True Argentine tango defies written instructions and must be learned by watching and dancing with the masters. Below is the basic American version of the tango:
Man and woman face each other.
Woman steps toward man, her right foot between his feet. Her left arm wraps around his right shoulder. Man's left hand grasps woman's right. Both man and woman bend slightly at the knees.
Tango music is in 4/4 time, and the tango sequence has 8 counts.
Two slow steps
Begin with two slow, strong steps. The tango can only be done with conviction. Man steps forward on his left foot, and woman steps back with her right. Counts 1 and 2.
Man steps forward with his right foot, and woman steps back with her left. Counts 3 and 4.
Two quick steps
Man steps forward with the left, and woman steps back with the right. Count 5.
Man side steps with the right, and woman side steps with the left. Count 6.
Man slowly draws his left foot to his right foot while woman slowly draws her right foot to her left. Counts 7 and 8.