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How to Do the Argentine Tango

The Argentine tango is a passionate ballroom dance that is great for expressing love between two partners. Tango dancing involves quick, graceful, and playful movements with plenty of room for improvisation. These fun moves create a simple, yet elegant dance that consists of eight steps taken across eight counts. Learn how to dance the Argentine tango with Howcast’s free video lessons, which are great for beginners!

History of the Tango

Tango dancing first appeared during the 19th century in Argentina and Uruguay. It is based on the Cuban habanera rhythm and has influences from European and African dances. This was a product of the many immigrants that made their way to Argentina who mixed their music and dance styles.

As various cultures combined styles, the tango was eventually created in poor Argentinian neighborhoods. The tango reflected the desperation felt by poor immigrants and their longing for a better future. Eventually, the dance also became popular with wealthy families. From here, these wealthy socialites spread their tango skills to Paris and America for the whole world to enjoy.

How to Tango

The tango is a fairly straightforward walking dance that just requires precise footwork. It is relatively easy to perform once you master the eight basic steps and understand how the count works!

Body Position

To dance the tango, you will need to have your body close to your partner’s and keep your knees bent. A man’s left hand will extend forward to meet a woman’s upward-flexed right hand. The man’s right hand will then be placed on the midsection of a woman’s back. The woman’s left hand should be on the man’s right shoulder.

How to Do the Argentine Tango Basic Step

Now you know the basics of the tango, involving body position and how to count the steps involved. Remember to keep your knees bent during each step, as this is an important characteristic of the dance. Here’s how you can perform the moves of the Argentine Tango Basic Step:


  • Begin with your feet together, toes apart.
  • Shift your weight to your right leg and step forward—one, two, three, four—cross left over right, five.
  • Keeping your toes closed, transfer your weight step back with the right—six, side seven, eight. 
  • From here, just wait for the next signal making sure that you keep your spine straight and weight slightly on the balls of your feet.


  • Start with a small back step on count one…
  • Side step on two, forward step three, forward step four, cross your partner, five and bring your feet together…
  • Small forward step six, side seven, and change weight to your other leg on eight

Start Dancing the Tango!

You should now have a better idea of how to perform the basic steps of the Argentine tango! Explore our full Tango video lesson series for even more moves and tips.

Or, if you want to take a look at other helpful dance video tutorials and guides, head to our main How to Dance page


Diego Blanco and Ana Padron

Award-winning Argentine Tango dancers Diego Blanco and Ana Padron are one of the top performing couples in the world today. Diego and Ana command a wide range of dance disciplines from which they tap inspiration for their improvisation and choreography. They founded their dance company, Tango for All, to bring this electrifying dance to audiences in America and throughout the world. Diego and Ana have toured throughout the United States, the Caribbean, South America, Europe and Asia. They have performed in numerous off-Broadway shows and have danced and done choreography for an independent film. In Kuala Lumpur they were honored with an award for their “dedication to Argentine Tango as a form of expression through dance and for expanding knowledge of the dance through teaching.” They are now based in New York City, where they teach experienced dancers and newcomers alike.

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