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Lesson 0: The Posture



When hearing “posture”, most people only consider the position of the upper body, but the posture is more accurately defined as the whole between the parts of the upper limb relationship. The body and how well they fit together, ideally the head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles are lined up to move the joints across the entire range of motion. A correct posture is important because it evenly distributes gravity stress, so muscles can maintain balance and function normally. Deviation from optimal joint alignment can increase pressure on the ligaments and muscles around the joint. If any part of the body is misaligned, other muscles must be used to compensate for excessive joint compression. This will increase energy from other areas around the joint, which may lead to muscle strain, injury or the development of pathological conditions, such as forward head posture, pelvic tilt, or crossed feet. 

The tango posture is good, nature, human posture. You may apply the posture not only into the dance but also into life. A good posture will give an easier and faster learning curve of the tango, and give you better health also. Here are some tips to improve posture: 
  • As you stand, imagine a balloon on the rope that stretches out of your head and pulls up. When your spine is stretched, you will stand upright automatically. If you continue to do this for a few weeks, your habits will persist and your posture will improve. 
  • Keep your ears, shoulders and hips aligned, try to make it vertical. Resist the temptation and move your head forward; pay close attention to whether your ears are aligned with your shoulders, your feet are flat, and they are about 30 degrees open on the ground. Always maintain a good posture, especially when high heels are needed. 
  • High heels can change the center of gravity of the body, making it misaligned. They can hurt your body if you cannot stand and walk properly. Practice walking by moving your legs instead of feet. Start with smaller and slower steps in less time before it can be handled properly. 

“It takes two to tango”. So now it is time you find a partner to learn and dance the tango with you. If you don’t have a dance partner yet, it could be a good help to practice the tango with a broom partner, just like people did in the old days. Or you can keep your arms and hands at the position and practice some steps with music by yourself. Finding a good tango school in your town and joining the classes will help a lot. It will save your time to search for a dance partner and avoid you losing in those non-senses errors.

To start one tango, the woman stands on a good body posture with elegance and pretty; the man comes to her and stands by facing each other with around 10~15 cms. His right foot toward the center between her both feet, instead of toward her left foot.
We can use “ ” to indicate the initial position between two person.


The man opens the left arm in 90 degrees with the hand at about the chin's level high, uses the right hand to hold the left shoulder blade of the woman. She holds the man's left hand with her right hand and grabs his right upper arm by the left hand.


The man faces at 11 clock direction; the woman faces at 1 clock direction. Both are able to see their hands which are holding each other. They can look at a direction slightly lower than the horizontal. The woman facing his left shoulder is more friendly and polite. The man should keep his eyes on where the dance is going during one tango; He can look at her only at some particular moment but not during a whole song.
In most milongas (tango party) over the world nowadays, you may see people dance more closely - a man and a woman dance together holding the right shoulder blades of each other, some dance with the chests sticky on each other for the whole song. People call it the "close embrace" or the "deep embrace". Personally I don't suggest a beginner starts the tango in this dance posture. It may make your axis tilts forward and ruin your tango foundation - the natural posture. You may lay on each other and dance a small-steps tango all the time. If you enjoy the tango in this way and only in this way, you can dance like that for years, decades and the whole life. One day you wake up from that and want to try some other beautiful steps or sequences, and you don't find yourself able to do it. It could be too late after your hard work in tango for so many years. It will take you other years' work to pull yourself back on a good axis.

Many experienced tango people love the “deep embrace” and defend it as a "true embrace". Well, Just imagine two persons' height is different than 30 cm or 1 foot, in which one's level just reaches the chest of another, or even lower. How do they dance the tango together with the "close embrace"?! How will you teach a 10 years old kid dancing with you? Close embrace? Eeeeew!

I have good memories dancing in close embrace with beginners; I also have some terrible memories with experienced koala dancers. Who wants to hug a stranger who is sweaty, looks dirty and smells bad. With a friend who may be sweaty a little bit but still looks clean and smells ok, we can dance in a normal tango posture. A true tango posture is flexible and breathable. Two magnets attract each other without your teaching when they are on the correct side. People will naturally dance more and more closely if they are close to each other in mind and at a similar level; otherwise, it will just become an excuse used to hug someone for a hugger. Never "try" to make a deep embrace; it will happen naturally when you or your partner or both of you are ready in both physical and mental both. If you find it hard to move, that means you both are not ready for that kind of embrace each other in a tango.