Why Dance the Argentine Tango?

Followers Can Take the Lead Too

Ideal Communication for Partners

Tango Dance Etiquette & Helpful Hints

Styles of Argentine tango

Ideal Communication for Practicing Partners

By Ken Delmar

(Special thanks to P.J., Moss, and Christine for their input.)

Ken has had the opportunity to work closely with Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn on a number of occasions. One of the most important aspects of dancing that he has learned from these masters, and which is of utmost importance in tango, has to do with how they worked with each other, taught each other, and learned from each other. For Ken, the manner in which they communicated with one another through their dancing remains the ideal example of partner communication.

The key to successful communication when practicing with your partner is the attitude you have while dancing: the way to attain the most joy and success is to always work with the idea of helping each other. This means that what is most important is not whether you alone get your steps right, but whether you both are learning or if there' is something you can do to help your partner dance well.

Rudolf and Margot always treated each other with respect and gave each other every courtesy. They kept some humor in their communication about their dancing and always had patience for errors. They never allowed the frustrations of their work to interfere with the quality of their partnership. They didn't put an importance on placing blame and always kept cooperation in mind. By interacting in this way, they were clearly an example of something to strive towards as you learn to dance.

You and your partner may fall short of this ideal occasionally, but it is good to hold onto Margot and Rudolf as a model. This is not always easy to do, and there will inevitably be much frustration in the learning process. However, it is important to remember that it is a learning process for the both of you, so you should try not to project your frustrations on to the person you find to practice with and blame him or her.