Practicing Tango Walks – by Cassie Tucker

Practicing Tango Walks

DK Instructor Cassie Tucker looks at how Tango Walks differ in movement to the other dances in the Standard Ballroom family...

Practicing Tango Walks

Tango is the black sheep of Standard dances as it is the only style in which the feet are picked up off the ground.  This means that practicing Tango needs to be a little different from Quickstep, Waltz, and Slow Foxtrot practice.

To practice Tango, you must first lower yourself into an almost squat position. Pretend you are sitting on an invisible chair.  Once you are in that position, stay there.  Now imagine someone has lowered the ceiling to your new height and that you are physically incapable of standing up tall again.

To take a walk, the legs will need to very active. You will be fighting the inclination to straighten the standing leg, which is the natural action of a normal walk.  In a Tango walk, the standing leg will remain flexed and the moving leg will feel like it retracts toward to body before stepping forward.

To commence movement, you must first overbalance by taking the knees forward.  The heel of the moving foot will be peeled off the ground first, then the toe.  The knees will continue forward until the last moment when you feel certain to fall over, then the foot will lift, clearing the floor and striking forward onto a heel to catch your fall.  The foot will naturally land on a heel if you have not straightened the standing leg.  In continuous Tango walks, the feeling will be as if you are about to fall into a puddle, and at the last second, stepping over it.

As with most dances, backward walks in Tango are much easier than forward walks.  The legs will have a stronger feeling of retracting towards the body.  Again, you will need to overbalance to move and again you do this by taking the knees forward (knees do not bend backward!). The energy will feel it travels forward, down and back, and as your body moves backward, the foot will automatically move to catch you.  Do not take your head back as you will simply be off-balance.  When done correctly, continuous backward Tango walks will have the distinct sensation of peddling a bike backwards.