The Art of Communication in Argentine Tango


Communication is best done through non-verbal cues rather than spoken. 

This fact is already proven when our forebears communicate among one another through hand signals in the absence of language. This observation of non-verbal communication among our forebears is clear evidence that the “55% body language, 38% tone of voice and 7% verbal communication” is true only in the context of contemporary communication. If we are compelled by circumstances to communicate entirely on non-verbal cues, it is definitely possible.

Which brings us to the issue of this post: exploring non-verbal communication through dances. And in this instance, Argentine Tango. Do note there are distinct differences in Argentine Tango, American Tango and International Tango and these dances should not be confused. Most of you might be wondering why Argentine Tango is selected out of all dances, the reasons of which I will explain below.

I have examined all types of dances that include West Coast Swing, Rumba, Salsa, Foxtrot, Latin Jam, Hip Hop and Paso Doble.  All of the abovementioned types of dances are very interesting dances for all dance enthusiasts to engage in. In fact, many of these dances are considered as social dances. They enhance interactions and communications that are often unspoken as well as creating rapport among the participants in any dance social gatherings.

However, after reading on Argentine Tango and watching some of its dance movements, I realised that this dance is special primarily because it is improvisational. What this means is that Argentine Tango does not follow any specified dance steps unlike other dances (although there are some pre-defined dance moves that Argentine Tango dancers are able to use at will. These moves include the ocho, lapiz, sacada , gancho and the volcada).  While the follower takes the lead from the leader as in any other dance, the dances that they participate in are never entirely the same (unless they choose to do so), which makes Argentine Tango dance moves extremely unpredictable and interesting. The dance choreography is almost entirely done on the dance floor in an impromptu manner and this ability to create an entire new dance for every dance has attracted many dance enthusiasts to Argentine Tango.

Dance concepts aside, the ability to improvise the dance moves in Argentine Tango has created opportunities for many dancers to communicate non-verbally on the dance floor in the absence of words.  In life, there are few opportunities for us to communicate non-verbally. Thus, Argentine Tango- with its ability to enable dancers to improvise – bridges the gap that exists between two individuals who wish to communicate non-verbally.  Over time, coordination between the dancers can be improved. While this observation may be seen by many to be beneficial only for couples who are in love, veteran Argentine Tango dancers may most probably beg to differ. Non-verbal communications are for everyone.

Someone once commented that Argentine Tango is all about love and passion. I’d rather say that Argentine Tango is all about non-verbal communication.

For without non-verbal communication, there is no dance.

And there definitely will not be any Argentine Tango.


One thought on “The Art of Communication in Argentine Tango

  1. Dance allows us to be creative and explore who we are without limitation. It allows us to be spontaneous leading us to understand the authentic creativity we all have. It lets us be in the moment and empty our mind. Our body has its own intelligence. It’s our guide when we can listen to it. Tango is about sharing my energy with someone in the moment while we blend with the music. It’s the deepest experience I’ve had with dance in my life. And it’s only three-minutes of bliss in a man’s arms. We hold each other firmly while walking and turning, improvising each step of each tango or vals. And then we part silently after ten minutes of intimacy.


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