You can master this dance.
The standard tango class is designed to do a little bit of three things: Move through a sequence to become familiar with the sensations of transition between one move and another. Provide a little inspiration for the leaders about how things can be combined. Have a nice social experience.
Each week students show up and get a small view of tango. Classes can be interesting and fun, but without a comprehensive view of the technical and improvisational systems of tango, students don’t improve rapidly.
Moreover, many world-class dancers do not have the skills to analyze and explain what they are doing.
Many teachers purposely withhold information to increase students’ study time.
Common teaching practices such as memorized sequences and oversimplified techniques slow students’ learning.
Tango classes are not designed to ensure you are mastering tango. They are not systematic and there is not enough physical training or practice. Good teachers offer a “warm-up”. But for this to be effective, you need to do it several times a week!
The social setting of tango classes is nice because we meet new people and we have a sense of community. While partner changes help us develop friends and sympathy for a range of dancers, this is not effective, concentrated practice.
When students aren’t learning, it’s usually not their fault. The problem is weak teaching, lacking clear actionable instructions.
Many students stop going to classes because it seems like a waste of money. They’d like to improve and dance with better partners, but classes aren’t helping.
If you want to dance with more confidence, make your dance more interesting, get better partners, and recover the sense of discovery and excitement you had when you first started dancing, it’s time to take responsibility for your own learning.
Instead of waiting for you local teacher to put it all together for you, you can gain a Mastery perspective on tango which will make sense of all the tidbits you’ve learned in class and seen on dance floors and videos.
Our MasterCourse is a comprehensive curriculum for students ready to take responsibility for their learning.
In order to understand our tango education to date, we need to understand that teachers in the tango industry usually believe that they need to hold on to their secrets to maintain their position, and that they need to sell what they know in small drips to ensure that students keep coming back week after week for years.
The reason we’re not learning is not because tango has to be “in your blood” or “you have to understand the Lunfardo lyrics” or “you have to go to Buenos Aires” or “it takes ten years” or because “foreigners just don’t understand the soul of tango”…
The reason we’re not learning is because the teachers are not teaching. Mostly they are showing off, making jokes, being adorable, telling us to watch them again, covering up their leg joints with baggy pants, and keeping secrets.
Several Argentine pros have admitted that when they were young and just starting to teach, their seniors pressured them “don’t teach so much, you’re telling too much information.”
There is money to be made in mystification.
Tango is actually not that difficult. There are only 25 Elements. At a very slow rate of learning, you could learn one every month, mastering tango in two years. You can definitely learn one new thing per month, right?
Each movement has from 8-72 variations. But that’s ok, there’s no memorization needed because all of those variations can be found by systematically examining the different ways those four legs can do that movement. You don’t need a teacher for this at all!
We teach Argentine Tango technique in a way that everyone can understand and implement, so that teaching is not a cult of personality and metaphor, but a toolbox that students can use on their own to diagnose their own errors, assist partners, and learn faster from any teachers.
Most students we work with today are frustrated. The Followers are bored by repetitive leaders. The Leaders are annoyed with Followers who dance automatically, even when they do try something new.
Even when the embrace and connection and musicality are working for a couple, a lack of knowledge of tango limits their dancing.
And many dancers haven’t yet mastered sublime connection, because their teachers are not able to give them precise instruction. “Watch me again” and “just feel me” just don’t work.
The good news is that it is possible to teach tango with instructions that anyone can follow. We’ve worked for years to find these instructions and the most effective ways to train our bodies
Learn technique based on joint action so you can easily verify your actions and troubleshoot.
Learn exactly which muscles to contract and relax for stability and to make the adjustments needed for many movements.
Learn the systems of improvisation for the 25 Elements, so you never need to memorize a sequence again, and so that when you’re following you can respond to every communication with confidence because you know the vocabulary of tango. You’ll never feel unsure of yourself again.
Most tango students are spending roughly €15 on their weekly class. If you’re getting there 40 weeks a year, that’s €600. And most students also spend about the same on visiting teachers and special workshops, totaling about €1200 per year.
Do you feel you are receiving a structured education?
Of course there are lots of other reasons to take classes and watch visiting teachers, but what about taking 1/2 that budget and investing in a real curriculum as the base of your learning.
The Lexicon of Tango is the repertoire of 25 Elements and their variations inherited from the 1940s. Until the mid-1990s, tango was understood in groups of steps, or sequences. The Cochabamba Investigation Group analyzed tango and identified the basic elements, from which dancers can compose. Dancing from the elements empowers dancers to to express every music, challenge partners to maintain intense concentration, and use space skillfully for better floorcraft.
We are not famous dancers. We’re not even Argentine, and we don’t tell very good jokes. We are teachers.
Vio is a retired Professor of Economics, independent tango teacher, artist, and blogger. I fell in love with tango in 2006, and struggled to learn and improve despite the lack of clear information from my sweet and beautiful teachers in California and Buenos Aires.I was trained to find structures amidst piles of data, to distill knowledge, and to find effective ways of teaching.
Roberto was a pedagogic and fell in love with tango about the same time.
Before we analyzed tango for ourselves, we were going to classes desperate for any information about how to improve.
When we were asked to teach, we were both determined that our students would learn faster and better than we did.
When we met in 2014, we realized that our dreams of what tango could be, and what tango education could be, were true.
Our goal is to help students learn much faster than we did and become better dancers than us so we have great dance partners all over the world for the rest of our lives.
Learn All of Tango
Designed for serious tango students of both roles and all levels, this is a comprehensive video course explaining the 25 Elements in 16 videos (a total of 10 hours of video). Each element is defined, its system of variations revealed, and all necessary technique to do every movement with sublime connection and perfect communication.
Learn about your muscle chains
Muscle diagrams and pIlates-based exercises on video for the 10 most important tango muscles
Don’t Wait for a Partner!
30 Home Practice Sessions (10 for solo practice in each role and 10 for pair practice) on video, with text notes, and pdf download option
Wikipedia for Tango
150 hyperlinked texts with diagrams and short demonstrative videos, covering every Element’s technique and systems of variation, along with disaggregation and pseudonyms
YouTube has shown the world that you can learn nearly anything by video. And this means people can learn new skills from home on their own schedule from teachers all over the world. And teachers are learning to be more effective with this medium.
Yes, of course there are aspects of dancing that you can only learn by feeling them. But that’s only about 20% of learning tango.
Here are just a few examples of things dancers need to learn that can easily be communicated over video:
Our Guarantee to you: If you have any remaining questions, you are invited to come ask us personally at any of our live workshops.
The way people talk about “those guys” with perfect connection and “those girls” with amazing embraces can be so demoralizing when you’re working hard to improve your tango. Like “nice eyes” or “great legs”, connection and embrace are glorified as personal traits.
But balance, embrace, and connection are not aspects of unique personality, they are physical skills that we can train.
The problem is that most teachers have not been committed to finding effective ways of teaching, and they tend to blame the students who don’t “get it”.
Regardless of which “style” of tango you prefer, all Argentine Tango relies on the same skills.
In fact, balance, embrace, and connection are created by understanding and controlling joint actions and muscle contractions. And these are remarkably straightforward and easy to learn when explained properly.
We have studied anatomy and biomechanics to be able to give direct and clear instructions for sublime connection, balance, clear communication, and fluid movement.
Standard tango instruction is overwhelming, disorganized, and disempowering. Every sequence seems to stand alone, each one is hard to remember, and even harder to fit into the music and traffic at a milonga. Expert dancers seem to float smoothly and gracefully through the movements. Classes don’t seem to result in that same smoothness.
Since most tango teachers became famous due to their charming or beautiful dancing, they may not have taken the time and education to analyze the dance. Classes are entertainment rather than transmission of technique.
I’m not a world class champion dancer, but I am a professional teacher. When my students aren’t learning, I blame myself, not them.
Moreover, when I started my professional career I was living in New Zealand and Australia. There weren’t many good dancers around, so if I wanted to have good dances at the milongas I had to train my partners. I didn’t just need my students’ money, I needed them to become dancers who could delight me on the dance floor, as soon as possible!
I needed a teaching method that built great embraces, perfect connection, and that empowered my students to improvise.
So I worked to distill thousands of details of tango technique into just 5 principles that the students could understand and remember. Pretty soon, I could correct any mistake using just one word, and the students started to correct themselves while dancing!
Then I set to work understanding all the different tango movements. Learning tango needed to be a manageable curriculum through which students could track their progress, not an endless series of sequences.
Underneath the sequences are what are called the “Elements”. The idea of dancing and teaching from the Elements instead of from sequences was developed by the Cochabamba Investigation Group in the mid-1990s, but this method did not become very well-known. I had heard about this method, so I worked to break tango down to a list of movements that were functionally distinct. While the variations within the Elements certainly look different, they share the same technique. This analysis resulted in the Tango Lexicon of 25 Elements.
Some teachers try to say that tango has only 3 or 4 or 6 elements, but I find this approach even more confusing for students who say “but what are all those words people use?” or “I’m seeing a lot more than 6 things on the dance floor”. The 25 Elements grasp the movements that are distinct. Students can then use systemic analysis to find the variations.
5 Techniques and 25 Elements is manageable. Our students remember and use these systems to improve and improvise. None of our students are boring to dance with!
We walk together in systems, on tracks, and we can change feet in different combinations.
An ocho is a step beginning with a pivot of 90-270 degrees
Molinete lineal is tango's custom for walking sidewards.
In a sacada the partners step perpendicular to one another, with one partner displacing the other.
There are Three Giros. Double-giro and two Single-Giros, the Mark’s Single Giro and the Revel’s Single Giro (also known as Calesita).
The free leg crosses in front or behind the base leg.
A stop, during any point of a step or pivot.
A barrida moves the Revel's free leg by direct contact with the Mark's free leg.
These are the off-balance elements. In Volcada the partners lean on one another. In Colgada the partners hang.
Adornos are unmarked embellishments. Both partners can do almost anything they want, as long as they remain reliable and predictable.
A soltada goes out of the standard embrace.
A rebote is an elastic step which returns to the origin. Alteración is a rebote which pivots and releases at a different point than the origin.
Voleo Circular maximize front and back projections during a pivot. Voleo Linear maximize front, back, and side projections.
Ganchos hook a voleo through the partner's leg or around the body.
Contra block to Revel's Pivot. Patada is a kick, usually between the partner's legs, marked with a contra block.
A salta is a situation in which the Revel's weight is off of both of her feet. This could be a jump, lift, drag, or sostenida.
I really need to compliment you on your teaching methods, because I grow as a tango dancer very quickly with the MasterCourse, so I stopped doing regular group classes.
I just have to say, this is the best tango class I’ve ever taken. And this is the information I was waiting for.
You’ve given me back my tango.
This last Saturday one of the best dancers in [my country] said I had improved a lot since last time we danced (2 months ago) which can only be to your [online courses].
The TangoForge online courses have changed my dancing. Learning alone at home encouraged me to trust my body and find my own limits… Only TangoForge has given me the information I need to understand the underlying principles of tango, and to realize that the embrace is a system of communication.
The TangoForge website totally changed how I perceive tango. My teacher was always talking about energy and feeling. TangoForge is about bones and muscles.
I learn more about tango there than in any other setting ever.
One of the best –maybe the best– tango teachers I’ve ever met….lessons are the most concise, complete, detailed way of describing tango I have ever seen. (a student who never knew about us before this workshop…)
I feel more beautiful since I study here.
I’m a mechanic. I can’t learn by copying. You told me what to do and how to do it.
The best tango learning experience I’ve had.
Vio has such a clear understanding of what she wants to convey. She was committed to taking us through this whole system, and she did. There was not one wasted moment.
We explored in a comprehensive manner all the possibilities of a single movement, to consider all the creative opportunities. You don’t have to trundle around the dance floor with three steps and pretend you’re having a great time.
For months, I’ve been trying to emulate a certain dancer, and i couldn’t figure out how, but with what you taught today, I felt like him.
I got interesting insights into what’s been blocking me.
After 12 years of very technical study, from Vio I’ve learned the physiological basis of all that technique — what my body is doing and why.
‘Connect, feel the music’ — it’s not enough. It’s your body. She provides the anatomical specificity: this muscle does this thing. Then you can dance to the music.
I had not met Vio before this weekend. I feel I’ve stumbled into a gold mine.
Amazing resource in Vio: I got a deeper understanding of everything from my embrace to the cross, to voleos and ganchos that I’m not too experienced with.
A whole new level of being connected and responsiveness.
Vio’s Anatomy Tour is a very natural, clever and practical way to improve one’s tango skills or learn from scratch. Her original approach help one connect with one’s own body, direct the power and interact with one’s dancing partner in the most fluent way…one gets surprised how those beautiful moves which seemed so complicated can be performed easy and naturally. Regardless of the level of dancing, one could enrich the understanding of tango through the anatomical approach…
After following your workshop, other classes will seem boring because you reach a level of precision, accuracy and usability that is kind of rare in tango teaching. (And you are funny, sometimes.)
Our pedagogy has been transformational for hundreds of students around the world, and people recognize our students immediately when they dance with them.
So if you’re feeling stuck in your development, our suggestion is to simply get started. Clearly, what you’ve been doing up until now hasn’t worked, so it’s time to try a new approach.
Another big difference from other tango teachers is that we stand behind our technique. We think teachers should take more responsibility for the effectiveness of their work.
Since the video training part of this program is online streaming, you will get access to all the materials instantly. This means you can start mastering tango right away. Don’t spend another day feeling mystified by this beautiful dance.
Thank you for your interest in TangoForge, and we look forward to helping you achieve confidence and creativity.
Most students don’t practice because they don’t have a reliable partner.
This is why we developed home solo practice courses.
It’s also why we organize seminars throughout the year. The purpose of these events is to bring our community of students together so you can work and play and make new friends who are equally serious about their tango training. This is another reason why we welcome MasterCourse students to attend any and all of our seminars for free.
In addition to biomechanics and improvising from the elements of tango, our seminars include special sessions like “Ask us anything”, “How to bring new dancers into your local community”, “Dancing on bad surfaces”, and “Dancing on popular music”.
Our students are a global community of dancers committed to sublime partnership and maximum improvisation. We all welcome you.
*or being annoyed with yourself for not being able to remember them.