Ok. You’ve got questions. Let’s see if we’ve got answers. Plus, you get to play with the funky boxes going up and down.
We strongly encourage role exchange, e.g. ladies dancing as leaders and gentlemen dancing as followers. After all, this is how the Argentines used to learn and practice tango when the dance originally came about in Buenos Aires. So whether you’d like to learn both roles or only the one traditionally reserved to the other gender, simply let us know at the beginning of the class.
Argentine tango is a social dance, so it’s customary to dance with a variety of partners, both in classes and in milongas (tango parties). This is also a good way to learn, as getting exposed to different individual dance styles will broaden your opinions. It’s all trial and error after all.
Yet, if you are not comfortable with this, that’s perfectly OK – after all, the point is to have fun and to learn a great dance you can enjoy, not to feel pressured in any way. Simply let us know at the beginning of the class so that you and your partner will solely dance with each other.
How long is a piece of string?
We all are different. Wouldn’t it be pretty freaky if we all had the same eyes, way of walking, laugh? For that reason, we all learn at different speeds. Typically, what helps is:
Previous dance experience. It will have developed your co-ordination and your kinaesthetic memory (that means memory of physical activities, rather than mental activities).
Sports experience. It too will have developed your co-ordination and muscle strength. We find that pilates and yoga especially help because they help develop core strength. Martial arts are a big plus too, as they develop coordination, usage of the floor and a sense of “partner work”.
Previous social dance experience (the kind that involves 2 people dancing amongst other pairs of dancers). This should have given you the gist of leading and of following.
But more than anything else, what matters most is to do something you enjoy, and if you fall in love with tango, you’ll learn fairly quickly. Does it really matter how fast you learn as long as you enjoy the journey? For the overachievers screaming “of course it matters, you numpty!”, I would say it’s not how skilled you are, it’s how good you want to be. The sky is the limit and the ball in your court.
First off, give boots the boot! Dance shoes or indoor sneakers that let you pivot and slide easily are preferred. If you don’t have dance shoes (yet), any comfortable shoes with leather soles will do!
Of course, once you catch the tango bug, you’ll want some real tango shoes, and we can’t blame you. They are stunning, they’ll never nag you and will definitely improve your posture and style. To check out what to buy, have a look at our section on men shoes and ladies shoes.
As for clothes, anything that lets you move comfortably and that is not too baggy will do: if what you wear is too baggy, it will be difficult to check and correct your posture.
My first Argentine tango teacher looked at me in the eyes after my first class and said: “I need to be able to see your knees”, which immediately and cynically made me think: “You must be joking. What a nice job you’ve landed yourself!”. He didn’t have a knee fetish, in the end, he just needed to check I wasn’t bending my knees at the wrong time. And now, quite a few years down the line, I would give the same advice. Wear something comfy though, Tight clothes and shoes don’t make for happy shiny people.
If you want to get some tango clothes, have a look at our collection of tangowear for men and ladies – clothes that are comfortable and stunning, designed for the dancefloor.
Nope, you don’t need to come with a dancer partner. During the class, we make sure everyone gets to dance with a variety of partners, which is the best way to learn tango. This way, leaders are exposed to different followers and can be more flexible in their leading and followers can experience different leading styles using a repertoire of steps.