Monday, August 1, 2016

The Difference Between Ballroom Tango and Argentine Tango

You can tell from their first words whether someone dances Argentine Tango or Ballroom Tango. Argentine Tango dancers will tell you they dance "Tango", in the same way Salsa dancers will tell you they dance "Salsa". Ballroom dancers will tell you they do "THE Tango", in the same way they will tell you they do "THE Foxtrot" or "THE Waltz".

 This semantic difference is very significant, because unlike Ballroom Tango, which has a set list of basic steps that pretty much everyone learns, and very specific standards for how to do them, Argentine Tango has no "basic steps" and no set standards. There are many different styles, many different ways to express the music, and all of them are Tango.

 In Argentine Tango there is no one true way. Heel leads? Sure! Ball leads? Fine! Big, sweeping steps? Lovely! Small rhythmic steps? Of course! Hands held at eye level or shoulder level, or overhead? All good. Bent knees, straight knees, upright posture or stick your butt out, head upright or inclined forward, all have their aficionados.

 We each dance our own Tango. The only truly universal principles are - connect to your partner, and connect to the music.

 There is no One True Way in Argentine Tango.

 And so we do not say "The Tango". We simply say "Tango".

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