Learn to Talk Tango

Published on by CMe



Learn to Talk Tango


El Tango es el producto cultural más auténtico del país de los argentinos


Although it’s not a latin dance, Tango still runs on Spanish. If you’re asked to dance in Spanish, you don’t want to keep saying ‘What?’... It never hurts to know a little Spanish anyway. So this is a good place to start. It’s dedicated to Tango talk.

Most of below was saved from the listservs back in the late 90’s for our own use, so we do not have many credits... If you recognize anything as yours please let us know, if you care to... Gracias

Pronunciation (My symbol > stands for ‘English phonetic’.)

  • C’ before E or I is prounced as ‘S’... As in ‘Cents’.
    Before *all other letters* it said as a ‘K’... As in Castle >
    So dictionary in Spanish... Diccionario > ‘Diksionario’

  • ‘H’ is *always* silent... Hasta la vista > ‘Asta’ la vista.

  •  'J' is a hard 'H' sound. Julio > ‘Hulio’

  • 'LL' or 'Y' is pronounced 'ZH'. As S in vision or pleasure. 
    Also commonly pronounced ‘Y’ Como se llama > Como se ‘yama’. 

  •  'QU' sounds like the 'C' in 'cat'. Querés > ‘Kaeres’

  •  'Z'pronounced like 'S'.

Social courtesy
bailar  ~ to dance
Querés bailar? ~ Do you want to dance?
Note: Some spanish characters do not reproduce on my web screen.
If you also see squares, look at the source code for the correct rendition.

Sí, gracias. ~ Yes, thank you.
Uno más? ~ One more?
Cómo no. ~ Yes, please. (literally "How not?")
Por favor. ~ Please.
yo ~ I
vos ~ you 
él ~ he
ella ~ she

Verbs and Actions
parar, pararse ~ to stop, to stand (up)
caminar ~ to walk
abrir ~ to open
juntar ~ to join, bring together (as in, one's feet or knees)
marcar ~ to lead
(la marca) ~ (the lead)
llevar ~ to lead, also to carry
guiar ~ to guide, also to lead
seguir ~ to follow
escuchar ~ to listen
mirar ~ to look
fijarse ~ to pay close attention to
preguntar ~ to ask
Una pregunta por favor ~ A question, please
una vez más ~ one more time


el compás ~ the beat
el ritmo ~ the rhythm
despacio, lento ~ slow/slowly
rapido ~ fast
doble tiempo ~ double time
pasos ~ steps

Body Parts
el cuerpo ~ body
el eje ~ axis (usually refers to balance)
el peso ~ weight
los dedos ~ toes, fingers
el pie/ los pies ~ foot/ feet
las piernas ~ legs
las rodillas ~ knees
la cintura ~ waist
los brazos ~ arms
el pecho ~ chest
el abrazo ~ embrace (as in, dance hold)

Dance Floor
paso ~ a step
pisar ~ to step
piso ~ floor
pista ~ dance floor

adelante ~ forward
atrás ~ backward
al costado ~ to the side
izquierda ~ left
derecha ~ right
derecho ~ straight






The Tango Fundamentals - Volume 3: Basic Giros

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