Chapter 4. Ricardo Talks More About Tango


20170826170325The Essence of Tango in the Milonguero Way

All the things that I shall say are thoughts of a long time experienced in all the milongas I knew (about 2,000-2,500 in 60 years of dancing).

There is not a thing to keep it in your minds; just read it and feel it, as a way to develop more your own feelings, every day of your life, when you dance . . . in a close embrace.

The body doesn’t think; the body feels the music as a way to move and walk, and if we put our attention to what our body is feeling, we will see that we are moving.  We only need to walk with elegance, transmitting to our partner in the embrace the energy we have from our chest (the heart chakra or energy zone of the body).  If you do it in this way can you transmit your energy to your partner.  Improve each step and you will have the cadence of your own style.

You see us old milongueros as something special, and we all are special since we each dance our own style.  That means feeling in our own way the rhythm, cadence, embrace and moving the body.  When we have this and transmit it, then we are milongueros.

Nobody can teach you how to feel, but some of us can teach you how to hear the music, how to walk with it, and the rest will come alone.  We can tell you how your weight works in each step, how to turn, how to walk with elegance, but only if your body feels the music.  If it isn’t this way, you can learn a hundred steps and figures, but you will never be a milonguero unless you improvise each step with feeling.

Remember that there is not an academy, institution or university that can produce a master, a professor, a teacher.  Unless you can prove it against the best at the milongas, salons and place where tango is, only the people will give you the title “maestro.”

Nobody is the owner of a step, but you are the owner of your feeling; and that, no one can copy.  I am not saying that technique is not necessary, but only after you have danced in a salon, not before, because there is no technique to learning feeling.  The inspiration for this is the music and the woman.

We old milongueros only ask that of those who are coming to tango all over the world, not to forget the essence, the codes, the friendship, without being envious and try to always give all of yourself when you dance because the only thing that will remain when we milongueros are no longer here is what we have taught and given from our hearts . . . tango.

Published in El Once Tango News (London) Winter 2004/5  No. 45 and reprinted with permission.


The Essence of Tango

We, the old milongueros, and I mean that old is not for the age, but it is because each one of us has a special way or touch in our dancing, and it is not necessary to have a determinant age.  By “old” I do not refer particularly to age.

You can dance well or walk well,  and still not be a milonguero, since only a milonguero dances with different women who appreciate his style, embrace, and ability to lead.

The essence of the tango is in the different milongas, and not only in one where we feel more comfortable or like it more.  Every milonga has a special flavor, like restaurants, and in those places where this beautiful youth should go and not be crushed as if in a subway, always the same.  It’s important to go to different milongas where you have the chance to see other ways of dancing, observe the codes that are necessary to know.  Most of the young people practice the same thing; sacadas, voleos, jumps, etc., instead of listening to the music which is the best improvisation that the body feels.  The rhythm, compás, pause, and cadencia should be always the first thing not only in creating your own style but also feeling in your heart so you can transmit it and improvise on the floor.

When I hear that classes include ganchos, sacadas, voleos, jumps, combinations in musicality and stretching, I smile and say, “Where is the feeling?”  Some of us, old dinosaur milongueros, see farther.  These dancers look like soldiers ready to dance the same way, throwing hundreds of steps all the same in different times because they don’t hear the music.  They are too busy with how they look . . .

The best who teach and perform all over the world should prove themselves in the milongas of Buenos Aires among old milongueros. They should prove that they can also improvise steps, poses and can transmit the energy and feeling for others to see and learn from, instead of putting nice advertising in magazines or other kinds of publicity.  They should earn their reputation here in the salons and milongas.

What university or academy of tango can give the title of Master, professor or the name you want to give it, to a person who teaches tango?

Can I be a doctor, dentist, an engineer because I read and understand the last book?  Then, how can I be a teacher or instructor of tango if I can’t teach what I feel or know?  We, the old milongueros, only ask, don’t forget the essence, don’t leave behind the codes, just give the feeling of tango . . . that’s all we want.

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What Does Holistic Tango Mean?

It is to teach and demonstrate that every person who desires to dance tango has his/her own feeling.

Relax the body and quiet the mind is the first thing to do . . .

. . . Communicate with the music.  First on your own, and then with a partner.

The interior is the primordial base for dancing.  Therefore, the only form is to have your own balance and style.

Dance and feel is the only communion.

And to dance in a salon with fifty or a hundred different people is more difficult than to dance on your own.

To yield and gain the space is the secret of dancing tango; tango is improvised.  To dance for yourself, not for others is another secret. There is a major concentration.

These points of view are vital and all the teachers should know them and inculcate in their students.  Salon tango does not have a technique, so technique  is for stage and that’s where poses and figures were developed.  They are exaggerated in the case of many good dancers, but many of the new dancers cannot do them in the milongas.  They don’t dominate a style, but only the technique that in the salon with thirty or fifty couples is impossible to develop and dance.  On top they want to demonstrate steps that anybody teaches them in academias.  There is no feeling neither a proper style, and one can see it when they dance in the milongas.  I reiterate — to dance tango: relax, adjust to the rhythm, and walk.  Nobody invented nothing.  Nobody owns the steps; their styles, yes.

Holistic Tango

The instructors at Holistic Tango in New York City might disagree with most methods of teaching dance. “We don’t agree with teaching steps,” says Argentina native Ricardo Vidort. “We want you to feel the music. You need to understand your own rhythm. Dancing the tango is more about feeling, you own balance, your own steps. People who have been dancing tango a long time have harmony of feeling and movement.”

Vidort has seen many people in his community of all ages benefit from the tango. “Everybody is happy. They are enjoying it and are not tense. They are enjoying the music.” Vidort believes the music and movement have a spiritual power. “I think inside all of us is a part of God. We just need to find that secret.” You won’t find that secret through a step-by-step approach according to Vidort. What’s important is being in step with the feeling of the music. Vidort has danced tango for 53 years and is one of the less than dozen people who still dance the milonguero style of tango popularized in the 1920s. Milongas are dance halls in Buenos Aires where thousand of people gathered day and night to dance the tango.

Deborah Winner, a physical therapist and dancer is Vidort’s intimate and business partner. She says;” “His style is improvisational. He dances with feeling and is not a slave to the music”.

The Basis For Teaching Is . . .


  • how to listen to the music
  • the close embrace — with energy, not tight but secure.
  • relax to give security
  • walk with cadence in the music and knowing how to handle the steps
  • in your own feeling regulate the steps with your cadence with the body soft and elegant
  • always looking and watching where you go
  • dance for the woman, not for the public


  • elegance and posture– it comes when you learn how to listen to the music and wait for the man
  • relax to breathe better . . . and you will have . . . independence of movements, so. . . dance for your partner, not the public

Tango music has a question, a prologue, and an answer — learn to feel it.

Tango Salon

I would like to talk about tango salon and feel that there is so much to be said about the love that I feel for this form of tango. The answer to such is magic.  Feel the music after its rhythm and compás and then its essence, which is detached and envelopes us in the light, only gives us visions of incredible nuances.  The friendship that always starts and never stops, grows every day and teaches us to try to give, it doesn’t matter how, only give . . . so by giving we feel better.

Years past, talks, glasses of wine, only we know from another friend what his name is, what family he has, so this friendship that is born from tango never asks, only gives, and this simple answer relates to all.  We play together when we stop, the respect that we will never lose for a friend, and from day-to-day it will grow stronger than blood.

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Is Tango Dance a Therapy?

This is a questions that makes us think … Yes, in certain moments, we do ask ourselves this question.

When we try to dance, it is sometimes a challenge to prove we can do it, and most of the time we are in competition with ourselves: the sensation of having or being in the caress of a person we like makes our heart enjoy the movements that music makes us do, and then we try to do it better next time . . . we are. . . !  That is the moment we choose to learn more, because we are feeling the enjoyment of the tango music.

This learning will never end, with teachers or without them.  Every moment we can, every day we shall go to dance tango, to dance with different people, in different places and suddenly we are an addict to tango. What a beautiful sensation!

See that while we are in a milonga we don’t have headaches, pains or anything like that, instead we are laughing, smiling and talking about everything, and the time runs out so fast . . . it is already midnight!

Today tango dance has become the biggest club of people all over the world.  Two or three hundred or more cities in the world have tango places in which hundreds of people go to enjoy the music and company.  Today’s ballrooms (milongas) have a lot of professional people enjoying themselves: doctors, dentists, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, and others – they all go to places for tango music.

It is really a therapy!  It is something that liberates your soul, and also the choice of a moment for all your life, because more than a dance it is a feeling that you dance.  You begin listening, and suddenly you are on your legs and feet, moving and walking with the rhythm of the music.  It is somewhat like being with a friend with whom you dance to be yourself.

The biggest importance of this feeling is that there are no two of a kind, I mean you can share it or give it away, but it’s impossible to explain because there are not two persons in the world who could feel the same way. You need not plan what or how you are going to dance, because to have this feeling your body feels, instead of only hearing the music. Your mind should not be in there, only the feeling of the body, and then only you can improvise movements, steps and many more things that your soul feels and transmits to your partner, in rhythm, walking (with elegance and style) and cadence. You don’t shake, you balance your body with her in a close embrace, moving and rocking inside of the music, and that is like a mantra, producing the sensuality and charm of the dance.

And this is what certain masters of meditation said in Chicago in an article called The Tao of Tango; they clearly explain it: in meditation you liberate your soul . . . and also in tango.

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Published on 30/01/2011 at 1:00 am  Comments Off on Chapter 4. Ricardo Talks More About Tango  
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