This is Paul Palmintere, tango instructor at Step By Step Studio @ The Stage in Anthem. I run an entire Tango Program Monday Through Wednesday, every week. I have a boot camp for beginners every Sunday from 7 to 10 pm, an advanced-level class every Monday from 8:30 to 10 pm, and a “Practica” or Tango Practice Session every Wednesday from 8:30 to 11:30 pm.
I have scheduled 3 hours for Sunday’s boot camp (7 to 10 pm) to completely cover in depth all the basics and technique that you will need to get started: walking forwards & backwards, how we pivot in ochos & molinetes and their many variations, how and where we cross. We also delve into the other dances in tango: milonga and vals (tango-waltz).
We do a great many exercises covering foot placements, walking, crossing, ochos, molinets, leading & following, basics & fundamentals, technique, understanding the music, and social customs for dancing in the “milongas” (tango dance parties).
I have been at tango now for over 30 years, and I have had 100 teachers, some of whom are no longer alive today (in fact, I am among the very first in this country to have taken up tango, in 1986 in Hollywood, at a time when the original show “Tango Argentino” was touring the country).
I throw into my classes all the details, exercises, basics, fundamentals, and technique that I have collected over a lifetime in tango. I place a big emphasis on exercises & technique. Slowly, I introduce fun beginning patterns for lead-and-follow social dancing in the milongas.
As far as the embrace is concerned, at first I have beginners take an embrace that is somewhat open; after all, they are struggling to learn things that they have never done before. Over time I explain what the close embrace is and how & when to use it. Dancing in the milongas, of course, we use a great deal of the close embrace while dancing to the faster and rhythmic tempos of orchestras such as D’Arienzo, Biagi, Tanturi, Calo, Canaro, etc. But all this takes beginners time to get a handle on.
I probably spend more time on the music than other teachers. I have spent a great deal of time studying and analyzing the different Traditional Tango Orchestras (“Orquestas Tipicas”) that flourished in Buenos Aires during the Golden Age of Tango. There is a great deal of difference between the music of Juan D’Arienzo & Rodolfo Biagi, and that of Carlos Disarli & Osvaldo Pugliese. We learn how to recognize the differences in timing & arrangement, and we adjust our dancing a great deal to accommodate the different orchestras.
I am a traditionalist in both music and dance; this is what is best for students learning at the outset. I stay away from show tango and “tango Nuevo” music; this should be handled only by very advanced dancers who already have had a great deal of tango and dance training in general.