Ten Tips for Taking First Steps in Tango
1. Why take up tango?
Lots of great reasons – better social life, health, exercise, glamour, discipline, stress buster, etc Here are some links to suggestions from other tango commentators:
2. Where to learn
Most of the tango clubs in the UK are listed by region on this site. Some clubs run new courses for beginners every few months on a “drop-in” basis, others prefer you to sign up for a progressive course. Most clubs are very welcoming. Try a few clubs before you commit, quite a few offer a free taster.
3. Is it better to find a course run by teachers from Argentina?
Not really. It’s all about having a good teaching style. Many UK teachers now have a lot of experience in teaching tango and know how to gear the lessons to a wide range of standards. Definitely try Argentinians once you’ve become an “intermediate” though.
4. I have two left feet. Is there any point in trying, because I’ve heard that tango is difficult?
A lot of people say this. Nearly everybody can be taught to tango. You may well find that you can dance much better than you ever imagined. Tango isn’t hard to learn, it’s just that you never stop learning. Persevere, everybody gets setbacks.
5. Should I go on my own?
Actually most people do. It’s a bit nerve racking to start with, but it’s great way of meeting new people.
6. When will I be able to go milongas (tango dances)?
Probably after about 3 months of weekly lessons. Your first milonga will be daunting. If you’re a leader you will find it tough to get round the floor without colliding with other dancers. If you’re a follower you will be sure that you’re doing it all wrong. Don’t worry, keep going, and ignore anybody who gives you a hard time. But there are rules and etiquette at milongas – your teachers will explain.
7. Can I learn tango from books, or YouTube?
We think it’s almost impossible to learn from books. YouTube is great to get some ideas but you still need a teacher.
8. Group or private lessons?
Both, if you can afford it. Group is social and fun. Private will iron out any problems (and you will have many!)
9. Do I need special clothes or shoes?
Not at first. Just loose-ish clothes and shoes with leather or composite soles (not rubber). Proper tango shoes will give you the appropriate support you need and look beautiful (yes, guys – you as well)
10. I’m not sure if I’m going to like physical contact with strangers!
A common initial concern. Don’t worry everybody is in the same boat. You soon get used to it, and before long you will want to dance only in close embrace.