Everything you need to know about the Tango from Strictly’s expert

Head of choreography Jason Gilkison shares his top tips for performing a terrific Tango

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With the sparkle of Strictly Come Dancing dominating our weekends nights from here until Christmas, we decided it was time we learnt a little more about the dances this year’s celebrities will be performing.

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We caught up with Strictly’s director of choreography Jason Gilkison, who gave us the lowdown on technique, drama, atmosphere and the details the judges will be looking out for during the celebrities’ live performances… 


What is the Tango?

It’s a partner dance, which originated during the 1890s in the South American countries of Argentina and Uruguay. “We’ve got three celebs doing the Tango this week,” Gilkison tells us before the first live shows. It never used to appear during week one, but “I think it’s a really simple dance to learn”. 

What’s the mood?

“There has got to be a particular amount of focus. There is drama in the Tango. It’s a sexy dance, even though it’s a ballroom dance. It’s quite a sultry, sexy dance so the judges will be wanting to see that the celebrity is able to stay in that mood the whole way through, for the whole 90 seconds.”

What’s the technique? 

“You’ve got to stay very staccato and flat.”

What’s the hardest part?

“If you get the character of Tango right from the beginning it can really go well. There’s a lot of drama and a lot of passion in the dance, so I think then trying to get the action of being very flat and staccato at the same time as creating a drama and a mood. That’s the biggest obstable in the Tango.”

What will the judges be looking out for? 

“Making sure they’ve got a very flat, smooth, staccato accent. That’s the thing. Making sure that they are really biting that timing, that their feet are sharp and that there’s a compression into their knees. They don’t pop up and down.”

What does it look like? 


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Strictly Come Dancing week one: song and dance list revealed

More Strictly news and interviews with all this year’s celebrity contestants… 


Robin Windsor, Alex Jones and Sir Bruce Forsyth will be at the Radio Times Festival this weekend. Tickets are available here.

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