Cybertango Dicussion from the Tango Mailing List

Articles: [ Deutsch | English ]
  Cybertango: [ Deutsch | English ]
    Geography Page: [ Deutsch | English ]

Definitions for beginning - intermediate and advanced dancers

Sven Madsen
Pat Cummings

Date:    Thu, 11 Jun 1998 13:32:14 +0200
From:    Sven Madsen
Subject: Beginner - intermediate - advanced?

Hi Listmembers,

workshops and classes are held all the time, everywere. And there is always
som indication of what level the workshop will adress. My question is (at
the risk of waking up the tango-police) :
What is the definitions for a intermediate and for an advanced AT-dancer?
And would the skills required for a workshop differ for a couple compared
to a single dancer?

I assume that some knowledge of steps are required on higer levels, but how
about balance, posture, axis, timing and all the rest that takes a lifetime
to learn ;-) (or at least five years (for a leader) as a travelling
tangoteacher once told us)

As an example: In Barcelona this summer they operate with 5 levels:
Beginner, intermediate, intermediate-advanced, advanced and professional.

Sven Madsen
top of page
Date:    Wed, 5 Aug 1998 16:03:34 -0700
From:    Pat Cummings
Subject: Re: Beginner - intermediate - advanced?

Sven Madsen wrote on 11 June 1998:
>My question is (at the risk of waking up the tango-police) :
>What is the definitions for a intermediate and for an advanced AT-dancer?
> (snip) Beginner, intermediate, intermediate-advanced, advanced and
> professional...

With tongue firmly in cheek (Officer, I was only joking!), I would like to venture
an answer:

Can walk, but don't offer gum during practica!  Embracing arm is rigid, and
fixed to open the greatest amount of distance between the partners.  Clasped
hand is white-knuckled with tension, but the rest of that arm is loose and moves
up and down or pistons back and forth.  Posture is wobbly or bent forward at
the waist.  LOD is a "theoretical concept".
Cry:  (lead) "Are you in the cross?"  (follow)  "Where do I step now?"
Found:  In Intermediate classes, and stationary in corners of the floor during
the milonga or practica.

Can walk and chew gum.  Embracing arm is rigid, but partners are close enough
to perceive body lead.  Embracing hand may be fixed in "fingers of death".
Clasped hand is usually relaxed, but still rotates with respect to frame.  Posture is
upright, couple generally moving with following partner with her back to the LOD.
Leader knows how to maneuver in corners of dance floor, but either partner may
suddenly halt the dance to "discuss" the latest pattern just learned.
Cry: (lead) "Okay, NOW you do a back ocho..." (lead or follow) "Sorry!" (to partner)
Found:  In Intermediate-Advanced classes, and stationary at any point on the floor
during the milonga or practica.

Leader spontaneously creates patterns based on learned figures.  Embracing arm
is relaxed, with firm pressure directed in a manner appropriate to the step being
performed.  Clasped hand is relaxed, with a solid frame (sometimes to the detriment
of grace).  Posture is upright with beginnings of tango lean, couple moving generally
with the follower's "leading" shoulder in LOD.  May perform "above the safety level"
for the number of couples per unit area of floor.
Cry:  (lead or follow)  "Ooh, good one!" followed by "Excuse me!' (to another couple)
Found in: Intermediate-Advanced or Beginning classes, mostly in LOD, but
sometimes in center of dance floor "showing off," during the milonga or practica.

Leader spontaneously creates patterns and figures based on genuine understanding
of tango walk.  Follower is able to take advantage of freedom provided to make her
own adornments.  Frame is solid but relaxed, graceful.  Posture is straight with
noticeable tango lean where appropriate, couple moving generally with the "V" of their
embrace following LOD.  Can make a simple pattern elegant, know more patterns or
figures than they use when dancing.
Cry:  (follow)  "ahhhh" (low sigh of contentment.  Lead is silent)
Found: Teaching Beginning, Intermediate and Intermediate-Advanced classes, learning
from professionals or teachers in/from Buenos Aires.  Too often found sitting at edge of
a packed dance floor filled with stationary Beginners, debating Intermediates and show-
boating Intermediate-Advanced dancers.

Leader "just walks", follower "just follows".  May have forgotten why this dance is so
difficult to learn (because it's become second nature for the professional). Posture,
frame, movement, embrace are all elegantly graceful, suitable for pointing out as a
shining example to other levels of dancer.
Cry: (silent, expressed in the dance)
Found:  Dancing tango.  Teaching tango.  Selling and performing tango.  Breathing,
talking, living tango.

  (of Pat&Ken, who have moments [Ah! too brief!  Oh, too long!] at each level)

top of page

top of page

Garrit Fleischmann Aug.98
Email: kontakt(at)