Social Tango StyleS

My Approach to Social Tango Dance

There is no single "correct" way to interpret a dance that was danced some 100 years ago and my interpretation and insights are certainly not the only way to do it. I have chosen as my basis the fundamental elements of Argentine Tango dance in a social context that was appealing in the 1940s with a few concessions to modern dance practice. My touchstone is to improve quality of life and elevate peace in the world through a social Tango dancing that anyone can actually dance.

- "Milonguero Ezequiel"

social tango dance around the world

Wishing "break a leg" to a social Tango dancer is like serving hamburger to a vegan. Watch these 3 videos of real people dancing real Tango around the world to understand why.

Social Tango Dance - 1

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Insights: social Tango has evolved into many variations in style, some traditionally recognized, others highly individualized. This allows for diferent embraces, movements and expressions and expands range.

In this event I noticed most dancers are following almost the same pattern, which could be rehearsed or simply the result of a collective preference. In either case, what you see is highly representative of one style commonly seen in traditional social Tango dance halls (milongas).

Bear in mind there are other possible embraces, body positions and creative movements. On my Tango embrace for example, I prefer to share the visual space with the person I am dancing with, keeping their body slightly to my right side to position our heads in a natural 45-degree angle from each other. This provides optimal body alignment and prevents us from looking into opposite directions during the dance.

Social Tango Dance - 2

Location: on a boat in Kiev, Ukraine.

Insights: This is a typical social Tango dance event, although for some people "casual" clothing can never be too casual. There is nothing to "present" or be "praised" for in social Tango dancing, hence the applauses at the end of La Cumparsita seems rather an involuntary reflex than a truly concious choice. For the most part everything else about the social Tango dancing seen in this event is inspiring.

Social Tango Dance - 3

Location: Kiev, Ukraine

Insights: The constant break in eye contact and the ackward hand position of most dancers on this event is a red flag alert that perhaps they should focus more on effective body language connections and less on creative movement artistry. The applauses at the end, however brief, is out of place.

All in all, this is a delightful display of a social Tango dancing though, where human beings strive to connect with one another at the soul level.



Take your social Tango dancing experience to another level of sensibility. One that is meaningful to you and makes a difference in the world.

KNOWING WHEN you are NOT dancing social tango

  • Safety: if your Tango becomes a hazzard for other dancers to navigate a shared dance floor, then it is not social Tango.
  • Close Embrace: If you can fit another person between you and the person you are dancing with during the tango, then it is not social Tango.
  • Showmanship: If your Tango is primarily to show off your artistic movements to a real or imaginary audience, then it is not social Tango.
  • Applause: If you can see yourself dancing for the Cirque Du Soleil, or if your Tango entices ovations from other people, dancers or non-dancers everywhere you go, then it is not social Tango.
  • Improvisation: If you cannot improvise a Tango dance, then it is not social Tango.
  • Partnership: If you can only dance Tango with one person, then it is not social tango.
  • Connection: if you cannot connect with the music, the person you are dancing with and other dancers on the dance floor, then it is not social Tango.
  • Talking: if you talk on the dance floor while others are preparing or already dancing, then it is not social Tango.
  • Inclusiveness: if not everyone can dance the Tango you chose for yourself, than it is not social Tango.
  • Honesty: if your Tango does not serve you to share true feelings and emotions with other human being, then it is not social tango.
  • Real: if your Tango cannot be part of anyone´s lives in a regular basis, then it is not social Tango.
  • Value: If your Tango does not improve your quality of life and that of other people or otherwise does not bring value to the world, then it is not social Tango.

- "Milonguero Ezequiel"

classic NOn-SOCIAL TANGO dancing

The following are some of the ways you can dance whatever you want and call it "Tango". It is not traditional social Tango dancing by any measure, but for many people it is enough of a compromise.


This is not social Tango dance. These dancers are frantically looking for a shot of instant happiness on exogenic factors unrelated to the dance.

This is a case of dance for the dance sake just to keep those neurotransmitters working, however painful to watch, harmful or inconsiderate to other dancers around you, let alone the lack of subtleties (everything is magnified a million fold), the absence of consensus (is this a case of an unskilled display of stage Tango or a social Tango dance floor gone wrong?), and the lack of musicality and meaningful connections from pretty much every dancer on this event.

When you aim to produce a desired effect instead of working on the process by which you can produce that effect, that's what happens.

Social Tango Competition

This is not social Tango dance. This is a typical Tango show heavily marketed (and disguised) under the label "social Tango competition". Notice dancers are dancing on a stage platform, not a social dance floor. The main purpose of dancers of this form of Tango is to boost their ego and win a prize to improve their careers as private Tango instructors once they leave the stage.

Show Tango

This is not social Tango dance. This is Tango show business and a far cry from the roots and basic principles of social Tango. The main purpose of dancers of this form of Tango is to entice ovations and make a living on stage. It is Tango for money, that goes mostly to producers and promoters. It is a short-lived life-style that often brings more frustrations than joy to everyone involved in the fifteen-minute-of-fame mindset.

Show Tango Competition

This is not social Tango dance, this is Tango show, also known as "exhibition", "stage" or "performance" Tango. We have enough competition in the world: for ego, for money, for education, for food, for life. Do we really need to compete for everything?


This is not social Tango dance. Neo-tango is hardly a social form of Tango dancing. it is highly showish in style and requires dangerous body movements that cannot be safely performed around other dancers in a social dance venue.


This is not social Tango dance. There is no such a thing as a"Tango police" so you can dance anything and call it "Tango", even if it is argubly quite disturbing to watch for some people.

the "American Tango"

This is not social Tango dance. This is an American version of Tango music and dance unrelated to Argentine Tango and primarily used in high level competitive events. It bears no correlation to Argentine Tango genders and styles of music and dance. The semantic irony here is that they are both called "tango".

an "american" way to dance argentine tango

This is not social Tango dance. There is yet another American version of Tango dance commonly seen in Hollywood movies. The outmoded image of the dashing adventurer (cue Rudolph Valentino dressed as a gaucho) sweeping a hapless female off her feet, a romantic cliché that never captured the social reality of tango or its growth in the music, lyrics, and the dance.

This is one dance style that trully reflects the superficial glamour of the American spotlight industry.


This is not social Tango dance. As I said, anything goes and you are free to dance whatever you want, anyway you like it and even call it your "social Tango" style if you so desire. This salsa meets Tango meets street dance has its place in the world like any other artistic expression. If this is your thing, go fot it!