So this thing called leading…

Annoyed CoupleSo this thing called ‘leading’ – it’s entirely up to the tango leader to get the follower to go where he wants when he wants, right? The leader is in charge, yes? There is also this other thing called ‘following’ where the tango follower only has to wait to be pushed around, to be given impetus and energy by the leader, correct?

Well, to observe some tango leaders and followers you might imagine this is the case, but it’s not right. I haven’t yet met a man in the whole world that can actually get a woman to do exactly what he wants her to, and it’s true in Argentine tango. Leaders can invite the follower to take a step in his favoured direction but he can’t force them to take it.

Remember that tango is a partner dance and leaders and followers dance in partnership. It really does take two to tango! 🙂

So leaders; allow your followers space and time to express and make adornments. You don’t have to step on every beat, or be in constant movement across the floor. If your follower wants to do a few adornments which might take time, allow it (she might even think you’re a better dancer if you do…), and followers;

if you see that your leader is inviting you into a recognisable figure such as an ocho or giro, please get on with it (while keeping an eye on his lead just in case it’s not what you think 🙂 ). For example, when a leader is stood on one foot trying to turn on the spot while leading you around in a giro, there isn’t much chance he’ll be able to give you energy and impetus as well, so you need to get on with doing the giro, while not getting too far ahead of the leader.

So to sum up, it’s a partner dance, each person has their own role and should be given assistance, space and time to carry it out. Each person is in charge of their own balance, axis and motive power and should not rely too much on the other to provide them (but there will be times… and that’s OK… occasionally…).

By working together you can make a dance seem wonderful. By working against each other, resisting a lead, not being clear in a lead, not allowing time for expression, the end of a dance can’t come soon enough…

Let’s have more wonderful dances! 🙂

Tango Around the World

I’ve been tangoing in a few places in Buenos Aires and around the UK, but not too many other places around the world (yet), so I put this page together so people can add their own suggestions of good tango milongas to visit while abroad. Let us know why you like the places you list, and so on.

So I’ll start you off with…

Buenos Aires, Argentina

There are loads of milongas in Buenos Aires, every night of the week. I have by no means tried them all but these are just a few I’ve been to.

Milonga Parakultural at Salon Canning

One of the longest running dance halls in Buenos Aires, it hosts classes from different teachers almost every night, followed by milongas. Although it’s the same dance hall, on different nights you get a different feel to the milongas because of the variation in patrons and music.

La Milonga de Los Zucca

This place is very unassuming from the outside as are many venues, but walk up the grand stairs and enter the dance hall and you are presented with lots of lovely people in very smart suits, lovely dresses, shiny shoes etc. You definitely want to dress snappily for this milonga.

Club Gricel

This milonga has a nice clubby feel about it, with it’s name in fluorescent lights over the bar. The patrons are just ordinary people like you and me out for a social evening and a bit of dancing.

Confitería Ideal

So you’ve just spent and hour or two in the centre of Buenos Aires trawling around tango shoe shops, trying some (all?) of them on. You finally bought a couple of pairs and desperately want to try them out… now! What could be better than a café just a couple of streets away that will serve coffee, tea, drinks etc. while you tango you’re way around their lovely historic ground floor, in your new shoes of course? The hard working waiter not only serves the tables, but is in charge of the music too! It’s a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours at the end  of a days shopping (or work day for the locals) before heading home.

UPDATE: Sad to say that just after I was in Buenos Aires in 2015, Confiteria Ideal closed for renovations, and as far as I know has still not opened again. If you know different, please update us in the comments.

Tauranga, New Zealand

OK, I admit it. I’ve never been to New Zealand. However I did meet three lovely friendly people, Brenda, Alex, and Richard, from this area (The Bay of Plenty) while on holiday in Buenos Aires. If they were representative of the people in that area, I’m sure the tango milongas in Tauranga must be some of the friendliest places to dance in the Antipodes. If you get down there, give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

Over to you. What are your favourite places to tango world wide?

“It’s not just a dance…It’s Tango.”

Yes, there is some choreography, there is technique, but much more than that, there is the pleasure which comes from sharing with a kindred spirit something beautiful and unique, but which lasts for only a few moments in time.

If you’ve been dancing tango for some time you’ll recognise what I’m saying. If you’re new to the dance you are in for a treat.

If you want to experience the Argentine Tango for the first time, or feel you would like to improve your existing Tango, please allow me to be your guide. Check our Classes page to see how we can help you on your tango journey.

One of the fascinating things about Argentine tango is that you can dance with the same partner, to the same tune, in the same environment, on two different occasions and produce an entirely different dance. While most tango dances contain recognisable figures or patterns of movement, there are no long sequences of learned choreography. There is only your mood, and your partners mood, your dance technique, and the music, which together produce ‘the next step’ at that instant in time.

The roots of Tango start in Buenos Aires, and if you have time (about an hour), watch this video to get a feel of what tango means to some of the legendary tango dancers of their day.

The wonderful thing about the people in the video is that they are ordinary people like you and me who came into contact with Tango (sometimes quite by accident), fell in love with it, and who loved social dancing. Any fame, or professional careers which they may have achieved sprung from their love of the dance.

So if you haven’t taken the plunge into Tango, start now. It might change your life!