Argentine Tango School

Argentine Tango exercise follower's basic cross by Mimi

How to dance Argentine Tango exercise 2: follower’s basic cross

How to dance Argentine Tango exercise 2: follower’s basic cross

Let’s practice the basic cross, in which your left leg crosses in front of your right leg when walking backward.
Although leaders and followers can make crosses in Argentine Tango, we focus here on the follower’s cross.
This position appears for the first time in the close embrace partner’s dances in the Argentine Tango’s choreography.
I like to imagine the first milongueros making this move never seen before, with an air of innovation and defiance.

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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.


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.


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.


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.

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Argentine Tango dancing by Marcelo Solis and Mimi at Water Pulgas Temple in San Francisco California

Mastering the Art of Argentine Tango: A Roadmap to Dance Excellence

Mastering the Art of Argentine Tango: A Roadmap to Dance Excellence

Marcelo Solis dancing Argentine Tango with Mimi at our beginner class.

Building Your Tango Foundation: The Power of Solo Practice and Musicality

Regular practice incorporating walking, weight changes, pauses, pivots, turns, “paradas” (stops), “calecitas” (merry-go-rounds), and embellishments serves as the cornerstone of your dancing freedom.

The best part? You can enhance these crucial elements without a partner by your side.

But that’s not all. Argentine Tango demands solo dedication in various aspects.

Musicality, for instance, plays a pivotal role in your tango journey.

To hone your musicality, immerse yourself in active listening to Tango music, delving into the intricacies of what you hear.

This newfound understanding will elevate your dancing to new heights.

The forthcoming tips are universally applicable, whether you’re engaged in solo practice or dancing alongside your partner:

1- Enhance Your Walking Skills:

Unlock the Potential in Your Walking Technique Initiate your practice sessions focusing on walking.

Explore four different walking speeds: regular, fast, slow, and very slow.

Begin by mastering the slow pace, allocating 4 counts for each step.

Next, dedicate time to practicing at a regular pace, aligning your steps with each downbeat of the music.

To work on fast-walking skills, engage in what’s commonly referred to as the “corrida.”

This involves walking to a rapid rhythm following a quick-quick-slow pattern or a down-up-down sequence.

Tango invites you to transform your walk – and, by extension, your entire life – into a masterpiece of artistry.

More walking exercises…

2- Change Of Weight:

A ‘change of weight’ is essentially a nuanced form of walking. It takes place in one spot without any physical displacement.

When you begin your dance, consider incorporating at least one change of weight to infuse elegance into your movements. However, avoid excessive changes, as moderation is key.

Here, you’ll discover a selection of exercises aimed at refining and enhancing your ability to execute seamless changes of weight:

Approach these changes with a composed demeanor. When dancing with your partner, your execution of this element should convey a soothing and serene presence to them.

More change of weight exercises…

3- Pauses:

Pauses rank among the paramount components of Tango.

While honing your techniques, actively seek instances where you can incorporate pauses.

For instance, consider incorporating a pause during a salida to the side, also known as a “salida in 2,” as a prime example.

You can make a pause in position 3:

After change of direction:

4- Pivots:

To refine your pivot technique, you can commence with bar exercises.

In the absence of a bar, utilize a chair, preferably one with a high backrest, to assist in practicing forward and backward ochos. Place your hands on the back of the chair for support.

Afterward, push your limits by practicing ochos without relying on the bar or chair for support.

Work on forward and backward ochos with both displacements and without any displacement during your practice sessions.

5- Mastering the Art of Tango Turns: A Guide to Five Essential Techniques

One of the most effective methods for enhancing your turning abilities in Argentine Tango is through chair exercises. These exercises provide an excellent platform for refining your technique and balance, making them valuable to your practice routine. Incorporating chair exercises into your training regimen can significantly improve your turns and elevate your overall dance performance.

Chair exercises offer a controlled environment where you can focus on the precise mechanics of turning. They allow you to work on your posture, balance, and footwork, which is essential for executing smooth and graceful turns in Tango. The support provided by the chair also ensures that you can practice safely and confidently, gradually building your skills.

Find a sturdy chair with a high backrest to get started with chair exercises for turns. Position it in an open space with ample room to move around. Here are some essential exercises you can incorporate:

And exercises involving the 1-2-3 structure of the turns:

Ensure that you practice all exercises in both clockwise and counterclockwise turning directions.

Engage in chair exercises but without the use of an actual chair.

Another element frequently incorporated into turns is the “rulo.”

And “enrosques” movements:

6- Exploring the Technique of “Paradas” (stops):

Developing control over both your own inertia and your partner’s is a crucial skill in Argentine Tango.

A valuable practice method is to challenge yourself to halt your movement at any point within the first five elements previously mentioned.

A classic illustration of stops is the “sanguchito” or “mordida” move:

7- Unlocking the Elegance of the “Calecita” in Argentine Tango

In this element, the follower must align her axis over one of her feet, enabling the leader to maintain a continuous pivot in one direction.

See an example:

8- Elevating Your Tango with Exquisite Embellishments:

A solid foundation in your dance forms the basis for its beauty.

Think of embellishments as a natural expression of your well-honed technique rather than mere add-ons or flashy movements.

It’s crucial to understand that no matter how many embellishments you incorporate into your dance, if your foundational walk is lacking, it will detract from the overall appeal.

Embellishments should seamlessly emerge from the groundwork you’ve laid in your dance practice. They are not isolated tricks but rather an integral part of your dance vocabulary, enhancing the elegance and expression of your movements. So, focus on building a strong foundation first, and let embellishments naturally enrich your dance as an organic extension of your skills.

Here are a few instances of embellishments, starting with “Cepillo” (brush):

“Rulos” (circles):

“Cross and go”:

9- The Art of Musicality:

Elevating your musicality involves actively immersing yourself in the world of Argentine Tango music.

Listen to Tango music now!

Osvaldo Pugliese, Argentine Tango orchestra.

Important Considerations to Keep in Mind:

Embrace regular and mindful practice.

Ensure it fills you with joy. By prioritizing your own enjoyment during practice, you cultivate generosity in sharing this joy with your dance partners and fellow dancers on the milonga and class floors.


Dancing shouldn’t be daunting – It’s a journey of joy, creativity, and self-discovery.

Dancing is your time for amusement, self-expression, and relaxation, a chance to socialize and unwind in a friendly environment. To dance with a sense of freedom and confidence, you’ll need to embrace a challenge greater than Tango itself – the journey of classes and practice sessions.


Prioritize self-care for peak performance in your dancing.

    1. Incorporate stretching and regular exercise into your routine.
    2. Cultivate healthy eating habits and ensure adequate sleep for enhanced dance performance.

To Summarize:

Dancing Argentine Tango offers a path to not only organize your life but also to empower yourself and discover meaningful life goals.

Ultimately, it’s a journey towards making life more beautiful.

Learn to dance Argentine Tango

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Enhance Your Argentine Tango with These Dance-Improvement Exercises

Enhance Your Argentine Tango with These Dance-Improvement Exercises

Tango exercises are not just drills but the stepping stones to becoming a proficient and expressive dancer. They empower you to navigate the dance floor with grace, musicality, and confidence, ensuring that every Tango experience is joyous and fulfilling.

The Art of Pauses: Elevating Argentine Tango with Moments of Stillness

In Argentine Tango, pauses hold a unique significance. They are not mere dance breaks but essential elements that add depth and meaning to each step. Pauses allow dancers to breathe, connect, and infuse emotion into their movements. They provide the canvas upon which the dance unfolds, creating moments of suspense, anticipation, and connection between partners.

Pauses also showcase the mastery of control in Tango. It’s not just about the steps; it’s about the spaces in between. These moments of stillness offer a chance to savor the music, communicate with your partner, and convey the subtlest nuances of the dance.

In essence, pauses in Argentine Tango are the punctuation marks that transform a series of steps into a compelling and expressive conversation between dancers. They remind us that sometimes, the silence speaks the loudest in the language of dance.

Mastering the Artistry of Pivots and Ochos in Argentine Tango

Pivots and ochos are fundamental elements in the captivating world of Argentine Tango, contributing to its unique charm and elegance. These intricate movements hold great importance in technical execution and artistic expression, making them essential components of any Tango dancer’s repertoire.

1. Pivots – The Essence of Control: Pivots in Tango are all about control. These graceful, pivoting turns require dancers to maintain their axis while executing precise footwork. Pivots allow the dancer to change direction, transition smoothly between steps, and gracefully navigate the dance floor. They demand balance, core strength, and a deep connection with your partner. Mastering pivots enhances your technical prowess and adds finesse and sophistication to your dance.

2. Ochos – The Art of Figure Eights: Ochos are elegant, figure-eight-shaped movements that can be executed both forward (ochos adelante) and backward (ochos atrás). They are the embodiment of fluidity in Tango. Ochos allow dancers to create beautiful patterns, effortlessly gliding across the floor. These movements are visually captivating and serve as a means of communication between partners. They convey intention, invitation, and connection.

Why Pivots and Ochos Matter:

  • Expression and Musicality: Pivots and ochos allow dancers to express themselves artistically. When executed in sync with the music, they become a rhythmic conversation with the melody, adding depth and emotion to the dance.

  • Connection: These movements require a strong connection between partners. Leading and following pivots and ochos fosters trust and intimacy, creating a profound bond on the dance floor.

  • Versatility: Pivots and ochos are versatile and can be incorporated into various Tango styles and choreographies, making them essential for both social dancing and performances.

  • Technique and Precision: Mastering pivots and ochos hone your technique, as they demand precise footwork, body alignment, and control. This technical proficiency enhances your overall Tango skills.

In summary, pivots and ochos are the heartbeat of Argentine Tango. They epitomize the balance between technique and artistry, control, and expression. As you delve deeper into the world of Tango, you’ll discover that these movements are not just steps but pathways to a deeper understanding of the dance’s soul. Embrace the beauty of pivots and ochos, and let them lead you on a mesmerizing journey through Argentine Tango.

Turning the Pages of Emotion: The Art of Turns in Argentine Tango

Turns in Argentine Tango are a captivating and essential element that adds flair, dynamics, and intricate patterns to the dance. They are not just a series of rotations but a language of expression, communication, and connection between dance partners. Here, we explore the significance and beauty of turns in Argentine Tango.

1. The Poetry of Rotation: Turns in Tango are akin to poetic verses. They infuse the dance with a lyrical quality, allowing dancers to convey emotions, stories, and nuances through their movements. Each turn is a sentence in the partner’s dialogue, filled with anticipation, grace, and passion.

2. Connection and Trust: Turns testify to the profound connection between the lead and follow. They demand trust and communication as the lead subtly signals the direction and speed of the turn. The follow, in turn, responds with grace and precision, ensuring a seamless rotation. This synergy between partners is at the core of Tango’s magic.

3. Versatility and Creativity: Turns come in various forms, from the classic “giros” to the more intricate “boleos” and “sacadas.” This versatility allows dancers to express their creativity and adapt their movements to different Tango styles, music, and moods. It’s a canvas for self-expression and exploration.

4. Musicality and Rhythm: Argentine Tango music is rich in nuances, and turns are a means to interpret its melodies and rhythms. Dancers use turns to accentuate musical accents, pauses, and crescendos, adding layers of depth to their dance. The ability to synchronize turns with the music is a mark of a seasoned Tango dancer.

5. Technical Mastery: Mastering turns in Tango requires technical precision. Dancers must maintain proper posture, balance, and footwork to execute turns smoothly. This attention to technique enhances the dance’s aesthetics and contributes to its safety and fluidity.

6. Building Complexity: As dancers progress in their Tango journey, they delve into more complex turns and sequences. These challenge their skills, expand their repertoire, and keep the dance exciting and evolving.

In conclusion, turns in Argentine Tango are more than spins; they are the language of passion, connection, and artistry. They transform the dance into a mesmerizing conversation between partners, where every turn is a sentence, every step is a word, and every dance is a captivating story. So, the next time you step onto the Tango dance floor, remember that in each turn, you’re not just spinning; you’re painting poetry with your feet and sharing an intimate dialogue with your partner.

Elegance in Motion: The Art of Embellishments in Argentine Tango

In Argentine Tango, embellishments are the delicate brushstrokes that transform a simple dance into a captivating work of art. These embellishments, also known as “adornos” in Spanish, are intricate foot and leg movements, often executed by the follower, that add depth, passion, and nuance to the dance. Here, we explore the significance and beauty of embellishments in Argentine Tango.

1. Expressive Flourishes: Embellishments are a means of expression in Tango. They allow dancers to convey a range of emotions – from sensuality to playfulness, from longing to joy – through their movements. Each embellishment is like a whispered secret, a subtle message shared between partners.

2. Follower’s Creativity: While the lead guides the dance, embellishments allow the follower to showcase their creativity and artistry. Within the structure of the dance, followers can add their personal touch, making each performance unique.

3. Enhancing Musicality: Embellishments are intimately tied to the music of Argentine Tango. Dancers use them to interpret the music’s melody, rhythm, and dynamics. This synchronization between movement and music elevates the dance to a higher level of artistry.

4. Connection and Sensuality: Embellishments enhance the connection between dance partners. They create moments of intimacy and sensuality as the follower’s leg caresses the leader’s leg or foot in a gentle, expressive gesture. These subtle touches heighten the chemistry on the dance floor.

5. Variations and Complexity: Embellishments come in various forms, from the classic “boleo” (a leg sweep) to the “gancho” (hooking of the leg). As dancers progress, they explore more intricate and complex embellishments, adding depth and sophistication to their Tango.

6. Adapting to the Moment: Embellishments are not pre-planned; they are a spontaneous response to the music and the energy of the dance. This adaptability keeps the dance fresh and exciting as dancers connect with the present moment.

7. Fusion of Technique and Artistry: To execute embellishments gracefully, dancers must combine technical precision with artistic flair. This fusion of technique and artistry exemplifies the beauty of Argentine Tango.

In conclusion, embellishments in Argentine Tango are the brushstrokes of passion, the notes of poetry, and the whispers of emotion. They are the language of connection and sensuality, a shared secret between dance partners. As you delve into the world of Tango, remember that embellishments are not just steps; they are the heartbeats of the dance, adding depth and magic to every step on the dance floor.

In the enchanting world of Argentine Tango, the dance often unfolds like a beautiful narrative, with each step revealing a new chapter in the story. One such captivating chapter features the sequence of backward ochos and turns, a combination that embodies the essence of grace, precision, and artistic expression in Tango.

Backward Ochos: These elegant figure-eight movements, known as “ochos atrás,” see the follower gracefully tracing patterns on the dance floor while moving backward. They require a delicate balance between pivoting and stepping, with the leader guiding the follower’s every move. Backward ochos are not just steps but a lyrical conversation between partners, filled with anticipation and connection.

Turns: Within this sequence, turns add a layer of complexity and intrigue. They provide a twist in the tale, inviting dancers to rotate gracefully while maintaining their connection. These turns require technical mastery and an intimate partnership as the lead and follow navigate the dance floor with finesse and precision.

Why It Matters: The backward ocho and turn sequence embodies the heart and soul of Argentine Tango. It symbolizes the partnership’s ability to communicate through movement, to interpret the music’s rhythms and melodies, and to create a dance that is both dynamic and emotionally resonant.

Musicality: As with any Tango sequence, musicality plays a crucial role. Dancers must synchronize their backward ochos and turns with the music’s ebb and flow, accentuating the melody and rhythm. This harmony between movement and music elevates the dance to a higher level of artistry.

Emotional Connection: The sequence of backward ochos and turns invites dancers to share an intimate connection on the dance floor. It’s not just about steps; it’s about the unspoken dialogue between partners, the chemistry that ignites as they move together.

Versatility: This sequence can be adapted to various Tango styles and choreographies, making it a versatile addition to any dancer’s repertoire. Whether dancing socially or performing on a grand stage, the backward ocho and turn sequence allows for creative expression.

So, as you embark on this enchanting Tango journey, remember that each backward ocho and turn is a page in your dance story, a moment of connection, and a canvas for artistic expression. It’s a sequence that embodies the beauty, passion, and magic of Argentine Tango, inviting you to dance with your heart and soul.

Argentine Tango is a communal art form where you can admire beauty and contribute to its creation. It represents a holistic worldview expressed through dance, music, poetry, and philosophy. It is a pathway to artistic expression rooted in your unique life experiences.

In the realm of Tango, you dance not just with your body but also with your thoughts and emotions. It becomes a personal invitation to share your artistry and demonstrate the possibilities within each of us.

I find great joy in using my dance as an invitation for others to join to embark on this transformative journey. I’m passionate about assisting anyone who wishes to explore this path, as it allows us to collaborate in enhancing our lives collectively.

Argentine Tango, at its core, is not just a dance but a shared adventure of self-discovery and creativity.

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Marcelo Solis dancing Argentine Tango with Mimi at our virtual intermediate class.

Argentine Tango class on change of direction and pause, a different “salida”, “calecita”, and “planeo” variation.

Argentine Tango class on change of direction and pause, a different “salida”, “calecita”, and “planeo” variation.

Argentine Tango virtual classes, private lessons, and on-demand video tutorials.

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