Tango de Salon

Tango de Salon (sometimes called simply Salon) is an inclusive term for the dancing found at what used to be called ‘Salons’ (ballrooms) – in other words, milonga halls. This is the style taught by Isla del Tango (MALTA).  This style is characterized more by its wide variation than by a specific position; it is the style owned, practiced and shaped by the collective masses on the floor.

Tango de Salon (photo attributed to Peter Forett)

Tango de Salon has the following attributes:

  • Highly improvised, with the only limitation being the experience and repertoire of the lead and follower.
  • The line of dance is strictly respected, particularly at the outer-most lane called the ronda.
  • Full variation in embellishments, from the subtle to the extravagant: constrained by the density of the crowd.
  • The embrace may be open or close, though often closed, particularly in a crowded dance floor. When it is open, a different repertoire is available, which is especially true for the follower. The embrace will also be relaxed at times during the dance to allow manoeuvrability to the follower.
  • Chest connection can be varied.
  • Full variation in arm placement: the follower may place her hand behind the man’s neck, on his shoulder or even down his arm. The lead may place his hand anywhere on the follower’s back, from the waist through high up the follower’s back.
  • Full variation in the position of the enclosed hands: from low down right through to up high.
  • Faces may align in any direction, but often right cheeks will touch.
  • Full variations in posture: from apilado to upright. Usually however, both lead and follower will be upright with a slight lean forward.
  • Axes may be separated or shared.
  • Danced to a 4/4 beat.


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