I would like to learn to Tango but I am too self-conscious
We know that contemplating attending a Tango class for the first time can be a daunting prospect, especially if you have never danced before. We have all been there before.
Bear in mind that most participants in the beginners class will be new to Tango as well so there is no need to feel self-conscious. Everyone will be too busy sorting out their own footwork to stop and look at what you are doing. We want you to enjoy that warm, intense, pasionate dance that is Argentine Tango as much as we do. We will do everything to help you relax and have a great time - even if we have to crack a few non-pc jokes!. It won't be long before you and everyone else socialise and have fun on the dance floor.
Wouldn't I learn faster dancing with improvers?
Some of our improvers are so keen to meet new people with whom to dance that they come along to the beginners class to help you get started and build up your confidence. You can also dance with them after the class, during the milonga - that is what we call social dancing in the Tango world.
What shoes should I wear at a class?
The most important thing is to have appropriate footwear: your shoes should not stick to the floor (i.e. no sports trainers or rubber-soled shoes), they should support your foot and ankle properly (i.e. no flip-flops) and finally, avoid 'pointy' shoes as they make it rather difficult for your partner. As a rule of thumb, anything you can swivel in is good.
Can I wear my ballroom dancing shoes?
Yes, of course, or any shoes that do not stick the floor and support your foot and ankle properly.
Can I wear stilettos?
Yes, you can as long as you are comfortable in them and that they support your foot and ankle properly.
Where can I buy dance shoes?
We source many of our practice shoes from Rotate UK so that's a good place to start. If you would like high quality stilettos, get in touch with us for advice
What can I expect to do in the class?
Each class starts with exercises desgined to help participants work in turn on their balance, coordination, lines, musicality, dissociation. Then, we usually revise the previous class in order to reinforce the steps and techniques learnt previously before looking at new material.
Can you teach sequences?
Argentinian Tango is a free-style dance by essence. It is the role of the leader to choreograph the dance as they go along. Therefore we try to avoid teaching sequences but instead, we teach the basic steps that are the building blocks of the dance and give you the necessary skills to enable you to develop the ability to link them.
Can I take both beginner & improver classes?
Classes are organised by level so it would not be appropriate for a beginner to take the improvers class. Sometimes, at our discretion, we may invite some experienced beginners to 'try out' the improvers class. Improvers may take the beginners class for free providing there is enough space in the class and that the ratio of leaders to followers remains as balanced as possible. So, should there be too many followers for instance, then improver followers will be asked to sit out until the improvers class. The same applies to improver leaders when there are too many of them. Unless of course, the aim is to learn is the role.
Why do you use Spanish terminology?
We mostly use the Spanish names for the steps we teach, but we always give their translation. Although it may be a bit difficult at first, it is very helpful when you take classes abroad - the Spanish terminology can be used as a universal language.
I have never danced before, will I be good enough to join the beginners class?
Of course, anyone can join the beginners class. We had never danced before going to our first dance class either! Just come along and have fun, that's what we aim to do in the beginners course.
I do other forms of dance, can I just come to your improvers class?
No. Argentine Tango is very different from any other kind of dance. Sometimes, doing other forms of dance helps but sometimes, it makes it more difficult as you may have acquired certain habits that we need to change. You need to learn the basics just like we would if we tried another dance.
What level am I at?
This is not a straight forward question to answer. In Argentinian Tango, the level is not determined by the number of steps that you know but rather by the skills you have managed to develop in terms of balance, leading and following, etc. Take a look at our syllabus on the classes page for guidance.
You said I am still a beginner but I think I am good enough for the improvers class.
We would like to think that if you trust us to teach you to dance, you will also trust our judgement with regards to your level of ability. Sometimes, we may hold you back because we think there are basic things you still need to improve on and it is in your best interest to stay in the beginners class for a little while longer. Also, it would not be fair on the improvers who would then end up dancing with someone who may hold them back and prevent them to make the most of the class. Everything happens in good time, just enjoy the moment and you can always dance with improvers in the milonga.
How long does it take to become an improver?
That depends on many things: how many classes do you take in a week? do you stay after the class to dance in the milonga? Do you practice at home? What about your balance, your coordination? Some people take 3 months and some people take double that time or more. The rule of thumb is that if you are genuinely comfortable with everything you learnt in the beginners class, then you are probably ready to move up.
Can I film the recap at the end of the class?
Probably, many teachers do a recap for that reason. But, always ask the teacher for permission first, out of courtesy.
Can I film during the class?
No, as this may inconvenience participants and the teachers. If you want to keep a video record of the steps taught in the class, then we as well as most guest teachers are happy for you to film when we go over the steps at the end of the class.
Can I film a performance?
Providing you have obtained permission from the performers.
Can I watch a class?
Most people who come to watch usually do this because they are too shy or self-conscious to try it out directly. We and everybody else will encourage you to take part. We have all been there before and everyone always shows great understanding and patience when it is your first time. Nonetheless, if you really want to watch, we usually let you providing none of the participants mind.
I am a dance teacher/student, can I come to watch and take notes?
No. If you want to learn Tango then you need to do it the proper way by taking the class.
What is a milonga?
Milonga is the name of a dance that Tango is derived from. By extension, it is also the name of the clubs where people go dance Milonga as well as Tango and Vals. In the UK, we call "Milonga" our social dancing sessions.
How do people invite each other for a dance?
Traditionally, in Argentina, people invite each other with a nod of the head and it's a nice thing to do here as well. Read the next FAQ for further details.
What is the etiquette at Milongas?
Strangers invite each other with a nod of the head called cabeceo which can be initiated by either the man or the woman, then the man will walk over to get his partner onto the dance floor. Dancers who know each other well may prefer to walk over directly and ask. Tangos, Milongas & Valses are usually played in group of 3 or 4 called 'tandas'. It is customary to dance the whole tanda with the same partner. Dancers usually chit-chat in between the tracks but not whilst dancing - why would you when the music is so beautiful?
Dance partners FAQs
Do I need a dance partner?
Not necessarily. Many people come to the class on their own and we change partners regularly during the class.
Can you find me a dance partner?
First of all, there is a large proportion of people, male and female, who attend our classes on their own, so you can find a dance partner there - in any case, we always ask people to change partners during the class. Also, there are websites that provide this service for free - a few of them are listed below:
Yes, we encourage everyone to change partners during the class, but you do not have to change if you do not want to. Do bear in mind, however, that you will improve faster if you change at least once in a while.