In Argentine Tango walking should look like dancing, not walking.
One of the first questions that arises relates to the leader’s foot placement: heel first, toe first, or flat? Instructors and advanced tango dancers have different views on this. There are instructors who are in the toe first school and others in the heel first. And when you watch competitive tango dancers, you will see both styles with individuals even changing for different steps. You will also see the frequent use of “cat-like” flat foot.
Here are three great videos to help your tango walk:
This video is by Sebastián Achaval and Roxana Suarez and is a great demonstration of graceful tango walking. It uses both heel-first and toe-first styles.
The next video provides three tips to achieve a stylish argentine tango walk:
- Dissociation. The angle of the shoulders and the hips are often turned at different angles.
- The feet and ankles should pass close to each other when stepping.
- Turning the toe outwards, instead of straight, should provide more balance.
Parallel and Cross Walking
There are two types of tango walking: Parallel Walking and Cross Walking. Parallel footwork is the “normal” style where the leader’s left leg moves with the follower’s left leg and the leader’s right leg moves with the follower’s left leg. This is normally done in two walking tracks.
In cross footwork, the leader’s left left moves with the follower’s left leg and the leader’s right leg moves with the follower’s right leg. Walking with cross footwork is usually done in three tracks with the leader offset to either the open or closed side of the follower.
Here is a great video on how to do the cross system basic with Diego Blanco and Ana Padrón.
And here is how to walk in parallel and cross system again with Diego Blanco and Ana Padrón. It provides some helpful tips about walking in general. It then shows one way for the leader to change to cross foot and walk on the open side:
Next, here is a video by Oscar and Mary Ann Casas covering cross and parallel walking:
More Advanced Walking
Finally, the following video by Homer and Cristina Ladas. It teaches the “snake walk” and demonstrates the “roller-blade” skater walk, two cross system walking styles that are more advanced:
- A weaving “snake” walk that is done cross foot in two tracks. The follower continues fairly straight back.
- A “skater” style where the leader walks with each foot on a different side of the follower. In the “skater” style it is essential that the leader collects the feet on each step so that they don’t waddle (or wet diaper walk). The follower may do shallow back ochos.