There is no question that Tango dancing is a pretty sexy ballroom dance to learn. Spinning and dipping and whisking your partner off her feet sounds pretty hot to me! So what does it look like to start learning a dance like the Tango? And can anyone just walk in off the street and start dancing? We were lucky enough to be able to ask some of the instructors at our local Fred Astaire Dance Studio those very questions. Here’s what they had to say.
Jill: I have had many students come in asking to learn to Tango dance specifically. I think when people see the passion and sophistication of the dance in movies or on TV it becomes an irresistible dance to want to learn. Dancing the Tango has always had a kind of intrigue, even back in the 1900’s when the dance was starting to become very popular. The close body contact and movements were considered improper for theatre or ballrooms. Eventually, like everything else the popularity of the dance made it impossible to stop and it became a widely accepted form of partner dancing.
Stephen: A few of the things I like to teach brand new students is frame and connection to your partner and a few basic steps that will get them feeling the tempo and character of the music. People often think that you need a partner or significant other to learn to dance and that’s simply not true. Couples that come in wanting to learn together have a great time, sharing an activity together or maybe a date night. But if a single person comes in and wants to learn we just pair them up with an instructor. Often times the student dancing with the teacher will learn faster anyway by feeling the correct movement through the instructor’s body.
Jackie: I think sometimes people see the Tango danced on Dancing With The Stars or in a movie like Take the Lead and think, “oh that’s too complicated, that looks too hard, I could never do that” etc. But really, I always tell people that if you can walk, you can learn to dance. You don’t have to show up on your first lesson looking like a pro, that’s like not starting the gym until you lose enough weight. Everybody has a first lesson everyone starts in the exact same place, at the beginning. The only question is how good could you be if you started yesterday.
Anna: I have taught wedding couples to Tango for their first dance. As the teacher I love it because it allows me some freedom to be creative with music and movement. I really enjoy choreographing a routine because I can put some fancier movements like a lift or a dip that really require each person to know their part. Sometimes, I think people assume that what they see in Hollywood is the only way to dance. Big and flashy choreography that the man just instinctively knows how to lead and the woman miraculously knows how to follow. For the most part anything that you’re seeing on television or the movies has been choreographed and the couple has spent hours and hours rehearsing. No one looks that smooth without plenty of practice.
Miguel: I find it very important to teach students how to social dance. Social dancing is really how they are going to learn the skills of leading and following and build their own balance. When you are learning to dance with many partners you learn not to anticipate the next movement and really start to live in the moment. Every movement becomes a communication between the partners. They have to learn to speak and hear each other’s language. It really is very beautiful to see people learn to speak in such a primal and uncomplicated way. Martha Graham said, “dancing is the hidden language of the soul and body”.