Argentine Tango is slightly different from the Tango you see on Strictly Ballroom (see below). The style began in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the end of the 19th century and has evolved into performance style and social dancing style. Both are danced in an embrace that can vary from very close to very open, The basic step is a simple walk - Tango is a blend of folk, American Indian and European music with the classic march tempo forming its simplest rhythm. Confident dancers combine turns, pivots and stylish embellishments but anyone who has a basic knowledge of the Argentine Tango can dance with a partner.
Is the Argentine Tango the Ballroom Tango?
No - although they share the same root they have evolved along very different lines. In Argentine Tango's purest form, the dance partners are very close together - chests touching while hips are farther apart. In ballroom tango, it's the opposite - the dance partners’ hips are close while their chests a far apart. In ballroom tango, the followers (usually that means the female dancer - although there's no power play in Tango and partners are always equal) look over their partners’ left shoulder while in Argentine Tango, the dancers’ heads are almost touching in close embrace.
What are private lessons?
Private lessons are usually 1 to 1 lessons, tailored to your level of dancing and your individual needs. These lessons can be taken by an individual or a couple and the lessons take place at a time and place of your convenience. Private lessons do mean you'll learn more personally and faster - in group classes, the teacher has to focus on the whole group rather than spend too much time with individuals.
How do I know what my level is?
Tango class levels are generally identified as beginners, improvers, intermediate or advanced - although you may see some variation. If you're new to the Argentine Tango, always start with a beginners class first, even if you're experienced in other dance styles. Hopefully your teacher will guide you.
What do I wear?
If you are a beginner, soft sole shoes and comfortable clothes will be fine to start with, although you may want to upgrade to a pair of Tango shoes in time. We personally recommend Madame Pivot's Tango brand - there's a shop in London where you can try a variety of styles. E-mail me if you would like more details.
I've never danced. Can I just join?
The Argentine Tango does not require any previous dance experience when you first join. You can join lessons and enjoy dancing at any age and any stage. You can decide how far to take your dancing and how far you would like to challenge yourself - although we suggest mastering the basic moves before dancing at a social dances or tango club known as milongas.
Do I need a partner to join the lessons?
Usually no - although some courses might be for couples only, to avoid too many of either gender. In most cases the lessons are open, you can be coupled up in class and keep alternating partners as with any dance class. Coming with a partner does have some advantages - it helps ensure an even gender balance in the class and prevents waiting for an available partner. Tango classes are very friendly though, and if you come alone you'll always be welcome.
How do I get started?
The best way is to join a group class or private lessons. It's usually a bad idea to try learning from watching videos or from other students without supervised professional attention. Both can create bad habits that may take years to correct.
How long will it take me to learn it?
As with almost everything in life, that depends entirely on you. You're probably tired of hearing that regular lessons and practicing a lot mean you'll improve quicker, but it's still true. It can take between three months to a year to be able to dance confidently with any partner. There is an element of talent and persistence behind rapid progress - but once the basic steps are mastered, everyone of every age and ability can show up to a milonga and have fun.
Where can I practice?
In London there are several regular studios, clubs or classes - known as practicas - and some good social dances or nightclubs - known as milongas. We do host these events. You can find our timetable here .