This is a brief guide to help dancers understanding where they are in their Tango journey. This guide will provide ideas on what should be next area of development. Said that, Tango is a "multi layers" activity where technique, steps, confidence, musicality mix together. So this guide should only be used on as a broad guideline.
One last comment about the steps that a dancer should be able to do. Tango is NOT about the steps. After so many years of dancing, the best Tanda I had were not associated with nice or advanced steps. The only reason for which I mention some of the step that a dancer should have at different level is only because after attending classes and workshop it is normal that dancer "vocabulary" increases and gets richer.
Beginning Argentine Tango Dancer:
Anyone who has had less than 12 months exposure to dancing Argentine Tango.
Knowledge of basic step.
Dance comfortably in only open OR close embrace
Not being able to switch easily from open to close embrace.
Not being able to always dance on the beat (this apply to Tango, Vals and Milonga)
Not being able to focus, at the same time, on Music and Partner
Not be always able to follow the line of dance
Steps: side step, basic walking in parallel and cross system, ocho forward and backward, crusada.
Intermediate Argentine Tango Dancer:
Has been REGULARLY dancing Argentine Tango for at least one year
Can dance comfortably dance in open and close embrace
Full awareness of the other dancers and choosing step and adornments accordingly.
Able to dance on the beat for Traditional Tango, Vals and Milonga
always stay on your own axis, without hanging on the partner
Being able to execute simple adornments according to the music
Collect and wait for leader next input
Executing ocho with good dissociation of upper and lower body
Walking fully extending the leg (especially in the walk backwards)
Able to switch between open and close embrace
Able to switch between parallel and crossed system
Good balance and stability, offering support to the follower if needed
Clear lead from the core and not using hands/arms
Can stay on the line of dance at all times and has good navigation skills.
Step: all the steps mentioned in the beginner section plus ocho cortado, molinete, change of direction, single axe rotation.
Advanced Argentine Tango Dancers
Has been regularly dancing Argentine Tango for at least 5 years
Has mastered all the items mentioned in the previous session on intermediate steps.
Dance following the music phrasing and respecting music pause
Being able to distinguish and dance to music melody or underlaying rhythm
Choose step according to the music
Different walking styles according to the music
Mastered the lead of most advanced steps
Listen to follower, especially when they execute adornment that require the leader to wait
Being able to properly execute simple and complex adornments according to the music
Mastered execution of more complex steps
Elegant foot work
Steps: colgada, volcada, gancho, boleo.