Argentine Tango on SYTYCD has proven to be popular, (although most people don't know the difference between the AT and Ballroom Tango). This season, ballroom competitor Chelsie Hightower was paired with Mark Kanemura as the dancers were cut from 20 to 10. For many people, their Argentine Tango was a highlight. I loved the performance: Chelsie is an accomplished partner dancer who has never danced AT, while Mark is a talented dancer with a gift for projecting a character. Even though there are some moments where she breaks out of his hold, he is completely focused on her and their partnership throughout, so the illusion fits the character of the dance.
Once the show began to mix up the couples, Chelsie was paired with Josh for another Argentine Tango. Josh has his moments of feline movement, and the choreographers love to exploit his strength for lifts, but he doesn't have enough of a sense of the character of the dance to unify the pieces of his performance. Chelsie is better in this one because she is less ballroomy, but because Josh doesn't know how to lead, she isn't able to create the illusion of attentive following that is so key to this dance.
Here's my very favorite movie scene of a tango exhibition style, from Carlos Saura's film Tango. Here, the old pro is supposedly inviting a young woman to dance,lead and follow, although in fact this dance was choreographed for the film. Gorgeous.
But THIS is the the real thing: tango tal como se baila en Buenos Aires, in which the man is leading, and the woman is following, WITHOUT choreography, only through the connection and their incredible skill and musicality.