Looking for a way to keep fit and be entertained and challenged at the same time?
The proud, strong, sensual steps of the tango may be just the thing you need to get your heart pumping and your blood racing.
The origins of this enigmatic dance are lost in the mists of time but, legend has it, tango arose from the cultural hotch-potch that was Argentina in the late 1880s. Back then, it was just a dance and was often performed to waltz music. But it didn’t take long for a whole cultural movement, including tango music, song, dance and poetry, to spring to life.
Now people from all over the world flock to festivals and classes to get their fill of this sexy pas de deux.
It definitely takes more than two to tango if you are a beginner. You’ll pick up a lot more from a class environment with an experienced teacher than you will trying to glide your way around the lounge-room in front of the DVD player.
Professional actor, acrobat and dancer David Backlar and his partner in all things tango, former ballerina Dianne Heywood-Smith, are dedicated to passing on their skills and passion for this artform to people of all ages and walks of life.
Their studio in Australia, Sidewalk Tango, comes alive every Wednesday night as a milonga – a lounge where tango afficionados and novices alike can meet, practise and socialise.
There are essentially three basic steps forwards, sideways and backwards but it is the posture and the character of the dance that are the keys to a great tango experience.
Tango is a fine way for the ladies to shape up the calf muscles as the dance is performed on high-heels and a fair amount of weight is placed forward, over the toes.
The thighs also get their fair share of a work-out, especially for the men as they are often the weight-bearers throughout the sequence.
You can also expect to develop toned shoulders as the arms are held at a 90 degree angle.
Advanced students make it all look so easy and smooth; however, it takes a while to become proficient enough to execute a bounce-free, tangle-free tango, but half the fun is in the learning.
Since this is the dance of passion, come to class prepared for contact. You will be joined at the breast in a close embrace with your partner.
Some may find this a little intimidating, others may revel in the closeness.
Once you’ve had your first taste of tango, you’ll definitely have trouble getting this sensuous sequence out of your system.