Argentine Tango School

Author: Marcelo Solis

I was born in Argentina. Through my family and the community that saw my upbringing, I have been intimately involved with the culture of Tango all my life, and have been an Argentine Tango dance performer, choreographer and instructor for over 30 years. I profoundly love Tango dancing, music, and culture, particularly that of the Golden Era. I am a milonguero.
Marcelo Solis dancing Argentine Tango with Mimi in the San Francisco Bay Area

To dance well in Argentine Tango

To dance well in Argentine Tango

Marcelo Solis dancing Argentine Tango with Mimi in the San Francisco Bay Area

To dance well, that is to say: to DANCE, we will have to organize our lives in that direction; I will not be able to dance well if my life develops away from that goal.
Indeed, if what I long for is, for example, to make money, then my life will be oriented in that direction, in the direction of abstractions (money is an abstraction), very far from my actual body.
 

Put any project on this scale and consider how far the primary goal of that project will be from performing a good dance.

No one is forced to dance well. Truths, life projects, and desires cannot be the same for everyone.
 
I am inclined to think this way: when I reach the end of my life, what would I like to see in the wake left by that life?
 
Imagine all the possible lives we could lead. Let’s try to think and feel them, weigh them, smell them, look at their colors, and measure the scope of their luminous skyscrapers of triumphs and black abysses of awful flavors.

Perhaps we all live in different worlds, with the things and people we surround ourselves with. A life could thus develop in the direction of a choice of one’s own world in which to inhabit.
 
I think that perhaps a good way of living would develop in the direction of becoming more and more capable of directing and selecting what goes into the process of our existence.
 
In particular, as far as I am concerned, I prefer what increases the power of my physiology, makes my body more versatile, adaptable, and happy, my mind more lucid, and my spirit lighter and dancing.
 
Here is the foundational question that is answered with living itself: How to live?
That would be dancing!
Should I ask myself “what for” and/or “for whom”?
 
We could also perhaps answer ourselves: “there are immediate, urgent things to resolve; we live at a precise moment in history which conditions us, that is, it enslaves us and forces us to do things that we would not do otherwise. Let us, then, postpone our plan, our life, until we have resolved the present and responded to all the obligations implicit in its calls”.
 
In particular, my truth concerning this is that we will eternally be bound by the present. We were born like this: OBLIGATED.
 
My opinion on this is the following: it is a matter of perspective; It depends a lot on where we look at life from and where we place ourselves –physically and spiritually– to look at it.
 
Let’s listen to the tango “Me quedé mirandola” by Anibal Troilo with Alberto Marino on vocals. (I ask you… Is there another version of this song that we can dance to?)
 
Sometimes people leave the dance; that is, they abandon the dancing project because they run into a barrier they don’t dare to cross. Although they always give themselves other excuses.
 
I have abandoned many of my previous lives to lighten up enough to be able to continue dancing.
 
And do not think that you will not find doubts about yourselves and the value of dancing!
 
There are many possible worlds, many parallel realities that cannot be accessed in any “objective” way, such as the achievements of science and technology.
 
Don’t you think you should dare?
 
But this is a matter of taste.
 
When I see someone who dances, who DANCES, I see someone free. His body is no longer “ergastulum“, as the Catholic Church used to say in the Middle Ages, meaning “prison of the spirit”, a spirit that must wait until death to be released.

When I see someone DANCING, I see his soul already free in life, no longer waiting, postponing, procrastinating life to perhaps one day meet that fundamental question not only unanswered but never asked.

Leer este artículo en español

Continue learning Argentine Tango:

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Anibal Troilo and his orchestra | Argentine Tango music to learn to dance

Argentine Tango music

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History of Argentine Tango: El Cachafaz and Carmencita Calderon at Tango (Movie 1933)

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Marcelo Solis dancing Argentine Tango with Lola at Milonga Parakultural, Salón Canning, Buenos Aires 2022. Photo Monteleone.

What is dancing Argentine Tango?

What is dancing Argentine Tango?

Marcelo Solis dancing Argentine Tango with Lola at Milonga Parakultural, Salón Canning, Buenos Aires 2022. Photo Monteleone.

Dancing Argentine Tango is to exist in completeness.

Taking ownership of your body, developing awareness and control of all that is generated from your body: your moves, your breath, your energy, your emotions, and your whole life.

Sharing with one another the greatness and imperfections of being alive.

Give and receive warmth, consolation, affection, and encouragement.

Partake in the joy of being mutually complicit in wittiness.

It is being part of a community of friends who share the celebration of this same joy.

Marcelo Solis with friend from the Argentine Tango community at Milonga Parakultural, Salon Canning, Buenos Aires 2022. Photo Monteleone. From left to right: Nestor Pellicciaro (director of Escuela de Tango de Buenos Aires), student, Fernando Hoffmann (milonguero and actor), Marcelo Solis, Blas Catrenau (great milonguero dancer and maestro), friend.

Marcelo Solis at Milonga Parakultural, Salon Canning, Buenos Aires 2022. Photo Monteleone.

Feeling fully alive because it challenges you to become better, since all the fresh sensations of the first encounter need to be continually re-enacted  by a deeper understanding of all human things.

More articles about Argentine Tango

Marcelo Solis answers what is Argentine Tango. He is an expert.

How to dance Argentine Tango?

An introduction to the most important details

Find the answer

Anibal Troilo and his orchestra | Argentine Tango music to learn to dance

Argentine Tango music

Music to learn to dance

Listen and dance!

History of Argentine Tango: El Cachafaz and Carmencita Calderon at Tango (Movie 1933)

History of Argentine Tango

Tango is a culture

Learn more about Tango

Enrique Santos Discépolo

“Uno” by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica with Héctor Mauré in vocals, 1943.

“Uno” by Juan D’Arienzo y su Orquesta Típica with Héctor Mauré in vocals, 1943.

Enrique Santos Discépolo, portrait.

Enrique Santos Discépolo

Poet, composer, actor and playwright. (27 March 1901 – 23 December 1951)

Discépolo’s work aroused interest in the field of thought.

The Spaniard Camilo José Cela included him among his preferred popular poets and Ernesto Sábato had no doubt in identifying himself with his pessimistic philosophy.

Another writer from Buenos Aires, Julián Centeya, when reviewing one of his films, talked of «philosophy in small coins», and at the same time was risking an analogy —undoubtedly exaggerated— between Discépolo and… Charlie Chaplin.

Read more about Enrique Santos Discépolo at www.todotango.com

Listen and buy:

  • Amazon music

  • iTunes music

  • Spotify

We are happy to have a collaboration with the people from tangotunes.com from whom some of you may have heard, they do high-quality transfers from original tango shellacs.

It is the number 1 source for professional Tango DJs all over the world.

  • Now they started a new project that addresses the dancers and the website is https://en.mytango.online
    You will find two compilations at the beginning, one tango and one vals compilation in amazing quality.
    The price is 50€ each (for 32 songs each compilation) and now the good news!

If you enter the promo code 8343 when you register at this site you will get a 20% discount!

Thanks for supporting this project, you will find other useful information on the site, a great initiative.

Ver este artículo en español

More Argentine Tango music selected for you:

We have lots more music and history

How to dance to this music?

Marcelo & Mimi Dancing Argentine Tango

How to become a good dancer –and keep getting better.

How to become a good dancer –and keep getting better.

I like to share with you my experience and advice. So let’s start with these exercises:

Change of weight

At the most basic, weight change is the fundamental core of all Argentine Tango moves. Achieving an efficient, elegant, and smooth control of it will bring these qualities to your whole dance.

Walking

Argentine Tango makes walking a work of art.

Basic box pattern

Argentine Tango is improvisation. However, choreographic patterns develop similarly to idioms in a language and as personal creations. This pattern we work on here is basic and will allow you to apply what you have learned before.

How to move?

It is often “how” rather than “what” that defines Argentine Tango.

Pivots

Pivoting most efficiently is an essential skill to dance Argentine Tango.

Body awareness

We can understand our walk and leg’s motion as a system of pendulums.

Constant improvements

Being a good dancer requires you to manage your time to maintain an active and aware relationship with your body.

Bar and chair exercise

Here are some of the best exercises you can do to improve your Argentine Tango.

Molinete

You need to know this to make turns when you dance Argentine Tango.

Explore your body’s possibilities.

Do what our life in our societies do not require us to do.

One of the appeals that Argentine Tango offers is the possibility of exploring our bodies beyond what we usually are required to do in our everyday life.

What are we required to do?

  • Sit.
  • Stand up.
  • Lay on the bed.
  • Walk (very little) and, occasionally, run.
  • Bend over to pick up something, which may be the most challenging move to do.

These simple actions –being very effective regarding productive activities– constrain our bodies, making our movements rigid, decreasing our elasticity, and developing the habit of not relaying in ourselves, always requiring outside help.

We lose awareness regarding the continuity between these positions.

We ignore how we transit from, for instance, sitting to standing up, and then walking, and then sitting again.

All our movements become clumsy.

Furthermore, we become rigid in our personas, losing the ability to adapt to changing situations, becoming stubborn, insecure, unfriendly, and prone to isolation. 

For example:

  • Replace sitting in all activities that require it with alternative positions.

I like to use a standing desk for office work, and I combine it with laying on the floor on my belly, on my back, on my sides, and crossing legs sitting on the floor or my chair.

  • When you need to stand up for a while: squat, bend over, stretch, do tree pose, etc.

Pay special attention to how you move from one position to another, making your moves fluid and aware.

Explore your spaces beyond their expected use.

It is common to fill our rooms with furniture and appliances that invite us to be still or impede our movement: couch, television, chairs, tables, etc.

I invite you to clear your rooms to make space for yourself.

Do not put yourself under unnecessary stress.

As well as we fill up our space, we fill up our time to the extreme of not having any time.

Give yourself time to enjoy the pleasure of existing.

Do not remain connected to the whole world all the time. Turn off your devices. Read the news one or two times a day and focus on your life plans more often. Give yourself time for good conversations with your partners, friends, and family. Read, listen to music in an active way (not as background music), watch a good movie once in a while, visit a museum, appreciate art and history.

Enjoy challenging yourself.

Do not force or exhaust yourself doing what you or others demand you do.

Enjoy your body.

Find all possible ways to give yourself joy by participating in your body’s existence.

Eat well.

Good meals are enjoyable.

Sleep well.

No more sleep deprivation.

Find a good teacher/instructor/coach.

Do not approach them trying to bargain. Instead, take whatever deal they present to you. Get to know the value they provide you before making financial assessments.

Do not depend exclusively on classes.

Instead, have your own routines, create your own exercises according to what you can find out about yourself, research -you have tremendous resources that you can tap thanks to the internet and smartphones-, develop your method, the one that suits you the best, without getting fixated to it, remaining open to evolving.

Eventually, show your teacher your work. It is always necessary to have the objectivity of an expert outside view.

Learn by allowing yourself to make mistakes and keep trying.

See all video lessons

Learn more about Argentine Tango:

Marcelo & Mimi Dancing Argentine Tango

Argentine Tango dancing with Mimi at Enchanted Tango Home 37

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