Learn Argentine Tango, the Magical Improvisational Dance. Discover the Sensations, Music, and Culture that Enthralled the World for a Century.
What makes Argentine Tango Special?
To learn Argentine Tango is to learn to feel and to create. Argentine Tango is first and foremost a social, improvisational dance: once you internalize the principles, you can create happy accidents with complete strangers. The video to the right is just how we felt in the music.
This differs with performative dances like ballet, folk dances, or ballroom (and that includes ballroom tango). In performative dances, a choreographer has the vision and the dancers rehearse to make that vision real. Performative dances value perfection, embody top-down team-work, and often fosters competition.
Argentine Tango is thus closer to Salsa, Kizomba, or Swing, but with two major differences. The first is how the couple signals to one another. Many dances are based on visual patterns; adept tangueros communicate to one another entirely by touch. The subtle leans and shifts, elasticity in the embraceThe upper-body connection between the dancers. The common ones are separate (chest are apart) and close embrace (heart-to-heart). The practice embrace where the dancers are connected only by holding the upper arm is sometimes used in learning., gentle foot brushes: in Argentine Tango, the outwardly invisible and what we feelings we create for the partner are what matters.
For followers, the 3-min of Tango is an intensely concentrated yet fully relaxed meditative state. Leaders, sculpting the action in the ever-changing river of music and shifting dance floor, often feels an exhilarating sense of accomplishment as he skillfully creates the reality from imagination.
The second difference between Tango and Salsa/Swing is the genre of music that can be danced to. Tangos (the music) are not all sad and melodramatic! From lyrical to rhythmic, classical to electronic, tangos music spans many sub-genres. The dance, co-evolving with the music, also developed expressive styles. The principles and techniques of Argentine Tango let you dance with everyone to almost any music.
How do I Learn Argentine Tango?
We love Tango and we always want to help introduce it to the curious! Our Discover Tango course is designed to give complete beginners their first taste of what Argentine Tango is about. We run this 4-week course every month, with sessions available on Tuesday evening, Friday evening, or Sunday afternoon.
In this compact 4-week course, you will learn the basic principles, ways of moving around around the dance floor, common figures such as the ochos, and paradaSpanish “stop”. A figure where the leader signals a pause, by placing the outside edge of his foot to touch the follower’s toes. A pasé usually follows., tips for comfortable leading/following, and essential dance floor etiquette.
Different people learn differently, and many people also are fascinated by the cultural aspects of tango, music, and Argentina. Our Discover Tango in-studio course is thus accompanied by online Companion to Discover Tango material and “class notes” for preview and review as needed.
I came from Buenos Aires, the home of Argentine Tango, in an artistic family of musicians and dancers. I have been studying Tango for more than 30 years (I can’t believe it!)
In these years, I danced with the Argentine National Academy of Tango, performed with different artists all over the world, and presented Tango at World Expos on behalf of my country. I judged international tango festivals and championships.
I taught at the largest tango school in Buenos Aires, and started teaching in Europe, Australia, and East Asia since 2000. My distinctive gift is helping my students discover what they need, and then move with them there.
Argentine Tango, for me, is a form of art that is intrinsically worthy of study and explore. I appreciate all the styles, from traditional to tango nuevo; and after all these years as a professional, I still think of myself as a student with very much to learn. My ongoing projects (Finite Tango, Infinite Tango, and Tango in Layers) are, in some way, vehicles for me to engage deeply with Tango.
4 x 60 min class. Includes online Companion to Discover Tango, and free entrance to practicas on Friday nights.
We want to help encourage young people join the community. Are you under 25? Discover Tango is just $540 for you (40% off).
Registration / Enquiries
Choosing a class
I have never done Argentine Tango before. Which class should I join?
Discover Tango teaches the basics and give you a taste of Argentine Tango in a concise 4-class format. We run new sessions each month.
I learnt Ballroom Tango. How is Argentine Tango different, and which class should I join?
Ballroom Tango prizes competition with formalized standards, and often train to perform a choreography. The appearance is expected to be proud and upright. Argentine Tango, on the other hand, is improvisational and dancers enjoy sharing the music in the brief moment together. The embraceThe upper-body connection between the dancers. The common ones are separate (chest are apart) and close embrace (heart-to-heart). The practice embrace where the dancers are connected only by holding the upper arm is sometimes used in learning. is gentle, and if both partners agree, can be heart-to-heart. They are really quite different, and Discover Tango is a good choice.
I have taken 1 year of Argentine Tango classes. Which class should I join?
You probably already know every movement from Discover Tango. You may be interested in knowing more about the culture and music, which is not usually taught as part of an in-studio course. Contact us and we’ll be happy to give you access to the Companion to Discover Tango!
As for in-studio dance class, I would suggest Tango – Novice. Despite the name, many students with several years of experience attend this class. I teach movements in the context of sequences (instead of being isolated pieces), so you will find that there is a different class every time.
What language are the classes in?
The classes are taught in English. (Or maybe, Span-glish…) I also teach in Spanish, Italian, and French. Jon helps me teach Discover Tango and can help translate into Cantonese if necessary.
Should we take a private class?
I suggest we talk about your goals and aspirations, and see whether a private session is the best option for you. Private classes are more expensive.
Sometimes, as a beginner, you just need more time to practice and play. We make our Friday night practice sessions free if you are already in Discover Tango!
People & Social
Do I need to come as a couple?
You do not need to come as a couple. Most students come on their own, and we rotate partners during the class. Part of your development as a dancer in Argentine Tango — a social dance — is being able to dance with different bodies, so we encourage you to rotate even if you came with your significant others.
I am a woman and I want to learn to be a leader (or vice versa). Can I?
As a beginner, it is advisable to focus on learning one role first. Everything is new and it is already quite mentally taxing. Subsequently students often learn both roles.
Are the classes 90% followers?
My classes tend to have fairly even ratios. My seasoned students dance as both leaders and followers too; and with advanced booking, we can ask for leaders to help out. You will get plenty of time to dance.
Attire & Etiquette
What should I wear to class?
Clean clothes that you can move comfortably in. Students come with long dresses, in yoga leggings, or shorts; it’s up to you.
What is needed for men’s shoes?
Our studio have a special floor, and we have a no street shoes policy. If you think you’ll be dancing for some time, you could purchase dance shoes (does not need to be expensive tailored shoes; just need to have soles that slides). For your first months, you can come with two pair of socks worn over one another. (Because of perspiration, one pair of socks doesn’t slide.)
What is needed for women’s shoes?
Our studio have a special floor, and we have a no street shoes policy. If you are a beginner, you may find that high heels make walking and balancing difficult; flat sole dance shoes (slippery bottom) or two pair of socks may work better. If you have decided to wear heels, you need to check that the bottom can slide.
Do you have a change-room?
Yes, we have a change-room with a full length mirror.
What facilities do you have?
Our studio have a maple sprung floor, commissioned specifically for the needs of Argentine Tango; the audio is driven by a Sonos sound system, and an ultra-short throw projector that casts a 100 inches image.
I heard you have a balcony?
Two of them! We Argentines love our asados (BBQ), and we have an asado / kitchen back balcony, and a spacious front balcony that overlooks the hustle-bustle of Causeway Bay.