There are different styles of dancing Argentine Tango, some observers have identified 11 different styles. Here is a quick review of the main styles.
Salon: Open or close embrace with both partners erect arose in the 1940 and 1950's where feet stay in contact with the ground and dancers are at an angle. This style is elegant, smooth, and precise, measured and allows a greater variety of movements and figures in comparison to Milonguero or Apilado. Dancers use pivots, can take large steps, and move on the dance floor.
Tango Nuevo: characterized by an open embrace with the man's hand embracing only the woman's left side and by the lifting of the feet (as opposed to the caressing of the ground in Salon or Milonguero) allows more complex moves and steps by non-dancers and Milonguero o Apilado: A simple approach to Tango focusing on the walk, cadence, and communication between partners. It is a simple form of Tango with limited vocabulary owing to the requirement of staying in close frontal embrace. Popular or appropriate in crowded dance floors and also knows as "Tango Club" or "Tango Confiteria"
Fantasia or Show Tango: Choreographed Tango with elements of Salon, Orrillero, Tango Nuevo, as well as Ballet, and Modern Dance. This is what most people see when they see a Tango show or performance. Fantasia or Show Tango is not general danced socially.
American Tango/International Tango: Simplified and codified versions of Tango generally not appropriate for social dancing because the movements do not follow the line of dance. These styles are not improvisational in nature and require more space than is generally available in social Argentine Tango dances or Milongas. Dancers who learn this style can generally only dance with people who know the same steps and who dance the same style.
- Milonga, 1,2
- Vals (Tango Waltz) 1,2,3
- Tango: 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4
- Candombe Milonga with a more pronounced African rythem or sound.
Here are two videos of Chicho & Juana in two amazing performances. In the first one, I love how they flow with the music... In the begining, they are more punctual and stecatto but then there is one part where the piano just seems to flow very smoothly and they match the music with their moves.
I also loved the double gancho at the 3:15 mark. I have not see that one before. Chicho is always on the edge and coming up with new ideas.
In this next video, what I love is the musicality. I have heard that Chicho used to be a drummer. If so then it makes sense if you watch his feet. He uses them to accent the beats.... watch the section starting at 1:35 to see what I mean.. watch how hard he puts his feet down. Actually guys, we can pick our feet up a little more than the women can. They have to be ready with their feet on the ground so that they can change weight with us... so for the women notice that Juana keeps her feet caressing the floor at most times unless she is embellishing or doing a boleo... but notice how quickly she gets her feet back on the floor. On this same subject, watch the ganchos starting at 2:55 and watch how she embellishes but then gets her feet back to the floor so that he can lead something else. He does these delicate weight changes and if she were to keep her feet up in the air after embellishing then he would have to lead a step to get the weight changes that he needs. So, followers don’t leave your feet in the air unless he freezes his energy to keep them there. If his energy keeps moving then get them back to the floor. A great example of the energy freezing is the end of the song... he lead a circular boleo and freezes (stops all of his energy) so she freezes with her foot in the air... this could take place at other times during the dance... she leaves her foot up not because she knows it is the end of the song but because he freezes.
Ok.. final comments on this performance... I love the tiny back volcadas with small drags at 3:50.. not everything has to be big to be cool.