Tango course: Overview and Review

28th November 2008


This article summarises the key points from the 8 week Tango course run by Amir Giles and Jenny Sayer, in October - November 2008.

Week 1

Summary: Connection

Key points:

  • Connect with your partner

For more information: Full Week 1 review

Week 2

Summary: Walking and ochos

Key points:

  • If you push off correctly, you'll usually arrive correctly.
  • Relax whilst you dance; if you don't, your partner will feel it
  • Dissociate to the side of the forwards foot (when walking forwards or back)
  • Technique is forever, not just for Christmas

For more information: Full Week 2 review

Week 3

Summary: Dissociation and the cross

Key points:

  • Dissociate all the time.
  • Dissociation powers the trailing leg
  • Push off from the floor not the partner
  • You don't need to "lift" to lead a cross
  • Take notes at the end of the class.

For more information: Full Week 3 review

Week 4

Summary: Sacadas and overturned ochos

Key points:

  • Timing must be precise in the sacada, or Pain Happens.
  • Musicality - listen and move to the rhythm.
  • Don't take diagonal steps - instead, pivot appropriately then side / forward - step
  • The side of the leader's step affects the follower's pivot angle

For more information: Full Week 4 review

Week 5

Summary: Giros and pivots

Key points:

  • Preparing to lead a move is part of leading a move
  • Lower yourself a little before / whilst moving, stand up a little when pausing
  • Followers should be the same distance from the leader's centre, at the start and finish of a step.
  • Pivoting exercises are vital to progress.

For more information: Full Week 5 review

Week 6

Summary: Change-of-direction ochos and ganchos

Key points:

  • Mirrored giros help you demonstrate and work on dissociation
  • To lead a not-pivot, simply don't lead a pivot
  • Angle of pivots is determined by both space and energy provided
  • When leading ganchos, you need to be close to your partner

For more information: Full Week 6 review

Week 7

Summary: Ocho cortado and two routines.

Key points:

  • Standing on one leg for a minute a day improves balance
  • Followers must confidently follow the lead, even into the body
  • When leading the cross from an ocho cortado, leaders must allow space for the follower (move back a bit)

For more information: Full Week 7 review

Week 8

Summary: The embrace and boleos.

Key points:

  • Preparation should take longer than stepping
  • Infinite varieties of embrace - just don't lose the connection
  • Embrace usually adapts to match the steps
  • Boleos - think of your working foot as a pendulum.

For more information: Full Week 8 review


Looking back over my notes, I'd summarize the course as:

  • Covering a lot of steps, although not in depth.
  • Just the right mix of technique and form.
  • A great set of advice for tango dancing in general

- David Bailey, 28th November 2008