‘Social’ Tango. When using the word ‘Social’, in the phrase ‘Social Tango’, it’s easy to confuse it with two other different definitions of the word ‘Social’ which are:
1.) An informal gathering of people, and ideas, to form a group of like-minded individuals.
2.) When a person engages and interacts with an informal or formal group.
In this instance, ‘Social’ refers to a series of ideas and concepts that might loosely be equated with ‘Milonguero Style‘ of dancing or more importantly Dancing In A Small Space or the DIASS concept. However, this isn’t about a style like: Tango Orillero (pron: oh-RE-zSh-ero), Tango Nuevo, Tango Milonguero (which is more a marketing term than a style), Tango Fantasia or Show Tango also sometimes referred to as Tango Escenario, Villa Urquiza (pron: Vee-zSha Er-Kee-Za), Fluid or Liquid Tango, Tango de la Pista, and/or Tango de Salon. No. Those are ‘styles’. To be fair, as a side note, there are some that would classify Tango de Salon as an all-encompassing umbrella idea of Tango under which all of these styles are present and live a comfortable life next to each other. That definition depends on a number of factors too numerous to go into here.
Moving on, the definition of ‘Social’ Tango is about a series of ideas, concepts, dancing constructs, and floorcraft principles that are small, they fit within the line, line, and progression of dance (the ronda). These ideas also coalesce around certain aspects of Codigos (mostly the Mirada/Cabeceo principles and activities), as well respecting the Ronda (there’s a lot of room for interpretation on this aspect but generally it means not changing lanes, not rushing the line of dance, keeping good distance from the couples around you, being aware of the couples around you, etc … think > good driving habits!), and respecting the entrance, and exit of La Pista (the floor), which when you combine with Dancing In A Small Space (DIASS) and it’s chosen vocabulary ideas and constructs, they co-create and combine to create the idea of ‘Social’ Tango and really ‘Social’ Dancing for Argentine Tango.
An example of Social Tango in the minimal are two pieces of vocabulary that Tango Topics actively promotes and teaches: Milonguero Ochos, and Milonguero Turns as the basis for these ideas the comprise the bulk of Social Tango. However, even Social Colgadas, and Social Volcadas can be added to the construct of social vocabulary. Most of the vocabulary within the Tango Topics library is based on this idea with the exception of Ganchos. Even Social Boleos are components of what Tango Topics refers to as Social Vocabulary. Meaning that the chosen step/pattern/figure must fit within the line, lane, and ronda of dance at the very minimum, but overall must be modified to be small and furthermore contained to within the couples distance around themselves to extend no further than a smaller than normal walking step. There’s a lot of vagueness in that last statement because everyone’s idea of what a ‘normal’ walking step, and ‘smaller than normal’ is going to be different. So whatever your idea is…make it even small than that. Think very compact, very tight, tiny. No…SMALLER! Got it ?
It’s important to recognize something that has occurred in the Tango world that has created the need for this phrase to exist. Those ideas above as noted as styles of Tango, as well as Tango de Salon, the umbrella idea. They’ve become muddy, or unclear as to what they actually mean. The reason for this is because so many people misuse one for the other, not to mention there is a very clear misunderstanding as to what one is or is not. So there is a need for a phrase like this to re-clarify this concept in slightly more modern terms. As Tango has grown over the last 4 decades, it has changed, and become something different. Even within the last 10 to 20 years.
It’s also important to recognize that the need for clarity of this idea is also an outgrowth of the Encuentro scene as a way to classify and clarify the style of dancing that happens at those types of events. That being the case, why not call it “Encuentro Style”. That’s a possibility but rather limiting, as there are many styles that are accepted at those events but the end result still adheres to the basic premise: small, fits within the lane and line of dance, and respects the ronda.
Lastly, you may want to confuse the idea of embraces in this definition, and that would be a mistake. This is not about embraces like close, open, vee, open vee, pseudo, milonguero, or even marathon. Yes, there is a Marathon embrace idea, and there’s even a Marathon style of dance! However, this isn’t about embrace styles. It’s about the structures (vocabulary) in time to the music, while respecting the line, the lane, and that fits within those things.« Back to Glossary Index