Frequently asked Questions
Wear anything you feel comfortable in, though tight skirts which restrict leg movement are not a good idea. Soft shoes with a bendable non-grip sole are best, some women prefer to wear heels as it can make it easier to step backwards smoothly, but it's not advisable to wear very high heels for a class. If you don’t have any suitable shoes then socks will be fine for the early stages of learning, but once you decide you want to carry on learning it’s best to buy shoes designed for dancing.
Tango does take time and effort to be able to dance well, but it can be very enjoyable even in the early stages, becoming more and more pleasurable, (even addictive!) as you gain skill and confidence. We aim to help you learn at your own pace – those starting with two left feet, poor co-ordination and difficulty with musicality will obviously take longer to reach a basic level than people who already have good balance, self-awareness and musicality. But if you can walk you can learn to enjoy tango!
Yes! The version of tango shown on ‘Strictly’ is highly choreographed, designed to be dramatic and impressive with kicks, lifts and all sorts of repertoire not only impossible for a normal person but totally unsuited for a social dance-floor. Traditional tango is danced for the pleasure of the dancing couple, and while it can be lovely to watch is not designed to be spectacular for an audience. The focus of the dancing couple in social tango is on the interaction with each other and the music.
I'd love to dance tango, but can someone of my age learn?
If you can walk, you can learn to walk to music in an embrace, and enjoy tango. It doesn’t have to be complicated to feel good. There are people who dance tango into their 80′s and beyond!There are studies which show that doing any sort of dance regularly is very good for health, both physical and psychological.
I've done tango in my Ballroom/Latin classes, is this the same?
No, there is virtually nothing the same. Traditional Argentinian tango (which we dance) is improvised, not a routine of steps. You learn a movement vocabulary which you use in an evolving conversation with your partner in response to the music. Authentic tango music is very different from ballroom tango and from what is called ‘Argentine tango’ as taught by ballroom/Latin teachers. The way of embracing is different (the fact that it is described as an embrace rather than a ‘hold’ gives some indication of the difference)
At what stage will I be ready to start coming to the 'repertoire' class as well as 'essentials' ?
Once you are able to walk fairly smoothly and musically with good balance and to sustain a comfortable embrace you will be ready to begin expanding your repertoire. We find that in the long run this is a quicker way to learn. People who learn complicated moves while having poor balance, little musicality and a tense embrace set up bad habits which they either have to ‘unlearn’ later, or else continue as dancers who are not pleasant to dance with.
Why do you dance to old scratchy music? I prefer modern electronic music.
Tango is more than a dance. The term 'tango' can refer as well to a whole genre of music and poetry. The music and dance evolved together. So the music written for dancing tango has a depth, a unique rhythmic structure, an emotional intensity and a complexity hard to find in other music. Some people immediately take to this music, and many are inspired to learn to dance because of loving tango music. Others who are more accustomed to electronic music find the structure of tango music challenging at first and prefer to dance to electronic, or non-tango music, because it’s more familiar, and simpler. The very complexity, and variety of tango music which can be a challenge at first, is what makes it possible to dance to the same repertoire for years and never tire of it. We structure our classes so you will start with easier music and gradually progress to being able to improvise your dance to express more complex songs. There is always more to be discovered in the wealth of tango music available to us!
If you want to be able to dance socially, your options are not limited if you can dance to traditional tango music. The majority of tango venues worldwide play traditional music, though some will offer an 'alternative' room for those who enjoy that, and there are a few clubs and classes which play mostly electronic music. Because there is such a wealth of beautiful tango music, and because getting to know the music is vital for skilled dancing, we only ever use traditional music in our classes, practica and milongas. We aim to help you learn to understand its structure and to appreciate its complexity right from the start. And it’s not all scratchy! There are now projects to digitally remaster many of these old recordings due to their ever-growing popularity. We will soon be adding a page about music to this site.