This is part 1 of our series of blogs about building an elegant, comfortable tango frame – the Holy Grail in becoming great to dance with and even greater to watch.


Come back for part 2 (on January 30) and part 3 (on February 2) of our blog about the tango frame.


Building a nice frame

Before starting a tango, dancers get into the mood by taking their “tango posture” and creating a nice “frame”. The frame refers to the way in which two dancers carry themselves and hold one another. There are three types of embrace – the close embrace, the open embrace and the practice embrace.

A nice tango starts with a nice frame, and a nice frame starts with a nice posture. In terms of posture, both partners should try and grow tall, with their weight slightly forwards and always on one leg, with a slight tilt forward from the hip and their core muscles activated. This brings the partners’ torso closer to one another whilst creating room between the legs to do the steps. You can read more about tango posture in one of our previous blog posts.

In all embraces, the frame should be kept stable at all times – the frame is the ‘communication central’ so any unwanted movements from the arms or torso will create ‘noise’ that disturb the connection between partners. To that effect, both arms should remain strong, using muscles around the shoulder blades (and not the biceps or the muscles around the shoulders, as it is quite tiring). This creates a nice, stable and slightly upward energy that helps both partners look tall and elegant and keep their balance.

The extended arm should remain as one piece and should be moved as such – i.e. no straightening or bending of the elbow. There should also be a light and equal pressure where the hands of the extended arms meet, but no weight or considerable force. This ensures that the leading and following really comes from the torso and not from the extended arms – which creates an unpleasant and unsightly ‘bandoneon’ effect.

Come back on the 30th for our next section.

See you soon on the dancefloor!


Nathalie and Emma
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