Tango vs. Salsa – What’s the Difference?

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Tango and Salsa are two of the world’s most popular ballroom dances, and many people wonder what the difference between them is. While they share some commonalities, there are also important differences in musicality, partnering, styling, and performance elements that distinguish one from the other. Here are some of the main ways Tango and Salsa differ from each other

Introduction To Tango

The tango is a dance that involves some intense eye contact. It’s different from salsa in that there are fewer partners—just one person dancing with another. The pair dances together closely, facing each other. The tango doesn’t have nearly as much hip movement as salsa, but it does require close contact between partners, unlike ballroom dancing or waltzing, which takes place on a large dance floor with more than two people at a time.

For example, two couples can dance together to create a quartet; three couples make up a trio; four couples create a duo. In addition to holding hands, partners may also embrace during the tango to emphasize their closeness and passion for each other.

Introduction To Salsa

As a partner dance, salsa is about technique. Sixteen salsa steps constitute a basic routine, as well as an infinite number of ways to combine them—and with so many different combinations, you can expect to feel like there’s always something new to learn. If you’re into dancing because you want to get better at it, salsa may be right for you. (Popular moves include cumbia and chachacha.) Plus, you don’t need much space to do it: An entire room full of people moving in sync doesn’t take up much more space than one person practicing by themselves.

Difference Between Tango and Salsa

What are they like?

Dance is an excellent way to get fit in a short amount of time. So long as you’re working out to burn calories and not just for fun, it doesn’t matter what type of dance you do. For many people, ballroom dancing is their first introduction to social dancing; popular dances from that genre include Cha-Cha, Rumba, Waltz, Jive, Samba, and Paso Doble.

Which one is more popular?

You’d probably assume it was salsa. The truth is, however, that tango is more popular than salsa— at least in Europe. In other parts of the world, however, like America for example, salsa rules supreme. In Argentina alone, there are 10-12 million tango dancers while there are only 3 million salsa dancers in America!

The reason for its popularity lies in its origins. The word tango comes from an African word meaning to touch or to feel. This reflects what a tango dance is: a very sensual experience between two people who feel each other through their bodies as they dance together to beautiful music. Meanwhile, salsa began as a form of social dancing in Cuba that later became associated with Latin American music and culture in general.

Which dances will you learn in them?

In tango, you may learn some of these: The Boleo, El Chasse (The Chase), La Corte (The Court), Los Pasos Cortados/Ochos (Cortados) and Vals. In salsa, it is worth noting that there are many different styles of salsa dance. You could learn Rueda de Casino (Casino Style), New York-style salsa, L.A./Philly-style salsa, or even Cuban-style salsa.

Who should learn them?

If you’re looking to become an expert dancer, we would recommend that you learn both salsa and tango. Although they are similar in many ways, there are also several differences that you should consider before deciding on a dance style. If you’re interested in finding out more about each of these dances, check out our detailed guide below

How can you find a dance studio or class?

Call your local community center or recreational department to see if they host any dance classes. If not, contact a few dance studios in your area to find out what types of group lessons are offered. Some may be for beginning dancers, while others may cater to more advanced dancers. Ask about their schedule of classes, prices, and how you can sign up for them.


As you can see, both dances are very different. The main difference is that Tango is a partner dance while Salsa is an individual social dance. While they may have similarities, such as basic steps and techniques, they are certainly not alike. To master either of these dances, it’s important to practice with a group that has prior experience in dancing them both.

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