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Dance Styles

Argentine Tango

Argentine Tango is a dance of grace and complexity that moves with changing rhythms and intensity. The original passionate dance derived from the heart of Buenos Aires.

For social Tango the dance moves around the floor in an anti-clockwise direction. Depending on the amount of space available Tango can be stepped out to move around a large floor area or adapted to dance in a small crowded space.

The music changes from slow to fast throughout one song and has a distinctive sound due to the type of instruments commonly used such as the bandoneon, violin, double bass and piano.

A lot of the core movements in tango come from walking and isolating the shoulders from the hips to maintain a strong connection with your partner as you dance. While Tango is based on some simple concepts and steps, it also has a hidden complexity that continues to challenge the dancer.

Tango encompasses a wide range of tango styles that have developed over the years along with the music and culture of Buenos Aires.

If you can walk you can learn to Tango…
Yes Argentine Tango in its most simplistic form is simply improvised walking to music with a person in front of you. The leader (normally the man) guiding the follower (the woman) around the dance floor using his body to silently communicate with his partner where to move at every given step.

What makes Argentine Tango so different from other partner dances?
Because Tango is improvised it is a very organic, creative dance. The leader plays a kind of chess game as he navigates his partner round the dance floor. The follower waiting just long enough at each step to read from the leaders body intention where to move next - direction, speed, size of step. With her free leg (the one she is not standing on) the follower can also play with adornments (decorations with her feet) while not interrupting the lead.

Adding to the exciting spontaneous nature of the dance, Tango music commonly changes tempo throughout a song, with dancers choosing how to interpret the music, even pausing.

As a result of such a creative dance there are many different styles of Tango and many different techniques (although some more aesthetically pleasing than others).

Tango is great for the mind as well as the body
When observing tango it can be hard to spot all of this "gymnastics of the mind" going on. With practise tango dancers build up their "muscle memory" so that slow and fast transitions between movements become very instinctive and seamless as dance couples learn to move smoothly as one unit around the floor.

It is never too late to take your first Argentine Tango class
One of the great things about learning Tango is there is no age barrier. Tango is danced around the world by a wide range of people from all kinds of backgrounds and professions.

Tango is also a fun social way to meet people. The dance parallels life's big lessons in relationships with partner connection and clear body communication at the core of unlocking the secrets to becoming a confident Tango dancer.

Like many other Latin dances Salsa has its roots in Cuba. The popular usage of the word "salsa" for danceable Latin music began in 1933 when Cuban song composer Ignacio Piñeiro wrote the song Échale Salsita. He conceived the idea after tasting food which lacked the Cuban spices. It was a protest against tasteless food. Salsa is danced to eight-beat music, with dancers moving on three beats, pausing (or taping) for one beat, dancing for three beats, and pausing (or taping for one beat). Salsa is incredibly popular throughout Latin America and around the world.

During the time that the slave trade flourished in West Africa, natives used specific rhythms to speak to their gods. The rhythms came to the New World in the holds of the slave ships and in some cases the rhythms helped to keep the prisoner's hopes alive and kept them alive to the end of the journey. When the slaves were forced to adopt the Christian religion, they continued to call their own gods by using the drum rhythms. Most people who dance to Latin music today are not even aware that they are dancing to what started as religious music. In Cuba, many of these rhythms are still being used for religious purposes.

Class Q&A
Below are our answers to some of the most common questions we get from prospective dance students. Just click on the question # below to skip to the answer.

What dance experience do I need?
Do I need a dance partner for the class?
What sort of age group do you have in your classes?
How long will it take to learn the dance?
What should I wear to class?
What dance experience do I need?
None whatsoever! We teach first time dancers as well as those with previous dance experience.
Do I need a dance partner for the class?
This may depend on which class you are enrolling for -

Tuesday Group Courses at the Uni Recreation Centre
No partner required, we encourage students to change partners regularly in class to make sure everyone gets a go. It also creates a friendlier atmosphere as you get to know your classmates better.

If you come with a partner and really don't want to change that's ok too. However our experience has found that you tend to learn quicker if you get to dance with different people.

What sort of age group do you have in your classes?
Age can vary from teens to seniors. There is no age barrier for learning these dances.
How long will it take to learn the dance?
This depends on the individual. Several factors can impact the speed that you pick up the dance. e.g. Your learning ability, previous dance background and how much practice you do between classes.

Students who come to class range from people who have no previous dance experience to dancers from other dance forms. Everyone naturally learns at their own pace. Our job as instructors is to find a balance in the class and try to insure that students continue to progress with their level of dancing.
What should I wear to class?
Most people come in clothes they have worn to Uni or work. Whether you dress casual or dress up the main thing is to wear clothes that are comfortable and don't restrict your movement when you dance. You can get quite hot dancing so layers that you can take off as you warm up is recommended.

It is also advisable not to wear clothes that hide the form of your legs. E.g. an ankle length skirt or very baggy trousers. It is easier for us to help you with your dancing if we can see exactly what your legs are doing.

As a beginner you don't need special dance shoes but you might want to consider the following pointers when choosing what to wear:

Make sure your shoes strap or tie onto your foot so that your foot doesn't step out of the shoe as you move. Avoid wearing sneakers with heavy rubber traction on their soles as this makes it harder to turn on the floor. If in doubt about your shoes, bring along a spare pair.

For a wooden dance floor the ideal shoes would have leather or suede soles so you can turn easily without too much grip.

Ladies may want to have a heel, if you are comfortable walking in that height. Otherwise it is perfectly fine to dance in flat shoes.

For those serious about continuing with their dancing you may wish to invest in proper dance shoes which provide better balance/traction and foot flexibility than normal street shoes. See our Shoe Catalogue

It pays to bring a drink bottle as it can be thirsty work especially in the summer season. Also with all partner dancing think about personal hygiene by making sure your breath is sweet and use deodorant.


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