Salon tango (also referred to as Salon-style tango or tango de salon) is tango as it is danced, along with milonga and vals, in milongas - social tango-dance events. It comes in a variety of sub-styles which evolve in conjunction with social and geographic settings in its history and the present. There are certain traits which differentiate it from other styles of tango, like International-style ballroom tango, American tango, performance tango (fantasia), and others.
On the social dance floor, salon tango relies on improvisation, rather than step sequences. Even though there always are some favourite sequences for many dancers and settings, even those are secondary to the connection to the partner, the music and the group of dancers on the dance floor. As such, salon tango is ultimately based on connection concepts and motion principles, more than step sequences. Even the well-known 8-step basic, often confused by non salon-style dancers as a social dance sequence, is only a learning sequence that groups some of the fundamental elements of salon tango (forward step, side step, back step, the cross, weight shift, embrace, partnership, musical timing, etc.).
Salon tango has a prominent cultural component, summarized by a code (El código) of etiquette that is highly appreciated and observed by most dancers and venue hosts. The code usually has references to line-of-dance (ronda), invites (cabeceo/mirada), embrace (abrazo), style and form, hygiene. The code can range from strict to relaxed, depending on the dance venue and levels of acquaintanceship, but tends to be always present to some extent.