Chapter 5. Ricardo Teaching

Videos courtesy of Myriam Pincen

Videos courtesy of Jill Barrett

* * * * *

The following is from Ricardo’s handwritten notes for classes.

Most of you beginners decide to learn tango because you have seen tango shows, stage dancers or championships, and you really think that this is the real tango.  Here is where you are mistaken.  Why?  Because this kind of tango is for a show, a stage; it’s not the real tango, the one that thousands danced on the streets and milongas of Buenos Aires.

The traditional tango style is feeling!  Get the rhythm and put it into everything–your dreams, thoughts, love, passion, because when you put it all together, that’s feeling!

Begin to walk with this beat of tango, and you will have your own style!

* * * * *

Narcotango, Tango Protesta, Tango Alternativa, Tango Electronico — all these things — what are they?  Thousands dance them.  How many can dance milonguero?

* * * * *

Tango Class: Once you understand and know how to walk with rhythm, you will begin to dance in a couple.

When you go to the dance floor:

  1. Women should stand with their backs to the tables, because her first step will be to her right.
  2. Men, on the contrary, should stand with their backs to the center of the dance floor, because their first step is with the left foot.
  3. Both have to walk or dance, in that way, counter-clockwise around the room.  This is the correct way to dance–keeping a distance from the couple ahead and the one behind you.  We call this “handle the floor.”
  4. Remember that you dance for your own pleasure and joy, and not for the people.
  5. No one can invent a new step, no one is the owner of steps, but yes, you are the owner of your style because this is only made by your feeling.
  • Relax and breathe
  • Hear and listen to the music . . .
  • Elegance in your walking and posture
  • Now regulate your steps with the concept of the rhythm (beat)
  • Ladies: wait for the man

You are dancing tango !!!…

Note:  No teacher, academy or school can teach feeling.  That’s yours and from it comes your own style.

* * * * *

Tango Class

First class:

  • Explain how to relax
  • Walk to get the rhythm
  • Begin with the correct position

Second class:

  • How to embrace and walk together

Third class:

  • Walking backwards and forwards together and crossing

Fourth class:

  • How to turn to the right

Fifth class:

  • How to turn to the left

Sixth class:

  • Corridas forward

Seventh class:

  • Corridas backward

Eighth class:

  • Let’s begin to dance tango!

* * * * *


  1. Fundamentals of Tango – the milonguero way
  2. Embrace, feeling
  3. Develop your feeling, give it to your partner
  4. Body has a muscular receiver
  5. Feet and chest — at the same time.
  6. Energy – how it influences the third Chakra (solar plexus) in both.
  7. Elegance comes when you walk with the music in a natural way.
  8. Dance for your partner, not for others (social tango).
  9. The woman and the music are always first.

* * * * *

Class Notes

  1. Tango milonguero style, what is it?
  2. Steps and feeling
  3. Dancing tango in different expressions of the feeling (with the same steps) by example — D’Arienzo and Fresedo
  4. Does the body think, where is dancing?
  5. Why 7 steps makes all tango.  How many combinations are there?
  6. What is first, the music or the steps and figures?
  7. Elegance is walking, what the man does to distribute his strength and energy to the woman, and vice versa
  8. Evolution and involution of tango as a dance
  9. Is the real essence of tango dying?
  10. Why?  (Academies are all the same)

* * * * *

The first phase of tango is in its history, how it originated, different influences of other music, rhythms, and especially how the musicians and musicians felt it.  History of different orchestras (Canaro, Di Sarli, Biaggi, etc).

Demonstrations. . .

  • Posturas — feminine and masculine: embrace, axis, the body angle
  • Position, importance of the chakras
  • How the man leads, how the woman receives the lead (waiting)
  • The importance of the footwork, the metatarsal–its force and direction
  • Walking in its three forms: left, right, and center
  • Rotations to change the direction
  • Turns to the left and right
  • Corridas: forward, side, backward, and circular
  • Puentes (bridge)
  • Calecitas
  • Balanceo, hamacando (body swing)
  • Cadencia
  • Panza
  • Visualize in which direction to go, protecting the woman

All the above needs musicality, the rhythm, feeling, because the body does not listen but feels, also, codes and ethics of the milonga.

  • Syncopation, rhythm
  • Improvisation
  • Perceptions
  • Compatibility
  • Engaños (misleads)
  • Arranques (starting motion)
  • Time and space
  • Understanding of music: question, pause, answer


  • Relaxation
  • Sensibility
  • Confidence
  • Peacefulness
  • Change of weight with each step
  • Magnetism of the music in the body

The entire aspect of tango has a physical and spiritual force.  A teacher should see in each student his or her own feeling, which is different from everybody else, and within it correct and emanate the suitable.

Video courtesy of Jill Barrett

Video courtesy of Rick McGarry

Published on 30/01/2011 at 1:00 am  Comments Off on Chapter 5. Ricardo Teaching  
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