How to dance to the music: The basics

Musicality is a wide topic that touches on many different aspects of tango dancing. Here we will look at the practical problem: what you actually need to do in your dance to make sure you are moving with the music.


Six important first steps towards getting your dance closer to the music:

  1. Learn to step on the basic beat of the song by just walking in the dance direction by yourself (tango first, then vals and milonga).
  2. With a partner, learn to walk a few steps on the beat, then stop, then find the beat again.
  3. At the beginning of a song, listen to the music to find a good moment to start, and stop dancing when the music stops.
  4. Learn some rhythms, such as quick-quick-slow or quick-slow-quick-slow, perhaps by clapping your hands first and then using the tempo of your steps. Try rhythms to different songs to see where they fit in.
  5. Listen for phrases in the music (using a tango with lyrics can be helpful, since the singer will often take a breath between two phrases). Learn to take a break at the end of a phrase, and to start walking at the beginning of a phrase.
  6. Learn how to adjust your dance to the general feel of a song, so that e.g. a romantic tango is danced with loving gentleness, while a hectic tango is danced with energy.

The items of this list are all essential as a base to develop musicality in dancing. Note that all of them require some listening and some doing. Enjoy!


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