Part 19 – The Essence of Argentine Tango

Lidia and Hector Legrand

If you are interested in learning more about Argentine Tango and Argentine Tango events in SaddleBrooke, please visit our website, where you can also read Parts 1 through 18 of this series.

What are the characteristics of Argentine Tango? For us here in the U.S., the characteristics of dance identified as Tango that spark our curiosity are dramatic poses and sensuous movements. This is what in Buenos Aires, the place where Argentine Tango was born, is called “Stage Tango” or sarcastically, “Tango for export.” Argentine Tango is a social dance.

Any Argentine Tango dancer will tell you that the essence of Argentine Tango is the music, the embrace and the walk.

The music of Argentine Tango dancing is most likely the music of the 1930s through the 60s without crooners singing the lyrics.

When a couple starts dancing they embrace, connecting in a comfortable posture maintained throughout the dance. All movements take place while maintaining this embrace.

Argentine Tango dancing is built on walking in style. Dancers walk keeping their shoe soles on the floor. Exceptions are allowed following rules of style. Dancers brush their feet in almost every step. Argentine Tango steps are smooth and assertive, varying with the beat of the music. The Argentine Tango walk is elegant and improvised. The nature of the steps depends on the space available, the music and the partner connection at the moment. Walking is not unique to Argentine Tango, but the manner of walking is.

Another characteristic of Argentine Tango that we have not mentioned before is the feeling. Someone said: “Argentine Tango is a feeling that is danced.” If there is no feeling, dancers are just going through the motions. What is the source of this feeling, this emotion? They are knowledge of the music, leading and following, the embrace and knowledge of what Argentine Tango culture is all about.

As soon as dancers start to choreograph theirs steps with routines that interrupt the walking, they are no longer dancing Argentine Tango.

Argentine Tango dancing starts in the heart sending messages to the brain. It in turn then sends signals to the body, creating the couple’s feeling of oneness.

If these elements of essence are not present, Argentine Tango is not being danced.

About the authors: Lidia and Hector are Argentina born U.S. citizens and SaddleBrooke residents founding members of SATS, chartered in both HOAs. They travel to Buenos Aires often to dance Argentine Tango, to participate in International Argentine Tango Festivals and to further refine their Argentine Tango teaching skills. 2015 is Lidia and Hector’s twelfth year as SaddleBrooke Argentine Tango Dance Instructors of both group and private students. They have been teaching Argentine Tango dancing for sixteen years. They also offer seminars and workshops on Argentine Tango Music, History, Culture and Cuisine. Hector has authored a book on Porteño Cuisine associated with Argentine Tango, available at Please visit their website