Big News About the Future of Siempre Tango

There will be a big change coming soon in brigitte and Francis’ lives. Here’s a message from Francis about their decision and the future of Siempre Tango.


brigitte and I are moving to Montreal in December 2019 to open the Montreal School of the Alexander Technique. The upcoming Fall Session will be our last at Siempre Tango.

The Ottawa School of the Alexander Technique has been operating at full capacity since its opening in 2014. Over the last two years, we’ve received more and more requests from prospective students in Montreal, Toronto, and other bigger cities. Unfortunately, not many of these prospects are willing to relocate to Ottawa for the 3-year training program.

brigitte and I both love Ottawa, but because our main interest is now the training program, we made the difficult decision to move the Ottawa School to Montreal. brigitte will continue as the director and head teacher of the Montreal School of the Alexander Technique, and I will become an assistant teacher and administrator.

Regarding our tango journey, Siempre Tango is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year. I couldn’t have reached this milestone alone.

It’s been a great pleasure having my wife brigitte at my side for all these years, building and growing the Ottawa tango community in all its diversity.

We are deeply grateful to Mary Ellen for being our rock since Siempre’s beginnings and to Marcel who established the tango community in Ottawa and who later joined forces with us. We thank those who have helped us along the way either by teaching with us – especially Michael Delman, Robert Gatien and Daniel Marcoux – or by setting up and taking down the many rooms in which we have celebrated our community.

I’d like to bring special attention to all the work that’s been done by Jewel since she joined us. She’s an effective teacher and a talented dancer, and she’s outstanding when it comes to reaching out to people about tango.

We thank the Ottawa tango community for all the adventures and emotions that have bound us, and allowed us all to grow together as we shared our vision of this special dance.The individual way every milonguero / milonguera dances, the music that inspires us to move, and the personal connections that we establish – these have always been what we value most. These values are why brigitte and I never imposed a certain style on our students. We’ve always preferred that people become the dancers they are.

It was never my intention to teach tango forever, but for Siempre Tango to continue, I wanted to choose people who share our idea that tango is ultimately a reflection of who we are. I’m happy to say that Siempre will continue to grow in the capable hands of Jewel, Marcel, Robert, and Isabelle – an excellent team who will carry on the good work after our departure. We look forward to seeing Siempre Tango evolve in the years to come!

brigitte and I will be coming back to Ottawa often because she and I, as her assistant, will be teaching Alexander Technique classes at the University of Ottawa’s new Musicians’ Wellness Centre. So we are really saying “See you later” and not “Goodbye.”

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me. I look forward to seeing each of you this fall. 

Where are tango dancers supposed to get tango shoes in Ottawa?

Most of this information pertains to women’s shoes, but all of these vendors sell shoes for men as well.

So you’re ready to invest in a pair of Argentine tango shoes. In this post, we’ll give you some tips for choosing your first pair and some links to local(ish) retailers.

For all of our students:

To protect the floor at each of our venues, we require our students to wear “indoor shoes,” meaning that they aren’t ever used for outdoor wear.

For women:

When you first start tango, we simply advise you to wear shoes that strap securely to your feet, have non-marking soles, and are easy to pivot in.

Wear the heel height that is comfortable for you. You don’t have to wear 9 cm heels to be a “real” tango dancer. As you progress in your dance, you can wear higher heels.

(Or not! At Siempre Tango Ottawa, we don’t have a problem with women wearing flats for practice or even to dance socially. Others may think differently, but the priority is taking care of your feet for a long dancing life.)

If you find a pair of ballroom or salsa shoes that works for you, stay with those. However, shoes made specifically for tango shoes are different:

  • The metal shank in between the insole and the outsole is shorter than that for ballroom shoes to provide flexibility.
  • The padding on top of the insole tends to be thicker.
  • Stabilility in tango shoes comes from attaching the insole, outsole, and heel with both glue and nails throughout.
  • Tango shoes are built to be balanced, meaning that if you stand them up alone on a surface, they shouldn’t tip over or list to one side.

Investing in quality tango shoes means that they are more stable and less likely to pinch you. They should fit you well right out of the box; most of the time, having to “break in” dance shoes means that they didn’t suit you in the first place.

For men:

When you first start learning tango, you won’t need to pivot so much, so shoe choice is less of an issue. However, as you continue your tango journey, you will actually need to pivot to lead turns and to do more interesting moves.

If you need to force a pivot, save your knees and invest in dance shoes!

Where to buy shoes:

Practice flats and men’s shoes

I like to support local businesses, so you can find jazz shoes, ballet flats, dance sneakers, and men’s dance shoes at Brio or Malabar.

(Got another dance shoe store in Ottawa that you like? Share in the comments, please!)

High heels and custom shoes for men and women

There is no dedicated tango shoe seller in Ottawa for now. For the most part, we turn to our friends in Montreal to buy new shoes. The vendors that we mention below sell men’s and women’s shoes.

(While it is possible to order shoes from most brands online, we suggest that you try shoes on in person, at least at first, particularly if you have a differently-shaped foot. Which is, to be honest, everyone!)

Many of our teachers wear the brand Turqouise.Our friend Elda has a shopfront in Montreal at Montango on Sundays. If she doesn’t have something, and you see it on the website, order through her for the best price / shipping. You can reliably reach her on Facebook.

Our friends at Stella Mary Creations also often come to Ottawa to sell D’Raso shoes. Stella sets up shop at Tango Social Club in Montreal on most Saturday nights. You can make a custom order also and contact her on Facebook to make a request.

Line Desrosiers is another shoe seller in Montreal. Her shop is called Tango Sublime. She sells Italian brands like Tangolera (known for the extra padding in the sole), Madame Pivot, and Regina. She is also on Facebook.

We’ve seen advertisements for KN DanceShop in Gatineau. They specialise in Paoul brand shoes. If you’ve given them a try, please feel free to comment.

We hope you find this information useful!

UPDATED Aug. 14: Our Tuesday Milonga is on the Road this Summer!

Because our fave venue at allsaints Event Space is being used as a film location for several weeks, the Tuesday Milonga is following a modified schedule.

July 16 and 30, and August 27:

We will be hosting a fun, intimate milonga at Bistro Alégria on:

July 16 (6:30 – 10:30 PM)
and
July 30 (doors open at 6:30 PM, music goes from 7 – 11 PM)
and
August 27 (doors open at 6:30 PM, music goes from 7 – 11 PM)

Parking: At 15 Leduc Street behind Bistro Alégria. Free after 5:00 PM Monday to Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday.

There will be tapas for sale, and the bar is open. Come dance with us after work in Gatineau this month!

July 23:

We are offering a special workshop on Back Sacadas:

When: 7:00 – 8:15 PM
Where: 235 Montreal Road
How much: $25 per person

Space for 3 to 4 couples max. Please contact Francis to reserve your spot soon.

August 6, 13, and 20:

It’s time to bring tango back to the Byward Market. We’ll be at Alpha Art Gallery (531 Sussex Drive), from 7:30 to 11:00 PM. Cover is $10 / $8 for full-time university students.

Special Request

Please enter Alpha through the rear entrance, which you can access by taking Clarendon Lane and passing through the courtyard shared by different restaurants. You will see a sitting area where you can change your shoes and place your bags.

UPDATED: Our Sunday Práctica is moving temporarily this July and August.

Bate Hall will be used for a filming project this summer, so we have found an alternative venues for some upcoming prácticas.

Come experience one of our favourite floors in the city at the Ottawa Dance Directive’s Studio B (2 Daly Avenue). The práctica is at its usual time, from 7:00 – 9:30 PM.

(This venue change also applies to the Tango 3 class that precedes the práctica at 6:00 PM.)

  • July 21 – Guided práctica
  • July 28 – Goodbye practilonga for Melina Mistral
  • August 4 – Guided práctica
  • August 11 – Guided práctica
  • August 18 – Guided práctica
  • August 25 – Guided práctica

Directions to the room

To reach Studio B, enter Arts Court from the main Daly Ave. entrance and turn left after the reception desk. Pass through the double doors.

  • You can take Elevator A to the 2nd floor. Look for signs for ODD (Ottawa Dance Directive). Turn left getting off the elevator.
  • You can walk through the door labeled “EXIT” and enter the stairwell through the door marked D. Go all the way up to “2nd Floor A” and you will see the ODD to your right.
  • Don’t worry: we will have signs everywhere directing you!

Parking suggestions

You can use paid parking at Rideau Centre or the Novotel, but it’s we suggest taking advantage of free weekend street parking east of Arts Court and around Byward Market. Try Nicholas, Daly, Cumberland, Wilbrod, Dalhousie, Besserer, and Stewart. (Use Parkopedia and enter the date and time window to find options.)

Also, free parking at City Hall is a 10-minute walk away.

We look forward to seeing you at the Práctica!

Here’s to Mary Ellen!

The team at Siempre Tango would like to celebrate one of our own: Mary Ellen Hurd. She has decided to hang up her Argentine tango teaching shoes following the Spring 2019 Session.

We have been unimaginably lucky and grateful to have had such dedicated and talented teacher working with us for 19 of our 21 years of operation.

Please join us at the Red and White Milonga on June 30th as we say “Thank you” to this wonderful teacher. If you’ve taken classes with her in the past, or if you haven’t come to see us for a while, be sure to attend!

If it sounds like this is a send-off, not to worry: Mary Ellen has way too many pairs of tango shoes to show off so she will definitely continue to grace the dance floor as only she can! We look forward to her honoring us with that mischievous smile which never fails to light up a whole room and the sunshine that always she seems to trail behind her!

We’re having a Special Milonga on Tuesday, February 19.

*** Edit: Because of the February 12 snowstorm, we postponed this event until February 19th. Sorry for any inconvenience! ***

  • We’ll start at 8:30 PM.
  • Light finger foods and chocolate treats will be provided.
  • There will be a cash bar.
  • Dress code (optional): Bright colours, funky / retro style, big hair. (Watch this for inspiration.)
  • There will be a prize given for “Best Cortina Dancing.” Get your non-tango moves ready!
  • Cover: $15 in advance until Feb. 10. $20 at the door.

See you on the dance floor!

Happy Holidays from Siempre Tango!

Thank you to all of our students and patrons for your support throughout 2018.

We hope you’ll be able to join us this holiday season and beyond.

No practica on December 23; no milonga on December 25.
Happy Holidays!

Year-End Milonga: December 30, 6:30 to 10:30 PM. 
Kick off your New Year’s celebration early. There will be finger food and a cash bar. Cover: $15. Please confirm your presence; it will be easier to have enough food for everyone.

The Resolution Milonga: January 1, 8:30 PM to midnight
Start 2019 on the right foot. Cover: $10. (There will be a free class for beginners before the milonga at 7:00 PM. If you bring a new person to the beginner class, pay just $5 for the milonga.)

Trial Classes in January.
We’ll be offering free beginner classes on January 1, 6, 7, and 8. Help us make Siempre Tango’s 20th year the best one yet!

The Sunday Práctica resumes January 6.
Music starts at 7:00 PM. Start 2019 on a high note.

Our Class Schedule is available now.
Classes begin Wednesday, January 9, 2019. Visit our website to see the full schedule. Contact Francis to reserve your spot today.

We look forward to celebrating our 20th anniversary year with you in 2019!

Coming soon in November and December 2018…

Tomás Howlin is coming to Ottawa soon. Register today! 

Early Bird deadline for Tomás Howlin’s workshops is on Sunday, November 25th. Pre-register and pre-pay at the Tuesday Milonga to reserve your spot. For full details and pricing, visit our the event page.

This November:

  • Current students: If you plan on continuing classes next session, please let Francis know.
  • Don’t forget that the Tuesday Milonga is free for all Tango 1 students until November 27th.
  • A reminder: A milonga is like a beloved pet. If you want it to stay alive, you must feed it regularly!

This December: 

  • Sunday, December 2 at 6:00 PM: Tango Endings
    An all-levels workshop. Explore ideas for nailing those endings musically. Special end-of-year pricing! Workshop only: $15. Workshop + práctica: $20.
  • Tuesday, December 4 at 7:00 PM: La Milonga Primera
    For those who have completed Tango 1, 2, or 3, but haven’t felt “ready enough” to come to the Tuesday Milonga. For more details, click here.
  • Tuesday, December 4 at 8:00 PM: The Snow Ball 
    Food and warm tandas to start the holiday season. Dress to impress. Stella from Montreal will be there with gorgeous tango shoes and clothes. Advanced tickets for $15 until November 27. $20 after the 27th.
  • Tuesday, December 18 at 8:00 PM: Bytown Tango Band
    Advanced tickets will be sold for $15 until December 11. $20 after the 11th. $5 for non-dancers. Message us for more details.

We look forward to seeing all of you soon!

October 2018 Highlights: Two new Mini-Sessions and a Halloween Milonga!

“Follower’s Technique and Adornos” starts  October 3.

Class takes place at De la Salle Secondary (501 Old St. Patrick) from 8:00 to 9:30 PM. Bring flats AND heels!

Details here »

 

No Práctica on Sunday, October 7.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend!

See our calendar of events »

 

“Musicality 2” begins on Sunday, October 28.

We’ll talk about using changes in intensity, dynamics, and movement quality to have a more “co-creative” dance.

Register today »

 

We’ll be having our Halloween Milonga on Tuesday, October 30. 

  • We’ll start at 8:00 PM and go all the way until midnight.
  • Light finger foods and sweet treats will be provided.
  • Although costumes aren’t obligatory, don’t miss your chance to win the prize for Best Costume!
  • Cover will be $15.

Any questions? Contact us today!

Ottawa Welcomes the Redwood Tango Trio on Wednesday, August 29th.

Siempre Tango Ottawa is proud to host the Redwood Tango Trio on Wednesday, August 29th, at 8:00 PM.

(Yes – we’re moving our Milonga to WEDNESDAY for one week only.)

They’re on tour to support their latest album, Prizefighter. The Trio is comprised of core members of the Redwood Tango Ensemble, the North American sextet known for powerful stage performances and innovative original tango music. You might remember them from their 2013 show in Ottawa. We look forward to enjoying their signature, danceable style once again!

Programme:

8:00 PM – Dancing starts with DJ Jewel
9:00 – 9:45 PM – Redwood Tango Trio’s first set
10:15 – 11:00 PM – RTT’s second set
Dancing continues until midnight.

Tickets:

For tango dancers: $20 at the door.
For music lovers / Non-dancers: $10 per person.

Special features:

  • Snack potluck to say goodbye to two of our community members. If you would like to contribute, please contact us.
  • There will be a cash bar that will serve drinks from 8:30 to 11:00 PM (last call). You will be able to take your drinks into Bate Hall.

Questions and reservations:

Please email Francis Caron at info@siempretango.ca.