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How to Lead & How to Follow in the Argentine Tango

Learn how to lead and how to follow when dancing the Argentine tango from tango instructors Diego Blanco and Ana Padron in this Howcast dance video.


Diego: We are going to take a look at how to lead and how to follow an Argentine Tango. There are two main things that you want to think about, or steps, or ways of leading and following.

First, when you are stepping, you take your partner, and when I am stepping I am either pushing or pulling in a lead. But I do not do this with the arms; you do it by moving your body and maintaining the connection.

Then there is something called a pivot. That is done by the spiral of the chest. Let us take a look at it from the side. So if we go to be pivoting and there is no stepping here as you can see, I want to step, I will push or pull. Keep in mind that you are not pushing from the arms.

Female: And as a follower, it is all about understanding and receiving the information through your wrists. So if Diego was to walk with me, I would feel the pressure through my upper body and that will start to right away, give me energy to start moving my legs. The objective is for Diego to lead my legs, not to lead my torso. So right away, if I feel pressure, I will start to stretch my leg back or chase his other foot forward and again side to side.

As for pivoting, I also have to receive from my upper body and that will help me move. I believe in 50/50. So he will give me a little signal and I will start to take that energy and pivot.

Another important thing about following is you have to just remember where your partner led your weight shift. So if Diego shifts his weight but takes a step I am not going to on my own change legs, I am going to maintain myself on that leg that he placed me until he gives me the next signal.

So from here, I will wait for him until I feel a push or a pull or a pivot.

Diego: Also, in the pivot, don't change weight; you are always on one leg.

Female: And you turn on one leg. Not this way. So from here...

Diego: The ladies are always on one leg.

Female: ...Turn on one leg and the other one is just caressing the floor.

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