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Video:Tango Basics

with Simone Coonrod

Ballroom dancing might seem intimidating, but once you get the basics down, you'll be tangoing in no time. Learn from the pros about one of the world's most passionate dances, the Argentine tango.See Transcript

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Transcript:Tango Basics

Hello, I'm Simone Coonrod of SwingingWithSimone.com and we're going to be talking about the Argentine tango today. With Europe in economic ruins in the late 19th century, many Europeans were coming to Buenos Aires to find a better life. Tango began as an underground dance - it later moved to Paris where it was refined, and then has gone all over the world.

Basic Tango Steps

So, there are a couple steps that I'd like to show you. If you really break down the elements in tango we have forward steps, backward steps, side steps, pivots, and kicks. Now, these are not done in a pedestrian way, they're done in a very meaningful and elegant way, caressing the floor. As we pass through our center we bring our legs together and keep stepping––pass through the center, and step.

Tango Dance With a Partner

Tango is an improvised dance and it takes two to tango. So, I want to welcome Nathan Hescock from NYPartnerDance.com. With the embrace, both partners lean a little on the balls of their feet, and therefore we can feel each other's weight. Nathan will lead me in different moves, and I am listening to him, paying really focused attention and I go along with his lead.

So he just takes a little bit of pressure, but if he's very clear with his lead––and I'm listening––we just move. We have a nice connection here in the embrace that comes from the sternum and all the way across and I'm always paying attention to that as a follower. Again you saw our side steps and our forward steps and our back steps.

Argentine Tango: Ochos

We can also do ochos, which is very very tango. Very particular to tango is this "walking to the cross," where the woman is walking backward into the cross, and then this is how we exit, the salida. Do it one more time. Also we have grapevines, so we're going to be going around. Again Nathan is just leading me all the way around him, and again when we're doing these you can see the side, forward, and back walks that we talked about earlier.

Argentine Tango: Gancho

Also very particular to tango is la gancho, which is really lots of fun. In Argentine tango, it's like the ballroom dances that go counterclockwise around the floor––that's our path. So, again, this is a walking dance, and a conversation with real masculine/feminine qualities, and a lot of conversation with the legs and the feet, and listening.

We can go counterclockwise and we can do a variety of different walks, and also showing masculine/feminine qualities, there are sacadas, which are displacement of the feet. More or less, Nathan will invade my space, but then I will quickly get out of it and keep going.
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