FAQ for Tango Beginners

1. When are the classes?

We offer at least two Tango 1 classes each session. If our current schedule doesn’t work for you:

  • wait until next session. We vary our schedule throughout the year, so that people who can’t change their schedule can find a class for them.
  • book private lessons for yourself or a small group at a time that’s convenient for you.

2. Are there drop-in beginner classes?

No. Our regular classes are progressive – we build on the previous week’s material.

Before the beginning of each session, we offer free trial classes for beginners, so you can see what tango is like before you commit to a 10-class session.

3. What will I learn?

In Tango 1, we cover the fundamentals for enjoyable social tango: a comfortable leader-follower connection and a simple toolbox of moves. The techniques you will learn will be the foundation for more complex steps later.

4. Is Argentine Tango like ballroom tango?

Not really. In terms of posture, improvisation, connection, musicality, and technique, they are very different.

  • The posture of Argentine Tango allows you to dance in different embraces: close embrace, open embrace, slightly open embrace, in a v-shaped embrace that’s open on the leader’s left side and more closed on the right side, or completely connected at the chest.
  • Because tango is based on improvisation and not sequences, there is no basic beat corresponding to a basic step.
  • Because of this improvisational aspect, it is essential to learn what is required for the connection between partners.
  • There is more freedom in relationship to the music. You could dance on the basic beat, or choose to dance to an irregular rhythm (such as syncopation, triplet, 3-3-2, etc.), on the musical phrase, or on the melody. You can choose to accelerate, decelerate, or take a long pause.
  • There are different techniques depending on the many Argentine Tango styles. During your tango journey, you will hear about styles such as Milonguero, Villa Urquiza, Salón, Fantasía (show), Nuevo, and Líquido (Fusion).

5. I’m a woman. Can I learn to lead?

Yes! Women can lead and men can follow (all of our teachers can dance both roles fluently). You can choose which role you’d like to learn.

6. I don’t have a regular dance partner. Can I still sign up?

Yes! You don’t need a regular dance partner to take tango classes with us. There are usually a number of people without partners.

We do require you to pre-register for classes so we can create role balance between leaders and followers for each class.

7. Why do you encourage people to change partners during class?

Because Argentine Tango is all about leader-follower connection, trying steps and techniques with many people helps you to adapt to different types of dancers. It’s great preparation for milonga situations where you will dance with several people, or people you’ve never met.

However, if you signed up with a partner and prefer to dance only with him or her, you don’t have to rotate partners.

8. What kind of shoes do I need for tango?

When you first start, the only requirement is that your shoes are comfortable and allow you to pivot easily. Shoes should be fastened firmly on your foot – that means no open-backed sandals or mules. When you become more devoted to tango, you could invest in tango-specific footwear.

9. Do I need special clothes to learn Argentine Tango?

For classes, comfort is key. Your clothing should allow you to move easily. Because tango is danced relatively closely, your body heat will rise, so anything too warm will get uncomfortable very quickly.

10. What should I do to get the most out of my class? 

PRACTICE!

Because many people do not work with their bodies during the day, and especially because many sit at a desk for hours at a time, tango asks a lot in terms of body awareness and posture. Also, the physical communication and closeness between leaders and followers are very new for most tango beginners. It takes time and experience for any awkwardness to subside.

You can practice at home, but for best results, come to the Sunday Práctica, where you can ask questions and we can provide more individual attention.

11. When will I be ready to attend the milonga? 

Only you can say when you are ready. However, we aim to have you to at least be able to embrace and walk comfortably with someone after a few classes. We also introduce milonga etiquette so you know how a milonga “works.”

All Tango 1 students are given free admission to our Tuesday milonga for the duration of their course. Hopefully, you will feel comfortable enough to attend milongas before the end of the session.

(You don’t have to dance; it’s okay to simply watch and socialise with other dancers. We hope that you find your way into the growing Ottawa tango community.)