Argentine Tango

The Apex of  Improvisational Partner Dancing

Argentine Tango is wrapping up our 2nd six week series. David is traveling to Ireland during April.

But we will start up again the 1st week of May. Depending on the # of new students and the # of continuing regulars, we will adjust the schedule to accommodate both groups. Therefore, the exact hours between 6 and 9 pm will remain flexible. Classes will  run 6 weeks; the class fee is $90. Preregistration is requested.

We have our eyes set towards exploring Tango Waltz and other light-hearted Tango forms. This will be a great time to bring your friends!

Dan's Classic Ballroom will have our first (maybe even Oak Harbor's very first) official Tango Milonga on Saturday, April 10, 7 PM.  David will provide more nuggets about the culture of Tango Milonga as well.

Disclaimer: The photograph has the attribution of LAOEN in the lower right corner.  It was "borrowed" from an email that contained a large number  photographs with the same attribution. I have been unable to locate a source to purchase a print or to obtain authorization for it's use here. I will do that once I know where.

For me, this photo captures the soul of Argentine Tango.

Bio for David Imburgia y Celie Thomas

After a couple of years experience in International Folk Dancing, David and Celie found Argentine Tango in 2001.   After 2 years of study, their teacher stepped down.  David began studying to teach.  In 2003 David began to teach beginners and in 2004 began to share with Intermediate tango dancers.

In 2004, the couple did their first travel to Europe for Tango in Paris and Rome.  They have since spent important time studying and dancing in Buenos Aires as well as in various locations around the country and region, including Seattle, Portland, California, and Canada.

David has specialized in teaching Beginning level, Intermediate and more modern dancing, introducing hundreds of dancers to the mystery and beauty of Argentine Tango.   David and Celie live in Bellingham, Washington.  They teach and perform around the region.  Private and Small Group Classes are taught at their home studio and various locations.

Reach David at: 360-733-2663 or email:

Tango is a rich treat of the sensual art of dancing.
Tango is the “Dance of the Embrace”.  But it is also the celebration of the incredible music of the Tango.  Master composers and performers for 80 years have brought the magic of this music to audiences around the world.

Dancing Tango is dancing to Poetry.  An exploration of the passion that dance can offer, as well as mischief and even humor.  Dancers love the enjoyment of innovation and balance that Tango offers and rewards.  Tango also offers a wonderful variety of Tango Waltz and a lighthearted, fun dance form called the Milonga.

Argentine Tango History:

(Excerpted and used with permission from the Dance Vision International Dance Association Arg.Tango Syllabus).

Tango arose from the slums and brothels of Buenos Aires in the 1800's as a blend of differing cultural rhythms and steps.  The respectable classes shunned it, as was the Waltz, as too passionate and controversial.  Argentine Tango spread to Paris and other European cities, and then America, having tremendous popularity before and again after WW1.  As danced around the world and in native Buenos Aires, Argentine Tango today is considered a couple's folk dance rather than a ballroom form.

Music and Dance Characteristics: 

The music is near-opera in quality and associated with Classical music.   Classic tango was smooth, and mellow, while more modern compositions are more textured.  A dependable 4-4 structure gives the music a core.  The melodies can be extremely passionate, sad, or even angry.  Tango lyrics are more akin to poetry than normal pop lyrics. The dance is an  interpretation of the poem.  Balance is emphasized, and patience.  Yet the dance can be athletic and dancers of Argentine Tango use core muscles, and the power of their legs to enjoy tension and release, and to engage in stylish walking and wonderful fluid turns.

The Various styles:
Milonguero Style - dances with relatively simplistic footwork and a very close embrace.

Salon Style - generally uses a more open embrace and more visually interesting movements.

Nuevo Tango includes modernistic movements such as Colgadas (shared axis turns) and Underarm Turns,
Tango Fantasia is Tango for the stage show, which includes lifts and jumps.
Other music, such as waltzes, may be danced in Argentine Styles as well.

Technical Tips:

Argentine Tango uses a unique posture, required for the completion of  lead and follow.  The weight of the partners is forward on their feet, on the ball of the foot.  Torso extension is up, and forward, arms are relaxed.  The embrace is generally close, though this alternates in the dance.  Typically, dancers are aware that they maintain their balance and all weight on one foot only, while the other is collected and touching the floor; ready to step.  The dance is considered very fluid, as the lead is offered by intention, rather than strength.  Flexibility and balance aids in the athleticism of Tango.  Tango dancers often leave the floor breathless after a set of dances.

About the Figures:

Though Tango is instructed using sets of figures for dancers to learn, in the social dance the lead can and often will innovate every step.  Meaning there is no limit to changes in direction, tempo, duration, or length of stride.  All is innovated by the leader and intention is transmitted to the follower for seemingly effortless lead and follow.   This is considered the sensual nature of Argentine Tango.  Dancers focus on learning a "vocabulary" of stepping, posture, poses, and embellishments.  These are then offered by the leader, and the follower determines their own level of contribution.  Follower embellishments in tango can be very sexy, rhythmic, and satisfying to perform.  Followers can enjoy Boleos (leg lifts), Gaunchos (kicks/hooks), Secadas (displacements) and wraps, blocks, drags and sweeps (Barridas)  Some of the formalized steps you will encounter are: the 8 count basic, walking steps, rock steps, ochos, and crosses.

Some Favorite Tango Composers & Performers:
Osvaldo Pugliese, Carlos DiSarli, Francesco Cannaro, Troillo, Color Tango, Mariana Varela.

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