About the website

This website contains some short articles about Argentine tango.

These articles are like blogs, except there are only a few articles which are updated infrequently. They are musings on various aspects of tango: some lessons I've learnt along the way, the role models I've had, and some observations I've made. All these are necessarily highly subjective and personal, mirrored by my own limited experiences. Nevertheless, I have written these in the hope that some people may find them amusing or interesting.


About me

I have been involved with tango for many years in Melbourne Australia, and dabbled in various aspects of it, including teaching classes, running regular practicas and occasional milongas, starting a club, and DJing. Nowadays I spend far less time doing any of these things, and enjoy just dancing once a week or so. I work full time in biomedical research.

New to tango?

Many people in Australia associate tango with ballroom dancing or Hollywood movies portraying couples dancing with a rose between their teeth. Scenes from the movies like The Scent of a Woman, True Lies or Take the Lead are often mentioned. These scenes are essentially depicting ballroom dancing, which is quite distinct from Argentine tango. This excellent article by Daniel Trenner talks about the rich cultural context of tango, as well as the distinction between the social and the show tango (referred to as salon and fantasy tango in the article).

Argentine tango looks rather introverted. Even show tango looks distinctively different to the movies. The dance is based on walking around the floor in an improvised manner. The steps are all led and followed, and this creates a very strong sense of connection to your partner. The challenge comes from having to work with another person's body, and the fun comes from the sense of connection one feels to the partner and the music. The music is also incredibly diverse and rhapsodic, often with strong rhythm and intricate melodies woven together.

Tango is not a competition and there are no defined levels to attain. It's danced not for an audience but for oneself and the partner. Hence it's an activity based very much on participation, just as conversations are. And just as the best conversations allow us to relate to another person, and it is a feeling not just a collection of words, tango dancing works this way with our bodies. In this sense, the tango as the dance can represent a way of expression and tango as a participatory form can represent a way of living. One becomes a part of a community and a part of a creative process, rather than being a passive consumer. Because it is so easy to live in the modern Australian society without participating in an artistic and cultural endeavour, tango remains an activity not easily seen and understood by the public at large.

There are numerous tango teachers and events in Melbourne. Check out a full list of them at the MPG tango calendar.


email@socialtango.com. Emailed comments are welcome.


Copyright 2013 J.Choi. All Rights Reserved.