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Tango Questions & Answers

Tango FAQs - General Q&A about tango

Either if you have been dancing tango for some time or just starting, there might be some questions you have about it, we explain this from our tango school point of view. Have a look and if you have any other question which is not answered on this page, feel free to write to us (contact us) and we will be happy to answer and add the question to the page*.


1 - Is argentine tango difficult to learn? | How hard is Argentine tango?

Tango is known as being one of the more difficult dances to learn, yes. The timing can be hard to master. However, everyone's body is different. Certain styles might be easier for certain people to pick up based on their anatomy. Learning Argentine tango can be hard or it can be easy, depending on your kinesthetic sense of movement, but no matter what, there will be work and a lot of hours involved. Most of those hours are of your choosing: When and where and how often to practice

2 - How long does it take to learn the tango?

About 3 months. But as a very rough guide a man will take about 3 months to be able to dance, and a year to start dancing semi-competently; a woman will take about half the time. Q: What do I need to do to start learning tango? A: A very good start would be to look for a tango class near where you live, and go once a week.

A: Ah, the old zen question: what is the sound of one hand dancing in the forest? How long it takes depends on your natural ability, how often you go (some go once a week, others – the ones that also go to Tango Anonymous - five times), whether you take private tuition, etc etc. But as a very rough guide a man will take about 3 months to be able to dance, and a year to start dancing semi-competently; a woman will take about half the time.

3 - What are the five most common moves of Tango dancing?

4 - Can I learn to dance at 50?

If you are asking yourself if it's too late to start dancing, the answer is NO! You're not too old, and it's never too late to start dancing. Even though it's easy to feel like you're behind in dance, the only thing that matters is that you start learning, and be active about training.

5 - Is it better to learn the tango by taking dance classes or by dancing at the Milongas?

They complement one another. When one takes classes, it shows the desire to dance and the milongas fulfill that desire. On the other hand, dancing in milongas is great opportunity to learn. We could use an analogy here, where classes being the weekly training and the milonga the league match. A footballer trains to play the match but also that match will bring challenges that could have never been trained beforehand. Milongas add big educative value but also a social environment to enjoy great music, drinks and a nice and friendly vibe where to spend the evening.

6 - As a leader: What should I focus on to let the follower enjoy the dance?

The follower

7 - Can you learn tango by yourself?

Aprender tango es un proceso de auto descubrimiento del cuerpo en relación con la música, el otro y el medio ambiente. Resulta esencial la capacidad autodidáctica del aprendiz. Ahora bien, sabiéndonos seres sociales, el tango se inserta en este colectivo a bajo la forma de danza social, por ende,  la interacción con el otro es esencial. En el proceso de aprendizaje de este nuevo lenguaje la presencia de un Tango Coach  puede resultar de gran valor. El mundo actual (en el que nos encontramos inmersos) es multidimensional. Por ello, además de clases de tango danza, existe un número de disciplinas complementarias que pueden favorecer al desarrollo de cada balarín como clases de Yoga, danza contemporánea, teatro, música, neurociencia y cualquier herramienta que integre las esferas en las tres dimensiones cuerpo, mente y alma. El proceso de aprendizaje es un camino individual y colectivo al mismo tiempo. Es necesario tomar consciencia de estas dos dimensiones ya que ser mejores bailarines tendrá un impacto en nuestro ambiente, comunidad, región y mundo.

8 - Do I need to have a partner to dance? | Can I do solo tango?

A: Absolutely not. You come, you ask/get asked, you dance. In fact the majority of tango dancers do not come with a partner - and though it is not a “singles scene”, of course like any sub-culture, relationships occur.

9 - I have two left feet, should I try tango?

A: Absolurely. The vast majority of those who learn dancing start out that way, and remain so, for a very long time. Don’t worry, one of your feet will change sides after about 2-3 months.

10 - What do I need to do to start learning tango?

A: A very good start would be to look for a tango class near where you live, and go once a week. You'll soon see if tango is for you - but give it some time. Once you know you are long term (aka addicted) you'll want to buy some tango shoes, but that can wait for a few weeks.

11 - As a leader, what is the minimum number of steps I need to know?

Question discussed widely in various forums on the web. Short answer: It is a matter of quality not quantity.

Followers usually ask simply for a nice embrace and walk to the music. On our opinion the resources are more on the musicality than on the movement, when the leader knows how to manage the pauses, tempo, dynamics. This is more important than how many different steps are performed. Thus, there is no number really: a nice walk and embrace, plus a series of rebounds and crosses would do the work perfectly.

Some comments from followers:

- The beauty of the tango encounter is in the feeling not the steps.

- It’s unfortunate that leaders feel they have to perform an intricate routine on the social floor in order to please their partners. Not so. If they put it in the context of making love to a woman, they might realise it’s not about the quantity but about the quality and feeling they have in the moment that matters.

- Balance, upper/lower body isolation, musicality and rhythm, and safety.

12 - What's all this 'connection' stuff in tango?
A: The connection in tango is that ultimate tanda experience; no one else matters other than you and your partner. Everything flows perfectly, without effort... the movement, the music, the physical contact, the steps. It is both intoxicating and addictive. Two bodies, one being. It’s rare, unique for everyone, but you know it when you’ve experienced it: when the song ends, and you want that embrace to continue...

13 - Should the lead press his head against the woman in close embrace?
A: I asked a few gurus about that one (as I certainly am not one), including a teacher. The answer was a resounding no. The man should dance stress free, without physical tension - requiring a tall, high stature. Moreover pressing the head against the woman forces her to have to tense back in an equal and opposite direction. Might look good, but perhaps should be avoided.

14 - How does a leader get into close embrace?
A: this is not verbal request but happens naturally in a dance.

15 - I am learning to lead but can't seem to remember my steps, what can I do?
A: take it easy and enjoy yourself - it's well known that leads take about three times longer than followers to become 'semi-competent'. Eventually - probably after about a year - it will click, and then the learning, and 'muscle memory', will be easier. Also, remember it is not just about the steps but about the music, the melody, the dance, and making your follower have a wonderful time.

16 - Shoukld I take private lessons?
A: the age-old question with no clear cut answer. Personally I found that even though I was taking weekly group classes and going to practicas/milongas, I did not really start to improve until I took private classes. There are a number of things private classes can give you: focusing on what you want at the rate you need; refining a move to the nth degree; and unlearning the many (many!) bad habits you picked up without even realizing it. If you can afford it, do it.


17 - What is the difference between tango and milonga music?

18 - Which modern tango song/orchestras are good for social tango dancing at traditional milongas?

19 - What are the best songs to social tango to?


Tank about main orchestras

2x4 to 4x4

What is the most famous tango song?

La Cumparsita

"La Cumparsita" is often considered the most famous Tango song ever recorded.

20 - What are the main characteristics of tango?

The tango can be identified by its rhythmic characteristics. It has: four beats in a bar. a syncopated ostinato (repeated) rhythm.
Its rhythmic characteristics include:

  • a fast 2/4 beat.

  • catchy melodies and rhythms.

  • syncopated rhythms played on a tambura (a double-headed drum)

21 - Which are the most popular tango orchestras?

22 - What are the differences between tango orchestras?

23 - How many beats does a tango have?


4 beats

Tango music is in 4/4 time (4 beats per measure), two upbeats and two downbeats (strong).



Tango vals has a rhythm of 3/4 time signature. This means that within a bar there are three beat units. The numbers 1-2-3 together represent a bar. 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3, etc.


24 - What is a tango rhythm?

Genre: Tango

It's usually in duple meter, meaning each measure has two or four beats. Each piece usually has two sections and the second section is in the relative minor or dominant key of the first section. ... One of the most well-known Tango composers was Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992).

25 - What is the main tango rhythm called?

Tango has two distinct accompanimental rhythms: marcato and síncopa. The most basic marcato in four literally marks the beat. Síncopa is an off-beat pattern that includes a number of variations. See the notated examples of marcato and síncopa below. “El choclo” by Ángel Villoldo (1861–1919)


26 - When did the tango dance originate?

(Link to a blog about history of tango - When / How Tango Started)

27 - Which country does the tango come from?

Buenos Aires

Tango is a dance that has influences from African, Native American and European culture. Dances from the candombe ceremonies of former African slave peoples helped shape the modern day tango. The dance originated in lower-class districts of Buenos Aires and Montevideo.

28 - Why is the tango so important to Argentina?

The soul of Buenos Aires is expressed through this song. The tango reflects its inhabitants' way of being and its folklore. ... They abandoned their sorrow to this music that became the world's symbol for Argentina, and Argentina's symbol for Buenos Aires

29 - How many styles of tango are there?

Did you know that there were different styles of tango? Well yes and now I will show you with videos of examples of the 5 styles of tango: the Canyegue, the Milonguero, the Tango de Salón, Tango Nuevo, and the Tango de Fantasía.


30 - What do female tango dancers wear?

Traditionally , tango dresses often have asymmetrical hemlines and many of them with various adornments on fringes and crochet. Most dresses have open tops that show cleavage. These dresses are regarded as very sensual, and dancers often spend a lot of time picking a right dress that best fit them.

31 - What shoes do you wear for tango?

What shoes do you wear for tango?

What kind of shoes do I need for tango? As a beginner, you don't need any special shoes to dance tango, but shoes with a leather or suede sole are preferable. Shoes with a hard plastic sole may do initially

32 - What do you wear for tango?

What should I wear for tango? For class and práctica: Wear comfortable clothes that let you move. Flowing skirts or capri pants are a good option for women. For men, jeans are fine or pants that are loose and allow movement.

33 - How do I choose tango shoes?

A: For lots of advice, see the Tango Dance Shoes page.


34 - What does the tango dance represent?

The tango dance is usually performed by a man and a woman, expressing an element of romance in their synchronized movements. Originally, the tango was performed only by women, but once it spread beyond Buenos Aires, it developed into a dance for couples.

35 - How do you know if someone is on tango?

36 - What do you call a tango dancer?

Milonguero (feminine; Milonguera) — Refers to those frequenting the milongas from the early 1900s to the present who were or are tango fanatics. ... A title given by other tango dancers to a man (woman) who has mastered the tango dance and embodies the essence of tango.

37 - What is the difference between tango and Argentine tango?

A striking difference between Argentine tango and ballroom tango is in the shape and feel of the embrace. Ballroom technique dictates that partners arch their upper bodies away from each other, while maintaining contact at the hip, in an offset frame.​

38 - Where do people dance tango?

Buenos Aires

One of the most fascinating of all dances, the tango is a sensual ballroom dance that originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the early twentieth century. The tango dance is usually performed by a man and a woman, expressing an element of romance in their synchronized movements

39 - Why do people dance tango?

While most dances are created to celebrate life, tango serves a different purpose. It is created by the least fortunate to shelter their sorrows. ... Tango is their refuge. The intimate, soulful, sensual and comforting nature of tango reflects and serves their deep, inward, human needs.25 mar. 2012


40 - I am a follower - How do I get more dances?
A: talking to some leads for advice here, and thinking about why some women get asked a lot, the answer is multi-faceted and common-sense: impart to the man a sense that you REALLY ENJOY dancing with him; be comfortable with how he leads and allow for errors (even a tiny sense of being 'judged', particularly for beginner leads, is acutely felt); be obvious that you are seeking a dance (a man may not want to interrupt your conversation); o, and wearing something sexy doesn't hurt either...


41 - I am a leader and have been declined - How long does the 'No' last for?
A: personally I think for the rest of the night, but other sources on the web say that that the 'No' is in place for at least a few tandas. Either way, if you are brave enough to ask again - and get rejected again - that's it for the night.

42 - I am a follower - Is it ok to decline someone I don't want to dance with?
A: the short answer is yes. The long answer is also yes... but at a cost - definitely for the lead, and possibly for the follower too. To illustrate: very recently I had an interesting chat to a lead with many years of experience under his belt. To my surprise, he told me that being declined in Buenos Aires so unnerved him that on one occasion he left a milonga after 15 minutes. Ladies, the experience ain 't pleasant! Had I been rejected when I was a complete beginner, I might not have returned to milongas for a long time, if ever. The converse of course, is that if a follower rejects an invitation - even if she WAS feeling tired, etc - the man may remember that unpleasant event as one to be avoided at all costs (ie with you). That's the chance you take.

43 - What defines the leader's and follower's roles in tango?

A: if you dancing the man's role, you must be confident, deliberate, precisely knowing what you want to do and what you ask your partner to do. You must hold her securely, as if this will be the last dance in which you are intimate with her. And most importantly, you must play with her, listen to her, watch her. What is she suggesting, what is she asking?If dancing the woman's role, you must interpret the leader's signals. You must quiet yourself and listen to what the leader is asking, hinting; and thus, flowing as a part of the other's body. If you are knowledgeable, at certain points in the dance, you may initiate as well. You may tease, your legs running up the length of his thighs. You can be in earnest, the gallant lady, the seductress.


44 - What is the cabeceo in tango?


The cabeceo is a cultural gesture adopted in Tango as the main way to invite for a dance. Have a look at this article on our blog that explains it more in details Blog: Art of Cabeceo


45 - Why would you dance in the ronda?
A: the ronda is the outer-most lane where dancers move counter-clockwise around the perimeter of the floor - in most milongas this is right up against the tables. The pros of the ronda is that you have more space and security; you have right of way. The cons include being bumped against the tables, and being forced along with the rate of dance, which is generally quite fast on the ronda. The reason dancers like it is the challenge: it takes more control and skill to dance well in the ronda. In addition it is a show, for you are in the direct view of the crowd.


46 - In what position should the man hold his left arm?
A: There is an excellent article on The Man Left Hand - no more can be added here.

47 - In what position should the woman hold her left arm?
A: There is an excellent article on The Woman's Left Arm - no more can be added here.

*some of this questions frequently ask on Google and some have been asked directly from you

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