Learn About The

An American Smooth Dance
(International Standard Dance)

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The Tango became popular in the brothels of  Argentina. As immigrants and gypsies from Europe, Africa, and ports unknown streamed into the outskirts of Buenos Aires during the 1880's, many gravitated toward the port city's saloons. Today the Tango  epitomizes the glamour and elegance of high society, with women in sleek glittering evening gowns and men in tux and tails.

The word "tango" comes from the Latin word tangere (to touch.)  Musical historians argue about the exact origins of the Tango music, it is generally accepted that the music is influenced by many nations--the rhythms of the African slaves--the candombe--beat on their drums (known as tan-go); the pulsing music combines the Indian rhythms with a Latin and Spanish musical expression.

The three major forms of Tango correspond to this musical influence.  The Argentine style is slow, slinky, sensual and very stylized.  The American style is a bit faster, very dramatic and "catlike", using 8 and 16 count patterns.  The International style is faster, with  more stacato action.


Staccato, dramatic, cat like, and stalking movements.

1. Staccato Movement (Step - Hold)
2. Progression around L.O.D. ---Line of Dance (imaginary line around a ballroom)
3. Dramatic steps, i.e. Fans, Flicks, Dips, Lunges
4. Upward Poise and Carriage
5. Use of Contra Body Movement
6. Crablike walking movements (Right Side Lead)


Forward Steps - Heel/Ball foot action

Back Steps - Ball/Flat or Ball/Heel

Side Steps - Inside Edge of Ball, or Inside Edge of Whole Foot

H/B      H/B      H/B      IWF     IBF


NOTE:  The Forward walk should be practiced with diligence.  The left foot steps across the right foot in CBMP, while the right foot steps forward with a right shoulder lead.  The left foot hits on the outside edge of the heel, while the right foot hits on the inside edge of the foot first.


American Bronze  30-32

International      32
Argentine    24- 28


American Rhythms use counts of 8 beats, or 16 beats for most variations (combinations of 8 counts)
For Example:

S          S          Q         Q         S

1-2       3-4        5          6          7-8
  T      A       N       G        O

There are many various counts that can also be used in the American style.

Note 1:  International elements use variety of counts:  1 or more slow counts for walks, 2 quick counts for links, etc.
Note 2:  Argentine elements also use a variety of counts and is a slower, sensual, passionate form of the Tango.
This content is intended as general information and should not be used in lieu of an actual dance class to learn the aforementioned dance.

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