What dance do you think Princess Tiana did at her wedding? I would think the Tango. Princess and the Frog featured a Tango to begin the ball to honor Prince Naveen. I could imagine Prince Naveen dancing Tiana’s French Tango at their wedding.
Why a Tango? Tango was rising in popularity in the 1920’s. In France, they had cleaned up the Tango and were producing British Pathe video. Everyone could learn how to dance the “new” French Tango.
1913 the Tango Belt in New Orleans was named after the Tango craze that was sweeping the country. the Tango Belt spanned several blocks bound by St. Louis, Dauphine, Iberville and North Rampart. This was a place where both black and white patrons could enjoy music and dance. Many clubs hosted jitney dances, where patrons paid to dance with women.
Making their home in the Tango Belt, it makes sense that Tiana and Naveen would perform Tango, the dance of Love, for their first dance. Not far from the French quarter they would have had access to the French Tango. A passionate beginning to these star-crossed amphibians.
In researching the French Tango, I went to the British Pathe film archives. This was like a window back in time. In watching the steps, they seemed familiar, like the international ballroom Tango patterns we use today. However, dance position and quality of movement were quite different. This is my reproduction of those videos.
French Tango Dance How To:
The French Tango was danced in closed position. In the French Tango made easy video they demonstrated cheek to cheek, with a close embrace. In my demonstration we did the same.
French Tango Step Description:
I am providing simplified descriptions of the steps above. Feel free to look up the more detailed descriptions in “Ballroom Dancing” by Alex Moore, or “The Ballroom Technique” by the imperial society of teachers of dance.
Rock Back Left Foot:
Leader: Count 1(2) (slowly)Transfer wight back to your left foot. count 3(4) (slowly) Shift weight forward to the right foot. Repeat for counts 5(6), 7(8).
Follows: Count 1(2) (slowly). Transfer wight forward to the right foot. count 3(4) (slowly) Shift weight forward to left foot. Repeat for counts 5(6), 7(8).
Leader: Count 1(2) (slowly) Left Foot forward. Count 3(4) (slowly) Right foot forward.
Follows: Count 1(2) (slowly) Right foot backward. Count 3(4) (slowly) Left foot back.
Leader: count 1(quick) Left foot forward. Count 2 (quick).Right foot side and slightly back
Follows: Count 1(quick) Right foot back. Count 2 (quick) Left foot side and slightly forward.
Basic Reverse Turn:
Leader: Count 1 (quick) Left foot forward, count 2 (quick) right foot side and slightly back, count 3,4 (slowly) left foot crosses in front of right foot. The pattern turns ½ turn to left across three steps. Count 5 (quick) Right Foot back, count 6 (quick) left foot side and slightly forward, count 7,8 (slowly) left foot closes to right foot, ½ turn to left across three steps.
Follows: Count 1 (quick) Right Foot back, count 2 (quick) left foot side and slightly forward, count 3,4 (slowly) left foot closes to right foot (note, in the original 1927 video the lady crossed in back). The pattern turns ½ turn to left across three steps. Count 5 (quick) Left foot forward, count 6 (quick) right foot side and slightly back, count 7,8 (slowly) left foot crosses in front of right foot, ½ turn to left across three steps.
Leader: Count 1,2 (slowly) Left Foot side and slightly forward in Promenade position. Count 3 (quick), right foot forward and across in promenade position. Count 4 (quick) left foot side. Count 5,6 (slowly) right foot closes to left foot.
Follows: Count 1,2 (slowly)right Foot side and slightly forward in Promenade position. Count 3 (quick), left foot forward and across in promenade position. Count 4 (quick) right foot side. Count 5,6 (slowly) left foot closes to right foot.
Steps listed in Tiana’s French Tango
- Rock Back left foot
- Progressive sidesteps
- Basic reverse turn
- Closed Promenade
- Tiana-Holly Tomazin
- Prince Naveen- William Hooker
- You tube Tango De La Noche
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Brennon Slieff, Kathy Bradshaw, Courtney Carver, Charles Chamberlain, “The Tango Belt,” New Orleans Historical, accessed February 20, 2020, https://neworleanshistorical.org/items/show/1315
Will The Tango Come Back? (1925)
The French Tango, Made Easy (1927)