Heel or ball? The secret how to walk right in Argentine Tango

If you have danced Tango for a while, probably you´ve been taught completely different ways to walk by different Tango teachers.

 

 

Some Tango teachers tell you to walk with the ball of your foot first.

How do you walk right in Argentine Tango? Stepping first on your heel or the ball of your foot?

Other Tango teachers tell you to walk over your heel the same way you do, when you walk naturally on the street.

Can be fairly confusing, right?

Particularly when the Tango teacher is convinced to be the ONLY ONE who REALLY knows how to do it.

 

 

So, what shall you do?

Don´t worry, Tango can be easy and in reality there is no problem at all.

Look, the right way to walk in Argentine Tango depends simply on the way you dance…

If you dance Tango quickly, taking long steps you will walk over your heel the same way (okay, maybe a little more elegant) you walk on the street.

Of course you can try to take long quick steps walking on tip toe.

Yet unless you are a trained ballet dancer (and who of us normal Tango dancers is?) you will have big problems doing this and most probably it will look pretty funny (Not that I´d think looking funny is bad :-) . Dancing Tango should be fun, true?

If you dance Tango quickly, taking short steps you will in most cases walk on the balls of your feet, because you can move faster.

Also your body will be pending a little bit forward thus keeping a better contact with your dance partner.

 

 

The right walk is one of the most important things in Argentine Tango. Once you´ve mastered the secrets of the Tango walk you start to become a real good Tango dancer.
The right walk is one of the most important things in Argentine Tango. Once you´ve mastered the secrets of the Tango walk you start to become a real good Tango dancer.

If you dance Tango  slowly (or even very slowly like in slow motion), taking long steps, it looks very elegant if you land on the ball of your foot with leg and foot extended as far as possible. And given that Tango is an elegant dance that´s not to bad, isn´t it?

It requires a lot of balance to perform an extra long step in a slow motion Tango, but it really looks and feels like “WOW!” and is an excellent training for your balance.

Of course you can dance Tango slowly, taking short steps but honestly I hardly ever do this.

Okay, now you know the whole secret.

So go out to your favorite milonga and dance…

 

 

About Wolfgang Sandt

Mostly nice, patient, humorous, ecoconscious, good tango dancer and tango teacher
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3 Responses to Heel or ball? The secret how to walk right in Argentine Tango

  1. Wolfgang says:

    Thank you Walter, it is always nice to hear from you.
    Kind regards
    Wolfgang

  2. Walter Kane says:

    An easy solution to the “heel-first/ball-first” question is to let your forward step touch the floor first with the outside edge of the foot. Simply turn your toe out and down slightly so that the area of your little toe becomes the landing gear. It looks graceful and unaffected, and allows your weight to come automatically onto the ball of the foot as you complete the step. Depending on your walking trajectory, the heel may sometimes hit first, but it’s not a big deal and you will always have a soft landing if your foot posture follows this formula.

    Further hint: For back steps and side steps, the inner edge should touch down first. Reach back from the hip and set the posture of your foot to make this happen.

    • Wolfgang says:

      Hello Walter,
      I wanted to get back to the discussion about walking once more. Last time I was to tired to answer in detail. Sorry for that:-(
      You´re completely right about landing with the outside edge of the foot. It comes to me so naturally I couldn´t do it differently if I wanted.
      But this is only when I do a slow step. I can´t do it when I do a quick long step. In that case I have to walk landing on my heel first.
      I think the way you describe walking fits nicely in your very elegant stile of dancing Tango with comparatively slow steps (at least this is how my impression watching you on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPuDlCBjJ50 ).
      With kind regards
      Wolfgang