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Technique

Tango Poise, Hold and Frame

  • Starting position: stand feet together facing wall, keep feet flat, turn 1/8 to L, at the same time slip RF 2-3 inches back so that toe of RF is approximately level with middle of LF.
  • Lady's Left hand:
    • Fingers parallel to the ground, plane of hand perpendicular to ground, thumb sticking out from hand parallel to the ground.
    • Thumb is placed under the man's right bicep, the hand is positioned such that the fingertips are just touching the man's armpit.
    • The feeling is to press up and out, do not pull Man "in", want to go "out" to make it "big".
    • Hand position should not change/slide throughout the figures.
  • Lady's arm/elbow: for Left arm: think of "down, up and out"
    • put L upper arm "down" on Man's forearm.
    • put L hand "up" from beneath Man's upper arm
    • put L elbow "out" and really extend Man's elbow. L elbow down, do not point up.
      • (To counter balance this "out" - the lats (muscle under arm) has "in"ward motion - while keeping shoulder down.)
    • R arm is "in front of" body, while L arm is more inline with body. R arm should  never go behind the body.
    • Lady's L arm is Man's arm extension. Man doesn't need to make his R arm as wide as other dances.
  • Lady's head: face where her left wrist is (head does not need to pass elbow). Head is a little more picked up to give it Tango attitude.
  • Man's upper arms and elbows should make a smooth line, elbows in line with center of body.
    • Man's Left arm is bent at 89 degrees (smaller than right angle) to allow lady space to move further to her left than in swing dances.
    • Per book: The Man's R hand will be placed slightly further across Lady's back. Tips of his fingers reaching slightly beyond Lady's spine. Line of forearm sloping slightly downwards, achieved by rotating downward around the upper arm without breaking the line of the shoulder.
    • In practice: The main point is that the point of the man's elbow should be in the crook of the lady's elbow. The lady's elbow should extend the man's frame. In the context of the Promenade close, the lady should stick to the man's right side at all times. If Lady ever loses contact with his right side, Lady has no lead.
  • Frame: more compact than "swing" dances.
    • Body are slightly offset with your partner to keep 4 lanes for stepping.
    • Man and Lady are offset further than in swing dances. The compressed legs (slightly flexed) tends to decrease the size of the frame, the added offset compensates for this change.
    • Swing dances uses Sway to get around each other. In Tango, there is no sway, so you need the extra offset to get by each other.
    • Lady: stay "forward" with weight on foot, connect with partner.
    • Body weight should be just over the toes. Connect with partner, Don't lean back and make weight off the toes.
    • Connection is more solid in the hips in Tango than in the swing dances.
  • Line up 4 blocks of weight vertically: head, shoulder, rib cage, hip.
    • Do not lift up hip to line up with leg, do not let L hip stick out, do not sit back either.
    • You'd want the 4 blocks of weight lined up vertically (90' degrees to floor). Spine (tail bone) is vertical to floor.
    • Do not lower too much to start bending forward, do not stick butt out.
    • Use ab muscle to lengthen and hold the upright position.
  • Inviting lady to dance:
    • Man step LF forward at full height (it helps to keep good alignment - get head over LF)
    • draw lady in to dance position
    • Let Lady produce the line she's comfortable with, then Man's R arm molds around Lady's shape.
    • Then, transfer weight to Man's R foot and lower to get into Tango dance frame.
  • No Rise and Fall in Tango. Footwork is staccato, body movement is legato.
  • See Tango Walk technique.

Tango "Slow" Timing

The "Slow" has three possible timings. The step takes two beats.
  1. Step on 1, hold on two. e.g. Man move LF forward in walk:
    • LF forward on 1. RF is brought quickly to next to LF and hold to make movement sharper.
  2. Hold on the 1, and step on 2. This is the timing for Tango closes (e.g. end of Closed Promenade)
  3. Step on 2, with the moving foot moving smoothly through the whole step, like in the waltz or foxtrot. --> don't do this one in Tango.

Steps Preceding Promenade Figure

  1. Progressive Link   
  2. Walk on RF and place LF to side witout weight turning Lady to PP, count &
  3. Natural Twist Turn   
  4. Natural Promenade Turn   
  5. From Closed Finish: keep feet in place and turn Ldy to PP at end of last step, count &
  6. From Open Finish: as #2 above
  7. Four Step
  8. Fallaway Promenade
  9. Fallaway Four Step
  10. Oversway ending 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7
  11. Chase and endings 1, 3 and 4
  12. Five Step
  13. Contra Check

Tango Practice combination

Tango movements can be put in four categories: walks, swivels, kicks and flicks, line moves.

Start: (Lady's part)
  1. Walk  (S): 
    • RF back, outside edge, whole foot (LF front toe lifted when weight is on full RF.) Then lift LF to step next step.
  2. Walk  (S): 
    • LF back (lift and place), inside edge, whole foot (RF front toe lifted when weight is on full LF)
  3. Progressive Link  (QQ): 
    • RF back, strong CBMP, similar to walk - outside edge, then flat; LF back and slightly, LF is already pointing the right direction, inside edge, then flat, at the same time, swivel RF to point to PP position.
  4. Closed Promenade  (SQQS): 
    • lift and place RF forward, inside edge of heel, then flat; roll onto it; lift and place LF, outside edge, roll onto it, at this point, really stretch the R side of body forward, body is quite twisted; RF to side, inside edge, already turned to end position, roll onto RF while LF roll off and end on ball of front of LF; then lift and place LF close to RF, slightly forward.
End

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