Some Tango Technique Tips From My Classes

There are common mistakes that beginners and intermediate dancers make, which I find myself correcting over and over in every class. If they are not corrected early on they can become bad habits and linger for years. This is something I have had to work on in my own dancing, so I want to make sure others correct their technique faults as soon as possible!

  • In tango, the rule is weight changes onto alternate feet, so if you have just stepped with the left foot, your weight should be on the left foot and if you have just stepped with the right foot, your weight should be on the right foot. When you collect (bring the other foot next to the foot that just stepped) you DO NOT change weight onto that foot unless it is led by the leader with a weight change.
  • Followers, when you are led to do backward ochos, please remember to pivot first. I have noticed that for the first back step, followers tend not to pivot but just to step back into the ocho. This can wrench the knee and is unsightly. Pivot first with feet together, then step.
  • Leaders, you probably know this and will read it everywhere, but please don’t row with your left arm. Keep the arm in a firm but relaxed position and just let the trunk and shoulders move to lead your partner. Think, holding a violin pose or flexing your  biceps in the mirror pose. Do not transgress into your partner’s side of the embrace.
  • Leaders, think ahead and remember to take the correct size side step for your next move so that you are well positioned for walking outside to the left, outside to the right or straight in front of your partner. Often leaders twist their hips because they took too small a step, or perhaps they can’t complete a sacada (foot or leg displacement) because they stepped too big.
  • Followers, relax so that your partner doesn’t feel you are in a hurry to move. Wait for his next marking to move without tensing in anticipation.
  • Leaders, remember to lead the follower with a marking in good time. This means before you step, if you will be stepping together. Especially important if she has to pivot before stepping. She needs time and warning. Also, remember to give her time for weight changes, and keep in mind where her axis is at all times so you do not disturb her balance.

That is all for now, Happy Tangoing!


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