Styles

As you learn, you will eventually encounter the topic of tango dance “styles”. Someone will say that this style is the best, another will say that that style is the best, and yet another will say that there is no such thing as tango dance “styles”. These different opinions can cause confusion in the mind of a student, regarding which direction he/she wants/has to go.

In my opinion, if you think of driving as an analogy, it is an easy matter to understand. There are different types of cars: racing cars, outdoor 4WDs, trailer cars, sedans, lumber-carrying trucks, energy-efficient compact cars, family SUVs, open-top beach cars, and etc. The fundamental principles of driving apply to all these different cars, but each car type has its specific use case in mind when it is designed, and the best use of a car type requires some specific elements/tricks/manners/attitude of driving to get the best out of it.

When someone learns how to drive, the person does not learn it using an imaginary universal car. He/she learns how to drive with a real, specific type of car. Since, as a beginner, he/she does not know what are the specifics of the type of car he/she is using to learn how to drive and what are the universal principles of driving, the student will pick up everything – universal principles as well as the car type-specific elements/tricks/manners/attitude. Only when the student experience different types of cars (and different driving situations intended for those types of cars) directly or at least indirectly, he/she can discern the universal from the specific.

In my opinion, the topic of tango dancing styles is the same – there are universal and fundamental principles of tango dancing, but nobody does “generic tango dancing”. Someone’s dancing is always a specialized product of the person and the environment. Various tango “styles” are the different realization of fundamental tango dancing principles according to different people and different environments.

Thus, if you don’t find fun in dancing tango, before giving up, try different schools and teachers, or, as a last resort, browse YouTube. It may be that you are an outdoor adventure person and have been learning how to drive with a 2-seat compact car. You may find someone with whom something clicks in you and find pleasure in dancing tango. There are outdoor 4WD enthusiast groups, amateur racing groups, fuel-efficiency fanatics groups, drift-racing aficionado groups, and etc. – all are about driving, but each group has emphases on different aspects of driving. Different tango “styles” also have emphases on different aspects of tango dancing.