Information about our dance classes and Practicas,
Argentine Tango as well as other types of Tango.
Argentine Tango and other forms of Tango
When thinking about Argentine Tango we usually envision a sharply dressed couple doing mysterious things with their legs to “Hernando’s Hideaway” or some other piece of quintessential Tango music. We imagine red stilettos, fishnet stockings, pinstripe suits, hats and dramatic suggestive poses.
Argentine Tango doesn’t mean only poster like scenes taken straight from Buenos Eire’s stage productions. It also means social experience, camaraderie among students, improving ones physical appearance, improving fitness level and coordination, overcoming ones’ inhibitions. It’s addictive in it’s ability to transport you into a magic “head space” where you forget about the outside world, relax and unwind.
Argentine Tango means regular group and private dance classes, the “Practicas”, devoted to practicing what you have learned with your partner, occasional workshops and last but not least: Milongas. Milongas are dance evenings, events for which you get to dress up to dance different types of Tango with others like yourself – hooked on what used to be at some point in time – a “Forbidden Dance”
There are several styles of Tango. Here we have a short description of main ones.
A competition style of Tango dancing, strongly influenced by other ballroom dances like Slow Waltz or International Foxtrot (Slowfox), with their particular competition technique and ballroom dancers body position. International Tango focuses on dynamic traveling around the dance floor, spectacular showy figures and sharp head movements. It tends to be performed almost exclusively to orchestral strict tempo music at around 125 bits per minute.
From social point of view: impractical and esoteric, over the top and rather ostentatious by nature, tends to be a hobby of amateur keeners and competition buffs.
International Ballroom Tango was developed primarily in British Isles, based on a British – middle of previous century – take on Argentine Tango, inspired by a Great Britain’s tour of performances of a Paris taught German Tango dancer Freddie Camp. Camp developed his style based on his own peculiar understanding of Tango, then added his own signature moves, among which there were sharp head turns. It is an echo of his styling we see when watching ballroom competitions. As a historic irony – prior to inspiring a whole new style of Tango – he never even made it once to Buenos Aires.
A more focused on social aspects, more practical cousin of International Tango – developed by Arthur Murray’s and Fred Astaire Dance Studios in order to facilitate quick and easy learning with immediate student’s gratification. Rather simplified in syllabus, less intricate then original Argentine Tango, less extravagant then its European “International Ballroom” cousin, American Tango offers a middle ground, agreeable with North American – mainly US – consumer based mentality: customer is supposed to be happy. This in turn translates into marketability and by extension – North American popularity of this style of Tango.
Argentine Tango – Tango De Salon.
The closest to it’s origins, social Tango danced to medium tempo classical tango repertoire, easily recognizable by it’s characteristic close embrace, upright posture with heads quite close together, full of both flowing as well as sharp movements, frequently contrasted by stately pauses. It is supposed to be an epitome of subtlety and god taste. When done in a more strenuous and technical “House of Cards” – figure “A” – “leaning against one another” alignment – it changes into what is referred to as a Milonguero style of Tango.
Argentine Tango – Tango Vals.
When Argentine Tango figures are danced to medium tempo waltz music, it is referred to as a Tango Vals. The rhythm and music of Tango Vals closely resembles medium to quick tempo Viennese Waltz, however, unlike Viennese version, Tango Vals doesn’t continuously travel spinning around the floor with steady three step per musical measure. Instead it leisurely sways and rotates through unhurried and precise one to two steps per measure, with great rhythmic variety and subtlety. If Viennese Waltz was an sprint race around a track and field pitch, Tango Vals would be much closer to running freely around in a park.
Argentine Tango – Milonga.
This word could refer to two different concepts in Argentine Tango.
First: it could refer to a quick dance. Milonga is done to fast rhythmic music, with tempo that could be described as that of a quick purposeful march. Imagine marching quickly with no obstacles in your way. You catch the rhythm and then while becoming impeded by crowd in front of you, you attempt to maintain it by taking small steps almost on the spot. You cannot move as progressively as before, but still you can attempt to weave your way through the crowd. Keep in mind you want to keep the same rhythm of steps while having to side step left and right and once in a while rotating clockwise or counter clockwise. Now imagine whole dance floor of couples moving that way around the dance floor. That will give you a rough idea what Milonga danced at a social event looks like.
Second we have a social event dedicated to dancing Tango called a Milonga.
During Milongas there is a strict set of rules of conduct universally observed by all Tango dancers around the world, with slight regional variations. You can read more about them HERE.
The meaning of word Milonga is usually inferred from the context of the sentence and once you understand what the word could mean, its easy to understand when someone says that “they like to dance Milonga during a Milonga”
Argentine Tango – Tango Nuevo.
This term most often loosely refers to both New Age, R’n’B and Electronica styled music with Argentine Tango instrumentation, melodies and rhythms intertwined, as well as dancing Argentine Tango to that kind of music. Since Classical Argentine Tango technique has been long established and well documented for many decades by now, any dancing with considerable departure from the core Tango stance and alignment – while still retaining the overall mood and semblance to Tango style of dancing – would fall into category of Tango Nuevo.
Ever since Tango Nuevo appeared and started to have an ever growing following, the Tango World and Tango dancers seem to have divided roughly into three categories:
1 – Purists – they claim dancing to Tango Nuevo is a total Fault Pas, it should only be listened to, anybody dancing Tango Nuevo should automatically become a Tango outcast barred from entering any established and well to do Milongas.
2 – The opposite of Purists – they claim a heart wrenching, squeaking, rusty, crackling old style Tango music accompanied by a never ending emotional “hara-kiri” on a dance floor is a thing of a past and should be replaced by new style of dancing.
3 – Everybody else – happily dancing “either” and getting fair amount of pleasure from “both”.
In words of some modern Argentine Tango thinkers and gurus, Argentine Tango is a fluid and ever evolving artistic and cultural phenomenon, that by it’s constantly changing ways, always was in some way departing from what has been, and always will seek new artistic grounds and inspirations, and in some philosophical way all Tango always was, and always will be Tango Nuevo.
Throughout the week we have several Argentine Tango classes, devoted to a different level of difficulty and experience.
Regular Group Classes
Newcomer – REGISTRATION – Starting date: April 13, 2018
Friday 7:15 pm – 8:25 pm, 622 Bloor St. West.
Beginner – Ongoing.
Monday 8:30 pm – 9:40 pm, 622 Bloor St. West.
Improver – Ongoing.
Thursday 8:30 pm – 9:40 pm, Swansea Town Hall.
Intermediate – Ongoing.
Monday 7:15 pm – 8:25 pm, 622 Bloor St. West.
Men’s Technique – Ongoing – all levels.
Monday 6 pm – 7 pm, 622 Bloor St. West.
Ladies’ Technique – Ongoing – all levels.
Tuesday 6 pm – 7 pm, 622 Bloor St. West.
Technique of Tango Movement – Couples – Ongoing – all levels.
7:15 pm – 8:25 pm, Swansea Town Hall.
For prices please click on the “Cost / Payment Options” link in the main menu or click HERE
What do our levels mean: if you are not certain which level of dance classes you should inquire about, you’ll find an explanation of different levels HERE
Joining: Before showing up for the first time be sure to contact us.
We wouldn’t want you traveling all the way down for nothing just in case there is an unscheduled cancellation.
Newcomer: If you are interested in getting started please let us know by contacting us so we can put you on a list.
All other classes: providing your level of dancing is compatible with the level of a class you are interested in, you can join at any time. Please note: if you would like to attend without a partner there might be a delay in getting you enrolled: we are trying to have an equal number of women and men in each class and typically there is a shortage of man.
Every Sunday (except statutory holidays) you can enjoy mastering your Argentine Tango at our Practica.
From 3 pm till 6 pm we have our large dance floor – 2000 sqf of great quality hardwood – open to all.
The place has a great sound system and is fully air conditioned.
Location: Lower level of Anna’s Dance Centre at 622 Bloor St. West.
$10 per person. Coffee, tea and something sweet included.
Milonga’s “Do-s” and “Don’t-s”: basic Vocabulary and Decorum:
It is customary to dress well for a Milonga. Since the definition of being well dressed is a personal thing the most important aspect of that rule boils down to “no jeans”
Milonga is not a practica, which means you are there to socialize, mingle, meet people, chat and entertain. This extends to the dance floor, so:
- absolutely no teaching and or correcting anybody at a milonga.
- do not dance with the same person all the time.
- dance what you know will work, and not what you are trying to master at a given point in time during the lessons.
- keep your feet low and to yourself so not to injure anybody else.
- dance around the dance floor at the pace of everybody else – no wild overtaking everybody “because they are too slow”. If you like traveling in your Tango, you might have to show up sharp at the starting time when the floor is still “empty-ish” or wait till almost the end to “fly” around the floor.
- when dancing observe what the “layout” of the dance floor is, how many “lines” of flow are there, how big the centre area for getting “tangled up” is.
- guys: when entering the dance flow, catch an eye contact with another leader so as to get him (or her) acknowledge you are trying to enter the flow – he will catch an eye contact with you, smile and give you a slightest of nods, and this way you know he’s seen you and leaving space for you. Don’t forget to nod back when you have a chance
- be understanding for those who are just starting in the Tango world. We have all committed a Milonga Faux Pass in our lifetime, and are lucky if only one 🙂
Invite to dance by making an eye contact before you approach. Make eye contact, make an inviting “face”, wait for a smile or a “nod back”, then approach. Do not interrupt someone if they are apparently in a middle of a conversation, or with a mouth full of cheesecake… or generally with their face “not to the dance floor”.
When dancing at a Milonga remember: you always invite someone to dance not just one tune like it usually happens at a typical dance evening, you invite them for a whole Tanda, which means 3 or 4 pieces of music in the same style. You dance together until the Tanda is over, which will be indicated by a Cortina. It is considered inappropriate to end dancing with another person before the Tanda is over, unless you have a good reason for doing so. It is also in bad tone to ask someone for just a last tune of a Tanda.
A short musical interlude of some type of music very much different from regularly sounding Tango music, indicating the previous Tanda is over, and a new one is about to start.
That can be a sticky subject matter… If you get hot while dancing and tend to sweat, guys: have a small towel with you, ladies, avoid being sleeveless. But a little bit of “fresh sweat” is OK. What is unacceptable is “old sweat”…
Since like with any other types of dancing body odor is the toughest one to deal with, deodorant, mint or a breath freshener, fresh shirt and socks are a must. Except none of the above will replace a shower, so if you going to a Milonga straight from work, have a change of clothing with you and stop by the bathroom at your office to refresh before you get the tie on.