance.
15. And Finally.
One last thing,
PLEASE, avoid jeans, tennis shoes, or other similar casual attire
when you go to a dance. Tango is an elegant dance; dress for it.
1999-2009 InScenes Magazine, All Rights Reserved. This
material may not be used in any manner without the expressed written
permission of InScenes Magazine.
As it was originally
conceived, tango nuevo was largely a pedagogic approach to tango
that emphasized a structural analysis of the dance in which
previously unexplored combinations of steps and new figures could be
found. Some of those exploring those possibilities gradually
developed tango nuevo into a style that is danced in an open, loose
or elastic embrace with a very upright posture and a great emphasis
on the dancers maintaining their own axes. Although some
advocates emphasize its structural analysis over specific figures,
some of the most identifiable figures of the style are overturn
ochos, cadenas, linear boleos and volcadas—most of which are best
accomplished in a loose or elastic embrace.