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Have you had any dancing experience, let’s say, ballroom dancing? You, the girl in the back row, what is your name --Sue, you have? Great.

If you have danced the American two-step, you’ll really breeze through this course. What? You have square-danced? Great! Do you know that a tango begins with a square dance? Yes, the same position, except it’s very sexy, and it is called la Salida.

Here, let us show you the elements of the dance. You might want to take notes in the notebook I’ve recommended you bring along. I’ll refer to the elements by their Spanish names. Other than a quick jot in the book, all you have to do its just watch me and Tewtie, and you are free to get up to rehearse a step by yourself, or with whoever you pair up. Are we ready? Great.

From la Salida we start dancing. See - we can do a square dance, like this. It’s called la Paseo. You’re right, it really is as easy as it looks. What we are doing now is a criss-cross, a gaucho turn and a tango draw. You can do that just by drawing on your experience outside of tango. See how free Tewtie is on the floor? That’s because I provide the movement, leaving her to do whatever hot stuff she wants.

The hard part is following the music, not the man. But we’ll get to the spiritual part later.

We can do la Caminata. It is a simple walk, except the couple is walking, the man is either dragging the woman, artfully, to the music, or she’s mincing backwards away from him while he is chasing her.

Here we can insert a Serpiente, see? It flows naturally in and out of la Caminata.

Yes, Sue, the man and the woman are in a close bodily contact, just like we’re dancing now. It should look like this – see how I am holding her? It looks like we’re moving while having sex.

Or, we can glide into this: we are abreast of each other and holding hands.

From la Caminata we can go several ways. I can guide her into any one of the following:

La Resolucion, which is another backbone of tango, is a simple three-quarters of a square dance. Yes, the girl in the white skirt, yes, you, in the back row —you observed right: it is a part of an American tango. Tewtie and I really love it, because we can convert it into a tango or a waltz. It is built on the beat of the both of them!

Here we do a natural pivot, a promenade turn…a couple of Viennese turns, and…here’s a telespin. And we are gliding into a leg crawl, exposing her leg, as she’s arching her back. Again, that’s a personal trick that Tewtie’s doing.

Or we can break into la Cunita, that is, the cradle step. See how we go actually through a rocking motion as we keep stepping? It is made more meaningful by good, passionate music, when the skirt is flying and twirling, like this. You can see that Tewtie just adores this. Let me catch up with her.

And I don’t really catch up with her, because – I choose to make it a La Caza. The Chase. The French call it the same thing, Le Chasse. See how she’s flitting on her high heels? I make it look as if I am chasing a butterfly! Isn’t tango adorable?

To make it simple for the class, and for me — the man is supposed to catch the woman, isn’t he? – I insert la Circulo. I simply sweep around, do a reverse turn with a closed finish and receive her into my arms. She’s free to keep the same motion of la Circulo, or she can choose to pause. The pause would also be a sexy thing to do.

From here she can do a jete point and a back twinkle, I’m going to guide her into it, just a sec, here! See, all that she has to do is thrust her breasts at me, bend back and work her leg. Yes, bend it at the knee, or whatever, wrap it around me. That’s up to your sensuality. Judges really love it if you pack the sensual stuff into the required elements.

What’s your name? Yes, the brunette in leotards…Tianna… That’s a good tango name! You are asking… Ah, if any details that must fill up between the elements? I think I know what you’re asking. They call it Adorno. One of them is Zarandeo, the Shake. I am sure you’ve all seen a couple dancing tango where especially the woman is twisting, almost shaking sideways. I think this detail that is very simple to understand and execute. Yes. Because it comes from within the woman.

See how Tewtie does it? She senses it. She has no clue of our English, mind you, she understands Russian, Italian, French and Spanish. But I am staging her and she’s picking it up. See? Yes, Tianna, you're right – you have the tango sense, I see –Tewtie looks like she’s shaking with Latin temper. That’s her secret!

See her doing the cute tap dancing? That pop-music tap dancing is nothing, because Golpes are light years ahead and hotter. Golpes show frustration, the passion, the anger with her partner. Those are just a few of the emotional states of a tango couple.

Or she can choose to do Golpecitos. To suit the mood, obviously. Here, I will do it for you… and she’s answering me with her own sexy Golpecitos.

Or I can do this… see? Zig zags. That’s about as simple as looks. At the end of one full zig zag… I reverse, go counterclockwise, and it becomes…Ocho, a figure eight.

Oops, she snuck a surprise on me, wait, I’ll get her to repeat this. What she’s just done was a move for a stalking walk, which I execute, and direct her into a tango drag.

Oh, boy, Tewtie seems to be full of that zesty energy tonight. What? You say you wouldn’t be able to last this long? I think if you really want it, and you enjoy dancing, the dance will carry you through the air. Here, she’s laughing! That’s my girl – people sitting down can hardly follow her dancing and laughing!

Whoops! I am sorry she had to spring this on you. She’s a bit angry at me and she’s flaunting it. See what she’s doing? Can anyone tell me what this is?

Parisian tango? No. Tianna, can you guess what Tewtie is doing? Argentinian Tango? Well, it has been Argentinian, but you're close.


Just like in flamenco, she’s using the ruffle of her slirt the way she’d use an albanico. A fan, that is. Albanico – flamenco dancers say al-MANeeco. Alma – the soul of the dance. We are facing in the same direction, it’s the move that flamenco shares with tango – but we have totally different body languages. Each of us is trying to use our own mastery. We are trying to compete with each other, just like in real life, to seduce and not being used. And squeeze in to it lots of hugs. That’s the alma. The woman is really the center, the alma of flamenco and tango. The man is there only to move her around on the floor.

Ah, yes, here’s Tewtie’s monton. It is convenient for going out into a chilly night after a rehearsal. I think this is one of the most soulful accessories you can dance with outside the competitions. Monton. Sometimes we borrow the concept from Flamenco. Imagine a huge shawl of red gauze covered with black velvet flowers. Or you can use a black velvet one with pearl and shell patterns and silver flowers.

Skirts, you ask? You are…Janelle, right? I remember… I know these major types—the black and the red-burgundy, obviously. The blacks are Amaya, Godet, Rociera and Ensayo. Ensayo is a kind of an odd one, but very temperamental. I’ll get to that later.

The Amaya is very ruffly for a clinging skirt. Godet has no ruffles, it’s really wide, not as flouncey. Tewtie stays away from it. Godet sometimes has one rich ruffle, still being wide. I think some Flamenco dancers prefer it. Rociera has a gorgeous, really seductive ruffle, an sometimes it comes with fluffy fringe covering the slit up the thigh, popular in tango…something like Tewtie is wearing right now… see how she works that skirt? She’s really flaunting it! I’m speechless!

Where was I? The skirts… that’s right. The burgundies. The Rocieras are burgundy-red. There are two-ruffle Rocieras, all velvet, with a rich Spanish peasant girl’s fringe.

Janelle is asking if Escada skirts are acceptable. Sure, for everything that’s not a competition. I assure you that back Stateside, if you dance at your neighborhood VFW hall, nobody would care if you are in a Rociera or Escada. Because it’s enough to look downright Latin-French-Italian-Argentinian hot.

Did I mention them all? Ensayo. It’s a one-ruffle skirt, it’s got that rich, muslin look, if you like being in touch with the bouffant fashion. Poufbunnies, you say? Thank you, Tianna, that’s funny!

But, a word of caution. The best skirt in the world won’t help you dance tango. If you don't feel like a slut, the dance won’t be a tango.

Any questions?

Janelle? I’ll answer on the way to our car. Just a minute, Tewtie is laughing, she needs me to wrap her into this monton job.

By the way, how do you like those imperial eagles on the Kremlin towers? Which is better, the eagles or those Commie stars? The Eagles? It’s OK. But I like the old Commie stars. They glowed red at night. Red hot. Stunning, flamboyant, ruby-hot, just like tango.

Buonas noches, senoras.

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The following comments are for "A Lesson in Tango"
by Teflon

Could I have this dance, Teflon?
My brother and his wife took Ballroom Dancing. When they visited us, they danced on the beach here with the cool wind whipping around them. It sure was a sight to behold.
Thanks for this "lesson" Teflon.


( Posted by: dareva [Member] On: October 14, 2004 )

Tango with me
Thanks for looking in, and for the attention span :-)
I guess that readers with history vested in dance are most likely to read through.

I think we (or I) should try and tackle physical activities in writing. Sort of a hyperwriting, short of inserting sound or videoclips.


1 oz Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Southern Comfort
2 oz Lemonade

Great in a highball glass filled with ice and a twist of lemon peel.

Tango (Cocktail? Dress):

1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1 oz Gin
1/2 tsp Triple Sec
1 tbsp Orange Juice

Tastes like a Margarita.



( Posted by: Teflon [Member] On: October 14, 2004 )

I really enjoyed this. The exclusive focus on the instructor's voice in this piece accentuated his position as the center of attention in the piece. The verbal center of attention, but I couldn't take my eyes off Tewtie.

And hats off to the research that went into this piece. -Philo

( Posted by: Philo [Member] On: October 15, 2004 )

A Lesson in Tango
So colorful and lively! Vivid! Very very well written...

I had a neighbor who was eighty-four - living in a tiny apartment overstuffed with her dancing trophies! At least twenty-five were spread out across her living room. She had quite a collection of photographs - framed - atop her television set. At the very back, I espied a picture of Patrick Swayze. When she saw my interest, she scowled and said she didn't like him very much. I asked why she had a photo of him then - she said that he was married to her great-niece, and she was upset at him because he wouldn't dance with her!

Thank you for bringing these lively memories back to me! Last I heard from her, she was going to leave Oregon for California to join her dancing teacher of years back...

( Posted by: royalline [Member] On: October 19, 2004 )

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