Tango is ubiquitous in Buenos Aires, from porteños that dance in the streets to the local theatres and dance halls (milongas) where you will find diehard fans dancing to the tango beat until dawn.
Leaving the city without trying out the national dance would be a grave mistake, but like anything worth pursuing in life, it takes a lot of patience and practice to dance the tango well.
To become a good tango dancer in Buenos Aires, here are some tips as provided by a local tango dancer.
What Does It Take to Become a Good Tango Dancer?
The first thing you need to have is a passion for the dance. There’s simply no other way for you to get there.
It is impossible to dance well if you don’t first love it.
Also, you will need to find your own, authentic form of the dance without all the stereotypes. That’s the true challenge for the artist.
You will find many dancers who are both technically and musically skilled, but they are still mechanical. You will sometimes find a way of dancing that’s currently in fashion and dancers will often drive themselves almost to a point of exhaustion attempting to master it. However, such are not real artists.
The real artist is one that understands the rules of dance and dominates them as well as the technique while simultaneously experimenting to find their own, unique way of dancing.
You also must work hard and practice endlessly. Nothing comes for free in tango, just like it is in other aspects of life.
What Tips Would You Give To A Person That’s Learning To Dance Tango For The First Time?
The most important thing is to have fun. Avoid thinking about it too much and never allow other people to influence you. It is always important to follow your intuition because the tango is quite an intuitive dance.
You will get frustrated and perhaps even make a fool of yourself, but you should enjoy each step and each moment through out all aspects of your lessons. Otherwise, there’s simply no point. You should put in the effort as tango is a gift for life. Give it a chance.
Secondly, you should find a teacher that, above everything else, really inspires you. A good teacher should be somebody you like and motivates you even if he/she is somebody unknown and is not a famous dancer.
The relationship between a teacher and student is quite important. If you aren’t convinced and you feel as though they might not be on the same wavelength as you, consider finding somebody else.
Never give up dancing because of failing to connect. Give yourself another chance since it is worth the effort.
Do You Need To Have Prior Dance Experience To Learn The Tango?
No. The biggest tango dancers have never danced anything besides tango in their lives. Some of the techniques from other dance styles can be useful, but can sometimes be counterproductive if you are not careful.
Tango has a unique language, and the training usually varies depending on the teacher. Just about anybody can dance the tango because it is a dance that adapts itself to each individual dancer. There’s never a rigid structure.
The great thing about tango is that it evolves and adapts itself to the people that dance it. It adapts to the changes of the people as well as society. It has its own logic and form that sometimes has little if nothing to do with other dances. If you are able to walk and embrace, you can dance the tango.
How Does Dancing Tango Differ For Men And Women? Do They Have Different Roles?
Tango has two very different roles (leader and follower) that men or women can take on.
The man traditionally played the role of the leader and the woman that of a follower, but that’s changing and opening up many new perspectives for the dance.
Today, no distinction exists between men and women in tango.
What’s A Good Piece Of Advice For A Person Going To A Milonga For The First Time?
Firstly, if you feel uncomfortable, you are probably in the wrong milonga, so try a different one. Try maximising your experience. It does not matter if you do not attempt to get up and dance the first few times you go, but always observe the dancers around you and try understanding how it works.
If you finally decide to get up and dance, ensure that it is with a person that makes you feel good. Laugh if you make a mistake and apologise if you crash into somebody else without worrying too much about it.
Enjoy learning the tango, whether it’s on your own or with a friend.