What is the Argentine Tango?
Argentine tango is a non-competitive social dance rooted in the fusion of the music and dances of Europe, Africa, and South America by the working class immigrants of Argentina and Uruguay in the early 20th century. There is no choreography and all steps are improvised by the leader. The non-verbal communication between the follower and the leader is essential to the intimacy and sensuality of the dance. Argentine tango is not ballroom tango (what many people think of when they hear "tango"), which borrowed the fantastical elements of Argentine tango and exaggerated them for theatrical performance.
In doing so, balance, connection, and the ability of the leader to lead the moves were sacrificed. Its stylized step sequences are fixed; it is a dance that bears little resemblance to the original dance from which it was derived. In contrast, Argentine tango is a fluid and constantly evolving dance. It originated not as a "ball-room" dance but rather as a "bar-room" dance.
Spontaneity, split-second reactions, utter absorption in the way your partner moves his or her body, the ability to create beautiful moves with your eyes closed, musicality, and a nonverbal, intimate conversation with another human being...this is the world of Argentine Tango.
Is there any etiquette for Tango?
There are certain things most people know and assume at a milonga (tango dance party). We've prepared a document to help you navigate your first milonga! Please click here for the PDF.
How much does the Beginner's Series cost?
The cost is $25 for the 5-week series. Payment is by cash or check made out to MTango; unfortunately we can't process credit card payments (sorry).
Can I pay for just one class of the Beginner's Series?
No, we require that you pay for the whole series. That's because the content of the Seginner's Series is cumulative, so we want the same people to show up each week. Our more advanced classes allow you to pay for one class at a time.
I'd like to sign up for the Beginner's Series, but I can't make it to all five classes. Can I still attend?
We encourage you to commit to all five classes before registering. However, if you have a conflict one of the weeks then we don't want you to miss out on learning tango so go ahead and sign up! If you need to miss more classes than this then it might be best to wait until our next series.
How can I get e-mail updates about MTango events?
Join the MTango google group - you'll get an e-mail or so per week about upcoming MTango events and other tango events in Ann Arbor. (Go to our homepage and enter your e-mail in the email subscription box under the Announcements Section.) You can unsubscribe later if you change your mind and we keep your address absolutely private.
I just took the Beginner's Series, but I don't feel like I'm ready to move on to the next level. What should I do?
We encourage you to repeat the Beginner's Series if you feel you didn't 'get it' the first time. In fact, we think this is such a good idea that we'll let you do it for free! Once you pay for a Beginner's Series, we will allow you to take it again, for free, until you feel ready to move on to our advanced beginner classes.
Do I need to have previous dance experience to join MTango?
No! Our beginner classes, while intensive, are designed for people who have never danced before. Try it out - even if you think you can't dance, you might surprise yourself! Of course we also welcome anyone who has tried other types of dance as well.
Where and when can I practice dancing tango?
Each Friday, right after class, we hold a free practica (tango practice) from about 9:30 to 11:00pm in Mason Hall. We play tango music and dancers of all levels practice with each other. There are other practicas in town as well so we encourage you to take advantage of whichever events fit your schedule.
Do I need a dance partner in order to take your classes?
No! We have our students rotate partners throughout every tango class (but you don't have to if you'd like to stick with one partner). In fact you'll learn more if you dance with many different people - and it's a great way to meet new friends!
Do I need to be a student to join MTango?
No! MTango consists of a mix of students, faculty, staff, and non-University members. The important thing is that you be interested in learning to dance Argentine tango.
Is there a dress code? What about shoes?
There is no dress code for tango. We do recommend clothing that is comfortable and easy to move in. As for shoes, they should be something that you can easily pivot in, so tennis or other rubber soled shoes are a bit more challenging. We would recommend leather or suede soled shoes but socks also work too.
How can I get more familiar with tango music?
Argentine tango is commonly danced to recordings from the 1930s-1950s. A great way to listen to this genre of music is to use Pandora: try investigating music by Carlos Di Sarli, Juan D'Arienzo, Anibal Troilo, Rodolfo Biagi, Osvaldo Pugliese, and Francisco Canaro.
Is there such a thing as a tango 'dance party'?
Yes! The technical name for a tango dance party is a milonga. It's an opportunity to dance socially, using what you've learned in our classes. We usually have a free milonga at the end of each series.
Where else can I dance?
Ann Arbor has a lot of regularly scheduled tango events; in fact you can dance most nights of the week if you want to. In general, the more days per week you practice, the more quickly you will progress! We especially recommend checking out www.a2tango.com and www.communitymilonga.org for announcements about classes, practicas, and milongas in Ann Arbor. Click here to get more information.
I've already taken a beginner tango series elsewhere. Am I welcome to take your more advanced classes?
MTango welcomes anyone who is interested in learning Argentine tango! Whether you're ready for our more advanced classes really depends on what you've learned and how you've been taught. We'd encourage you to try out the class you think is most appropriate and if necessary you can move down to the beginner's class for a review of the basics. Alternatively, you can show up at one of our free practicas (9:30-11pm most weeks, right after classes end) and talk to any of our instructors - we'll be happy to try to figure out what level you're at and advise you on which classes to take!
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