It’s time to tango! Few dances rival the passion and showiness of the tango, the dance that everyone associates with Argentina. Celebrity dancing shows like Dancing With The Stars and Strictly Come Dancing are popping up all over the world, showing us all that anyone can have a go, but where do you start? Try these useful pointers…
1) Listen to the music a lot to get the “feel”
Familiarity with music gets your body moving nicely to it, and feeling is everything with the tango; experts say that you must really learn to listen to the music before you start to dance. Do it whenever and wherever you can; in the car, at work, just before you go to sleep. If you find after a few weeks that you can’t stop listening, you may have just found a life-long passion Scuola di Tango a Roma!
2) Get comfortable with the basic steps to find you dancing feet
Tango as a dance is very free-form, based in improvisation. However, before you can let your feet do the talking, you need to train yourself in the basic moves and steps. To get helpful pointers and be surrounded by others to keep you motivated, find a local dance school or, even better, dance with someone who already knows it. Failing either of these, don’t let circumstances kill your passion; try finding instructional videos on the Internet, a much easier alternative to reading a list of foot movements or trying to decipher pictures.
Like everything in life, only regular practice will get you going smoothly, and tango is no exception. Beginners must devote lots of time to solo practice and it is widely acknowledged that big advances can, and must, be made in tango without a partner. As you “walk your miles”, try to move like you are already an excellent dancer; the dance is as much about attitude and communicating yourself as anything else. You may find yourself more convincing than you think! Also try and make your practice a regular commitment; it is common knowledge that the successful dancers are those that book a month of classes and show up to every one.
4) It takes two; find a partner
Once you’ve put in the time with your own steps, it’s time to get someone else involved. Even though tango isn’t a subtle way to meet people, make sure you dance with lots of different partners so that you don’t get lazy being accustomed to the way one other person dances; everyone is different, and if you are improvising you should be ready for that!
5) More practice; get out there and enjoy your dancing!
Hopefully if you’ve dedicated yourself regularly to the previous steps, you’ll have a group of people with whom you can go out and dance for fun, as well as knowing some good spots. The free-flowing aspect of the dance will come easier with time, as moves need to come automatically from “body memory” and not from actively thinking about them; this naturally only comes with a lot of practice.
Which style to learn?
Tango evolved in Argentina as a melting pot of cultural influences from world-wide immigrants that flooded into Argentina at the beginning of the 19th century. Lonely and looking for company in their new surroundings, the arrivals developed tango as a means to mix and express themselves beyond language. Thus, tango is a portrayal of Buenos Aires and its people. Over the last 100 years many different styles have evolved, including Ballroom, Social and Stage. Many consider the styles to be so drastically different that if you have learnt one, it won’t form a basis to help you learn another.
True or not, the best way to learn Argentinian tango is to follow it to the source. Numerous companies run entire tours based around exploring Buenos Aires through learning to dance the tango. As well as an unforgettable adventure, you’ll be sure of learning a pure-blooded form of the passionate, dramatic and beautiful dance that everyone wants to be good at.