1) Do I need a partner?
No, you don’t need a partner! Tango classes are a wonderful way to meet people and make friends.
2) What class is right for me?
If you have never danced Tango before you should start with the Absolute Beginner series on Saturdays at 4:30 pm (no partner necessary-4 weeks starting the first Saturday of the month). You can also drop in on any Monday or Thursday class.
3) What should I wear?
Whatever makes you feel comfortable and elegant, very tight skirts for women might be too restrictive. For men slacks are fine.
About shoes: Women: make sure that you are very comfortable in the shoes you are wearing, but please do not wear flip flops or any kind of sandals that do not support the ankle. Men: Any comfortable non-marking sole that allows you to pivot and slide on the dance floor. No rubber soles please.
Note on shoes: Good dance shoes have leather, suede soles or some kind of surface that allows you to pivot and to slide on the floor. Makela Tango can order excellent Tango shoes for men and women upon request (and we have some at the studio, check retail), so please feel free to inquire during your lesson!
Note on hair styles: Remember you will be dancing very close to each other, so big hairdos can be uncomfortable and distracting!
4) What does it cost?
Please click here for our current Group Tango class and Private lesson pricing.
5) What is a Milonga or a PrÁctica?
‘Milongas’ and “Prácticas” are social events where people go to dance Tango. The difference between a ‘Milonga’ and a ‘Práctica’ is the degree of formality. In a ‘Milonga’, people follow rules very closely, and in general they are dressed more formally. In a ‘Práctica’, everything is more informal.
You can go stag or with a group. It’s fun to promise each other to dance a number of ‘Tandas’ so you know you will dance at least a little with your friends.
A ‘Tanda’ is a group of 3-4 Tangos/milongas/valses generally interpreted by the same orchestra, with the same cadence and rhythm. It is good etiquette to dance an entire ‘Tanda’ with the same person. You know that a ‘Tanda’ is over, because there is a ‘Cortina’ in between. A ‘Cortina’ is a short song (15-30 seconds maximum, no dancing) which is not Tango, and in general sounds very different: that means, clear the floor and switch partners!
6) what is “EL CABECEO” y “LA MIRADA”
How to ask a person to dance: it varies according to the location. In Buenos Aires tradition it is rude to go to the table and ask someone to dance directly. The leads ask from the distance with a ‘Cabeceo’ (a small head movement from the man at a distance). The follows can accept with a simple nod of the head or look away. In the US it varies greatly from event to event. Remember leaders: when you finish dancing, accompany your partner until you completely exit the dance floor. A follow can ask a lead to dance by looking at them (‘la Mirada”). The leader can ‘Cabeceo’ to accept the invitation, or look away .
7) (Important!) Tango etiquette and suggestions for a successful experience
Shower (brush your teeth/floss) before class/milonga/practica – Use deodorant, but take it easy on the cologne. Tango embrace is close! Wear clean clothes. If you are coming from work, maybe it is a good idea to bring an extra shirt to change into before class. If you sweat a lot, maybe it is a good idea to bring a towel or handkerchief.
If possible, try to switch partners. It helps you to learn better and faster. Argentine Tango is an improvisational dance; you need to learn how to follow and how to lead smoothly. If you always dance with the same person, you might limit your skills.
Remember that solicited or unsolicited instruction by another student does not help the dynamic of the class/milonga/práctica. If you have any questions, please ask the instructor.
Try to find a practice partner with whom you practice at least one hour outside the class. It does not need to be the same person every time! Either gender works. It is sometimes better to practice with someone of the same gender to share ‘expertise’, ‘problems’, etc. This is completely acceptable in Tango for both men and women.
Be compassionate. If your partner makes a mistake, don’t say anything and be forgiving.