It’s not uncommon for tango dancers to do some other form of social dancing, whether salsa or ballroom. After all, once bitten by the social dancing bug, why not try as many dances as possible? So if you’ve danced salsa before and you’re now coming along to tango or perhaps you salsa away your days now and fancy something new to sink your teeth into; here are some tips we’ve devised from observing pre-tango salsa dancers!
Tango tips for salsa dancers
Arms – in salsa, dancers’ arms are very mobile; bent at the elbow and expressive in moving each other around the dance floor and in steps. Tango is very different. A gentle yet stable frame with equal pressure from both partners needs to be upheld throughout each dance, with the elbow in the same position. There’s no leading or following with the arms, it’s all in the torso.
Hips – Keep. Them. Still. Salsa requires loose and mobile hips, so whenever any other body part moves, your hips tend to as well. Tango couldn’t be more different. It’s best performed with your body all at one level, so bobbing around is minimised as much as possible. The only time hips will be the main focus is when dissociating – this is where hips turn separately from the torso. Even then, they are poised. Pulled-up with your weight forwards, no relaxation and letting them free!
Shoulders – in salsa, it’s vital to work a bit of a wiggle with shoulders, whereas in tango this is a bit no-no. Shoulders need to be kept down to be more grounded and build stability, and most importantly they need to be still. Tango is hot and smouldering, rather than light and bouncy.
Here is an article from the Guardian about the differences between salsa and tango dancing, with a star rating next to each element in where each style of dance’s strengths are.
See you soon on the dancefloor.