Learn Tango: Movements with A Sense of Urgency

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Introduction to Tango

Tango is an earthy, dramatic dance characterized by stalking or sneaking walks and a range of slow, slithery, and sharp movements. It features a modified dance hold with a compact, offset position and specific hand placements. The flow of movement is similar to other ballroom dances but with less urgency.

In Tango, the dance hold is modified from the normal closed-position Ballroom hold. The couple stands slightly offset, with the man’s right arm placed farther around the lady’s back, and his right hand’s fingers laying across her spine. The lady, instead of placing her left arm on top of his, hooks her forearm underneath his elbow and upper arm, with her wrist positioned directly underneath his arm, possibly in slight contact, and her palm facing inward.

The lady’s right hand and the man’s left hand are joined in an upper-hand clasp at approximately the lady’s eye level. In this hold, the man and lady may hold their left and right elbows slightly higher than normal, creating a more acute angle at the elbow.

This modified hold in Tango allows for a close and connected partnership, enabling the dancers to communicate and lead/follow movements effectively. It adds to the intense and passionate nature of the dance while maintaining the counter-clockwise flow of movement around the dance floor.

The modified hold in Tango not only facilitates communication and connection between the partners but also contributes to the unique character of the dance. The compactness of the hold creates a sense of intimacy and intensity, reflecting the passionate and dramatic nature of Tango.

The offset positioning of the couple in the hold adds to the distinctive Tango aesthetic. It allows for greater freedom of movement within the embrace, enabling the dancers to execute tango walks with a stalking or sneaking quality. These walks, unlike those in other ballroom dances, have a distinct flavor that combines slow, slithery movements with sharp and staccato actions like foot flicks or head snaps.

While Tango shares the counter-clockwise flow around the dance floor with other ballroom dances, it often has a slightly diminished sense of urgency. This characteristic lends Tango a unique rhythmic quality, with movements oscillating between slow and deliberate to quick and emphatic, creating an enthralling dance experience.

In summary, Tango’s modified dance hold and its specific characteristics, including stalking walks, slithery and sharp movements, and a slightly less urgent flow, contribute to its earthy and dramatic nature, making it a captivating and distinctive dance style within the realm of ballroom dancing.

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