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Francis Bertram welcomes
you to the world of Tango
Listen to Batanga Tango Radio
About Francis Bertram
Hello, my name is Francis Bertram and I have
been involved with Tango for around ten years. I started teaching five years
ago and now run classes in the Borders region of Scotland but also run
workshops around the country.
I started seriously dancing the Argentine Tango in
I also specialise in
teaching both Tango and Milonga Techniques.
I also teach in
Carlisle, Gallashiels and Peebles During 2002 I introduced Tango to the South
of Scotland and
For a number of years I have also performed demonstration Tango at a
number of worthwhile fundraising events that
has included the Heart , Stroke and
Cancer Research Disability of Scotland.
The teachers I have studied with include a number
Claudia and Esteban; Nester and Patricia Ray; Yvonne and Eduardo Equire;
Other teachers from London and the
I also visited Argentina in my quest for
Argentine Tango and
Milonga from Francis Bertram.
There is only one secret to learning Tango and its this. You will learn a new step or steps each class but unless you can commit to practicing that step every day for at least 30 minutes until the next class, you will forget what you learned and you will not progress.
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Further down this page is a short history of Tango, styles, interesting information and video clips of Tango:
I have included some video clips of Tango
throughout the website to show you examples of this wonderful and sensuous
dance. This will mean that the page load time can take a minute or two but this
is an all singing and dancing website specially designed for you to enjoy
some superb visual examples of Tango
Please note that these Videos are Streamed from the parent site and as such may
occasionally stop for a second or two. To stop this (its because your computer is loading the player) refresh and this will stop happening. Bear with that as these are worth watching =. For our Video Page please click this line
In Argentina you can see many couples dancing Tango in the streets
Visitors to my website this month
Tango Class Benefits:
Feel more comfortable and less awkward in social settings.
Learn to project self-confidence through your body language.
Improve your rhythm, balance, flirting and social skills.
Enjoy adventures of going out to dance with lots of new people.
Many dance couples meet at Tango, start and maintain long term relationships.
If you enjoy variety, dance a Tango & experience the famous 3 minute marriage .
Bring a friend or come alone; no partner is necessary because
all students are rotated regularly during classes. Remember, if you can walk in
a straight line and count to eight, you can learn the basics of Tango in
10 minutes, but you will enjoy a life time of learning how to master this dance.
For further information on workshops, classes, group or private lessons, call Francis Bertram
For any enquiries regarding the content of this website please contact the webmaster by clicking this line
a social dance and a musical genre, originated in Argentina. This article describes the dance itself.
Argentine Tango consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and eras, and in response to the crowding of the venue and even the fashions in clothing. Even though they all developed in Argentina and Uruguay, they were also exposed to influences reimported from Europe and North America. Consequently there is a good deal of confusion and overlap between the styles as they are now danced - and fusions continue to evolve.
In sharp contrast to ballroom tango, Argentine Tango relies heavily on improvisation, and in theory, every tango is improvised. Although there are many steps and sequences of steps that a tango dancer learns, every dancer is free to modify them.
Argentine Tango is danced counter clockwise around the outside of the dance
floor (the so-called "line of dance"); cutting across the middle of the floor is
frowned on. It can be acceptable to stop briefly in the line of dance to perform
stationary figures, as long as the other dancers are not unduly impeded. (There
is a saying about this: "If you look down the line of dance and there is space
for you -- you are probably keeping everyone else waiting behind you.") Dancers
are expected to respect the other couples on the floor; colliding with, or
stepping on the feet of another couple is to be strenuously avoided. There are
two sides to this: on one hand it is bad etiquette towards the other dancers
(and shows your "incompetence" from a strict honor based judgment) - but even
more so the leader wants to protect his lady and give her a most memorable time
while dancing with him, any collision would just disturb that.
Tango "Naranjo en Flor" performed in "Salon Canning"
Milonga in August of 2005 by Osvaldo Zotto and
Loren Ercimoda in honor of Puppy Castello
Argentine Tango is danced in a relatively close embrace, with many dancers choosing to remain in chest-to-chest (and sometimes head-to-head) contact, whereas the feet are apart. The couple therefore looks like a "V" on the reverse. The walk is one of the most important elements, and dancers prefer to keep their feet in close contact with the floor at nearly all times, the ankles and knees brushing as one leg passes the other. A striking difference between Argentine tango and ballroom tango is that the follower remains upright on her axis, or may even lean toward the leader (and in a close embrace dances "chest-to-chest" with the leader). In ballroom tango this posture is unheard of. In fact, in ballroom tango the follower shyly pulls her upper body away from the leader whenever he draws her toward him. But ballroom tango dancers dance close, too, only in a different way In ballroom tango, experienced followers are not shy about thrusting their hips and upper thighs toward the leader.
Another interesting difference is that in Argentine tango, the leader may freely step with his left foot when the follower steps with her left foot. In English, this is sometimes referred to as a "crossed" or "uneven" walk or a "crossed system." In ballroom tango this is unheard of and considered incorrect (unless the leader and follower are facing the same direction).
A third difference is that Argentine tango music is much more varied than ballroom tango music, allowing Argentine tango dancers to spend the whole night dancing only Argentine tango. There is a great variety of music. Canaro alone produced more than 4000 titles. Argentine Tango dancers usually enjoy two other related dances: Vals (waltz) and Milonga.
Milongueros dance this "vals" much like they do tango only with a waltz rhythm that has one beat per measure. This produces a rather relaxed, smooth flowing dancing style in contrast to Viennese waltz where the dancers often take 3 steps per measure and turn almost constantly.
Milonga, often danced at tango dance parties, is a fast dance. Again, the steps are similar to tango, but somewhat simplified because of the constant movement of the feet and lack of pauses as in Argentine tango. Milonga, by the way, is also the name given to tango dance parties. This double meaning of the word milonga can be confusing unless one knows the context in which the word "milonga" is used.
Unlike the social version of ballroom tango which has been standardized and thus been relatively fixed in style for many decades, Argentine tango is a constantly evolving dance (even on the social dance level) and musical form, with continual innovation in Argentina and in major tango centres elsewhere in the world.
These innovations may offend some traditionalists (there are quite many
discussions about what still can be considered tango), but they make sure that
it remains a relevant to contemporary culture and society. Some teachers trained
in the ballroom style are now trying to standardize Argentine tango and even use
ballroom terms like Gold, Silver, and Bronze when describing their course of
study. This attempt at standardisation is offensive to those who value the
evolving nature of Argentine tango. So on one hand the traditionalists are
offended that Argentine tango is evolving while others are offended that others
are trying to standardise it.
Tango dancers usually meet at Milongas, held in Buenos Aires and many other major cities world wide.
"Tango canyengue" refers to a style of Tango danced until the 1920s. Reportedly, the long tight fashion in dresses of that era restricted the follower's movements. Consequently, the style involves short steps. The dancers tend to move with knees slightly bent, the partners slightly offset, and in a closed embrace. The style tends to be danced to a 2/4 time signature. As the canyengue style was mostly not danced in ballrooms, but in taverns and on the street, the typical soft feet movements with close contact to the ground were not possible, leading to a more "hopping" style.
Liso style tango developed in small and crowded dance halls, where there was only space to take a few paces before having to circle around each other, waiting for a space to open. The style is danced with an upright posture, usually with each dancer slightly offset to the right of their partner. If a close embrace is used, it is relaxed to allow the follower to perform turns. The dance involves just the simpler steps-- decorative moves such as boleos, ganchos, and sentadas are absent from the style.
Tango orillero is thought to have developed away from the town centres, in the outskirts and suburbs where there was more freedom due to more available space on the dance floor. The style is danced in an upright position and uses various embellishments including rapid foot moves, kicks, and even some acrobatics, though this is a more recent development.
In modern usage, the words "Salon" and "Milonguero" are often both applied loosely to older styles of Tango.
Salon Tango developed in the less crowded up-market dance halls, allowing space for boleos, ganchos, and sentadas to be performed. The style is generally danced in an open embrace. Also known as the style of 'Villa Urquiza', a northern barrio of Buenos Aires.
This style developed in the 1940s and 50s in closely packed dance halls and "confiterias", so it is danced in close embrace, chest-to chest, with the partners leaning - or appearing to lean - slightly towards each other to allow space for the feet to move. There are not many embellishments or firuletes or complicated figures for the lack of space.
Although the rhythmic, close-embrace style of dancing has existed for decades, the term "Milonguero Style" only surfaced in the mid- '90s. Many of the older dancers who are exponents of this style of Tango prefer not to use the label.
Tango Nuevo is a dancing and teaching style. Tango nuevo as a teaching style emphasizes a structural analysis of the dance in which previously unexplored combinations of steps and new figures can be found. It is a result of the work of the "Tango Investigation Group" (later transformed into the "Cosmotango" organization) pioneered by Gustavo Naveira and Fabian Salas in the 1990's in Buenos Aires. By taking tango down to the physics of the movements in a systematic way, they have created a method of analyzing the complete set of possibilities of tango movements, defined by two bodies and four legs moving in walks or circles. This investigation provided a view of a structure to the dance that was expressed in a systematic way.
In walks, their explorations pioneered what were once called "alterations" and are now called "changes of direction". In turns, they focus on being very aware of where the axis of the turn is (in the follower/in the leader/in between them). This tends to produce a flowing style, with the partners rotating around each other on a constantly shifting axis, or else incorporating novel changes of direction.
Many of the recent popular elements in tango vocabulary, such as single-axis turns, owe their debut on the tango scene to the popularity of Gustavo's and Fabian's approach.
From this teaching style, a new and unique style of dancing has developed, called by many a "tango nuevo" style. The most famous practitioners of "tango nuevo" are Gustavo Naveira, Fabian Salas, Chicho Frumboli, and Pablo Veron. Interestingly enough, all four of these dancers have highly individual styles that cannot be confused with each other's, yet can be easily recognized as "tango nuevo".
Tango Nuevo is often misunderstood and mislabelled as "Show Tango" because a large percentage of today's stage dancers have adopted "tango nuevo" elements in their choreographies.
Show tango, also called Fantasia, is a more theatrical and exaggerated form of Argentine tango developed to suit the stage. It includes many embellishments, acrobatics, and solo moves. Unlike other forms of tango, stage tango is not improvised and is rather choreographed and practised to a predetermined piece of music.