Backstreet Tango



Of course these are my opinions, .

    In the basic level most of the patterns are single time and the patterns are in more linear in nature.  Almost all basic patterns or elements keep the dancer on his/her axis and each dancer maintain their own without throwing the other off their axis. Leads and followers will mostly use one form of the embrace during their dance. Most patterns are created around one or two basic elements.  This allows the beginner to join in on the dance floor and enable him/her to move with the rest of the dancers with out causing havoc.  

 In the intermediate patterns the dancer starts to take his/her partner intentionally off their axis.  The patterns start to rotate slightly and most patterns will incorporate at least one intermediate elements and one or two single elements. The tres pie or triple step is now introduced into the dance. Leaders will open up their embrace during the dance enabling them to accomplish more varieties of patterns.  Dancers start to dance to the to the phrases and the rhythm of the music, and implementing the different styles for each orchestra.

 In the Advanced Level of tango many patterns will incorporate various elements.  The patterns start having more rotation to them.  At this point the dancer will is playing with the rhythm and melody of the music. Both individuals will go on and off axis to accomplish the patterns.  The embrace will vary throughout the dance.





This is the criteria I use to determine a dancers level.

What level of dancer am I?

At this level each student can consistently maintain their axis and that of their partner.   They can complete first ten basic elements  in Argentine tango.


1. Back ocho (back figure eight)

2. Crusada (the cross)

3. Abrazo  (embrace),

4. Forward ocho (Forward figure eights)

5. Giro (Basic Turn to the right or left)   

6. Ocho cortado (the cut figure eight)

7. Paradas (stops) and Pasadas (Passes)

8. Cunita (check steps or rocking steps)

9. Mordida or Sanguichito (gently placing the followers foot between the leads feet)

10. Caminata afuera a la derecha (Outside partner right) 


Minimum Criteria for Intermediate Argentine Tango Dancer:


At this level each dancer can execute the following elements correctly on balance and with control. 


1. Calecitas (Carrosel or Ferris Wheel)

2. Molinetes (complete turns)

3. Boleos, Double Boleos (single and bouble Leg flicks)

4. Ganchos (hooks)

5. Amagues (checks steps)

6. Sacadas (leg displacements)

7. Vaiven (go and come or forward and back patterns)

8. Barridas (leg drags)

9. Pausas (Pause Patterns)

10.    Vueltas a la izquierda  (traveling turns to the left)



Minimum Criteria for Advanced Argentine Tango Dancer:

At this level each dancer can execute the following elements correctly on balance and with control.

1. Lapizes (pencils), Planeos

2. Volcadas (the Apilado when the lead intensionally accepts or invites the follower to lean off their axis more than normal)

3. Colgadas (To carry)

4. En espejo (Mirrored Patterns)

5. Empujadas (pushes), / tijeras

6. Enganches (leg wraps)

7. Enrosques (corkscrews)

8. Cangrejo (Crabwalks)

9. Saltos (lifts or jumps)

10. Rodeos (to pivot a person on both legs even weight or to walk around.

How many styles of Argentine tango are there and what are the differences?  There are about four styles. 

There is the traditional tango which is Milonguero style (compact close embrace).   There is Tango de scenario which is which is choreographed for performances.  Their movements are big and wide so they can be seen from afar. There is Tango de fantasia this style uses elements of other dances that generally would not be used in Argentine Tango.  The movements are once again big and showy for performance sake.  This style is often called International Argentine Tango which is taught in patterns and poses as in American Tango. There is Nuevo style which is pretty much the contemporary style which the hold and leads are generally from the arms vs the torso as in the milonguero style. Here to the movements are big and wide like stage performance tango although used in social dance events.  This style of dance is discouraged at many traditional tango dances because the movements generally take up too much space on mostly crowded floors.





What Level of Tango Dancer Am I

What distinguishes the different levels of Tango

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       How to Learn Tango


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