Tango classes, tango workshops, and tango practice.
The most up-to-date information about the local tango classes can be found in our Event Calendar
There are different levels of beginner and intermediate classes. Most instructors organize group classes in series which span a month or two, and cover a progressing set of skills. Of course, it makes sense to attend a whole series from the beginning, rather than to jump in in the middle of a program.
Visiting instructors typically teach workshops with classes of increasing difficulty, with the Friday night class billed as “all levels”. An all-level class may start from the material appropriate for a beginner, and move on to a more intermediate material.
Private classes are available from both local and visiting instructors, and can be a very effective way to learn; please inquire! (We try to keep our lists of tango teachers and activists up to date, but it isn’t always possible – please help us keep it clean and current!)
A semi-formal tango dance night (called a milonga) follows the traditional rules of etiquette. One of the classic rules says, no teaching at the milonga. It may be a great place to socialize and to observe, but it just isn’t a place to ask for technical help or to learn or practice unfamiliar steps. But we also offer informal tango dance practice events (called practicas) where it’s totally appropriate to ask for advice, to try something difficult and not to be discouraged if it doesn’t work right away, and to stop and try again.
Useful words and ideas in Argentine Tango
Milonga (event or place):
A social dance (party) where people dance to tango music. Typical milongas will have a dance floor (area) surrounded by tables and chairs.
Someone that dances a traditional, close-embrace style tango. A term of respect.
Anyone who dances tango.
Milonga (music) :
Type of argentine tango music played at milonga, usually faster and more upbeat them other two types of music: Valses and Tangos. Milonga music is also distinctive because of the syncopated rhythm.
A type of tango music with a distinctive rhythm. Vals is always 3:4 time, the same as a European “Waltz.” (ONE-two-three-ONE-two-three.)
The traditional music of Argentina, this music was born in the early 1900s, and later made popular by the great Carlos Gardel.
A set of three to four tango songs of the common type (Tango, Vals, Milonga) played at Milonga. These songs are traditionally all from the same orchestra. Partners are expected to dance together during an entire tanda, and not just one song, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
A short piece of non tango music that is played between tandas. This indicates that a new tanda is coming up, and people may change partners if they like.
In the milongas of Buenos Aires, one makes eye contact with a potential partner in order to ask for a dance. If both parties wish to dance with each other, they both nod, and the leader walks to the follower. The follower only stands once the arm is presented to dance. This elegant way of requesting dances eliminates the necessity of having to turn anyone down. While not used much in small communities in the states, cabaceos are widely used (and expected) at festivals.
In the traditional tango code, if someone says thank you, that means they are ready to move on to their next partner.
Tango is a walking dance, and we all have to walk in the same general direction to make it work. We dance in a line along the circumference of the floor. Passing is generally discouraged, as is dancing in the center of the circle that is made.