Argentine Tango Dance Lessons for Beginners

At Tango Elegante we teach Argentine tango dance classes and lessons for beginners and improving dancers in Watford Hertfordshire, to prepare you to dance at tango social dances (called Milonga), where you will hopefully enjoy many tangos with many tango partners, while making new friends. There is lots of information and commonly asked questions answered on this page to help you decide when to come along and experience Argentine tango the Tango Elegante way. If you still have further questions regarding beginners dance classes, please contact me and ask.

It takes courage to do something new, to walk through a door into a new environment to do something you’ve never attempted before, but here at Tango Elegante we will give you a warm welcome (and throw you in the deep end so you don’t have time to be nervous πŸ™‚ ).

So if you feel up for a challenge, and ready to start, come along and be introduced to the original, sensual, improvisational couples dance of Argentine Tango πŸ™‚

Make a start with Argentine tango lessons
Who our Argentine Tango Beginners Dance Lessons are suitable for
When and where we teach our tango classes for beginners
Isn’t Argentine tango really hard to learn?
Do you teach only couples dance lessons or can I come on my own?
What kind of shoes/clothes should I wear?
Am I too short/tall/fat/thin/unfit etc. to learn tango?
Do I always have to dance closely with a stranger?
I’ve got 2 left feet
I’ve got no sense of rhythm
I don’t want to look foolish
I do other dance styles but don’t have much musicality
I’m not very good at learning long sequences
I’m bored of doing the same routine over and over

Make a start with Argentine tango lessons

We have developed a structured tango teaching method suitable for beginners and improvers which runs over many weeks. The lessons introduce the key techniques and dance figures of the Argentine Tango and are continually evolving to teach students in the simplest but most effective way. The lessons are linked and each class starts with a review of previous elements relative to the current week, an easy introduction to the current weeks theme and dance figures, and then progression to more difficult variants over the duration of the class. At the end of each class there will be a 30 min practise session where you can try out your new learning.
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Who our Argentine Tango Beginners Dance Lessons are suitable for

  • Absolute beginners (whether you do other dance styles or not)
  • Recent beginners who may have already been taking tango lessons for a few weeks/months
  • Tango leaders or followers who want to try swapping roles
  • Modern Jivers, Salsa, West Coast Swing and Blues dancers who are ready to expand their repertoire of dances

Please feel free to come along at any time. Absolute beginners may find it a little harder when first attending beginners dance classes, but the class structure will hopefully give you time to catch up where needed, and I will always be on hand to assist.
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When and where we teach our Argentine tango Lessons for beginners

We teach on Thursday nights with the free tango taster class starting at 8:05pm, the open class starting at 8:30pm, and the practice session starting at 10:00pm. Our evening closes at 10:30pm. Our venue is the YMCA Orbital Community Centre, Haines Way, Watford, WD25 7QU just off the A405. It has plenty of free parking, and refreshments are provided. Please note, this is NOT the YMCA building in the centre of Watford.
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Isn’t Argentine Tango really hard to learn?

If you have not tried Argentine Tango, it can seem a bit daunting to start Argentine tango dance classes, especially if you have watched show dances on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ or seen Youtube videos of World Champion competition performances.

As a beginner who may never have danced Argentine tango before (or even never danced at all), you may feel that having seen these marvellous performances, that tango is hard to learn. However, you should note that these shows are often done for entertainment or competition. Events like the World Tango Championships in Buenos Aires, are wonderful to watch, and they celebrate the pinnacle of tango achievement, but they are mainly just entertainment to us mere mortals, with perhaps a dash of motivational inspiration.

They are different worlds compared to Argentine Tango in a social dance setting. Social dancers can, and do become excellent tango dancers, but it is a different approach to performance tango. The skills and techniques won’t sink in overnight. It needs regular effort in learning and practising the art. Like any good thing, you have to work at it before you can achieve your tango goals.

The main thing to remember is that Argentine tango as a social dance is performed for pleasure, not competition, or shows (although a little bit of showing off is OK πŸ™‚ ).

Other factors which can influence how hard or easy it seems to you, include such things like

  • Are your teachers methods suitable for your learning style?
  • Do you have any previous dance experience which may help (or hinder)?
  • Are you in reasonable physical shape for your age?
  • What is your mental attitude before even starting?

However these kind of factors apply to learning most new physical activities, such as tennis, karate, field sports and so on. I believe a desire to learn and some commitment to the task for the first few weeks will allow you experience enough to determine if you have fallen in love with tango or not. If you do fall in love with tango, you will be β€˜learning’ tango for the rest of your dancing days.
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Do you teach only couples dance lessons or can I come on my own?

Learning tango is not only for couples (but it does take two to tango πŸ™‚ ). At Tango social dances leaders and followers will often change dance partners during an event. At Tango Elegante, to make sure the attendees get to know each other, and to make sure you can learn to adapt to and dance with different partners, we encourage every one to change partners during the class, even if you arrive as a couple.

Of course, if this makes you feel uncomfortable and you’ve arrived with a partner and want to stay together at first, just let the teacher know. Eventually you may want to dance with different people, to improve your skills as a social dancer.

If you don’t have a partner, come along anyway. I will always try to make sure you get a chance to dance with different people. If you can persuade someone to come along with you, they will be most welcome. πŸ™‚
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What kind of shoes / clothes should I wear?

If you are starting out in tango, for both leaders and followers I would recommend shoes with leather soles. You need to be able to turn freely on one foot and rubber soles will drag too much. For those of you who are going to wear high heels, 2 to 3 inches is fine, and heels should be slightly flared (not needle point) for easier balance. Clothing should be loose to allow at least shoulder width steps and freedom of movement, but you don’t need to rush out and buy a tango split skirt… yet… Please note this also applies to the ladies πŸ™‚
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Am I too short / tall / fat / thin / unfit etc. to learn tango?

Take a look at this then tell me what you think.

I saw this guy live in 2016.He’s about 5ft 5inch tall and was a tad overweight, but there is no denying his skill. While there maybe extremes of height, weight and fitness which might make it more difficult to achieve certain tango movements, there is usually a way of modifying technique to fit your (or your partners) particular body shape. Part of dancing social tango is learning to adapt your dance and style to fit your own and your partners capability, so you can still both have a pleasant dance.
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Do I always have to dance closely with a stranger?

Dancing Argentine Tango often requires close contact with your partner. It’s part of the dance, and it is easier to perform some tango movements in a close embrace. For other movements its easier to open out the embrace, so the tango embrace needs to be flexible.

At Tango Elegante we encourage all our dancers to respect each other and the dancers around them. To have enjoyable social interaction we insist on this level of respect for all participants in our tango dance lessons.

Tango is often portrayed as being ‘sexy’, but I would say it is sensual in the context that it engages many senses of touch, movement, listening to music etc. and there are often elements of playfulness and flirting added to the dance. Any ‘sexiness’ quotient is up to you and your partner to decide on, just as in any other social context.

If you feel uncomfortable in the first few weeks of your dance lessons, my advice would be to concentrate on learning tango and treat your dance partner (respectfully :-)) as a prop to use for your own learning needs. Eventually the strangers who you meet in your first week become friends, and you find out that hugging is enjoyable and often relaxing. It has been shown that hugging anyone (including your teddy bear) releases the chemical oxytocin in the brain which makes you feel good πŸ™‚

See this article on the physiological benefits of hugging for a basic overview of the science. A 20 second hug is apparently the minimum required for a hug to be beneficial. Lucky for tango dancers, most tango tunes last 2 minutes or more. πŸ™‚
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I’ve got 2 left feet

People often claim ‘I can’t dance, I have two left feet’. To which I say this… If you can walk without falling over, I can teach you to dance using my method of building up repertoire, technique and musicality in layers. And here’s my guarantee. If you don’t think you’re making any progress after doing just two beginners tango classes I will refund your money!
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I’ve got no sense of rhythm

Having, or not having a sense of rhythm is a matter of training. Even if you are tone deaf and can’t sing a note, picking up basic rhythm is a different requirement. In class you will be taught how to listen for the walking beat, and as you progress you will be taught how to pick out beats and melody for syncopation to enhance your dance.
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I don’t want to look foolish

If you are lacking a bit of confidence, then it’s quite normal to be nervous about looking a bit foolish if you make mistakes when you first start. Everyone makes mistakes when learning something new, but mistakes are simply opportunities to improve and put things right. At Tango Elegante we don’t put people down for making mistakes. I want you to enjoy the process of learning, as much as the end objective of being able to dance, and I have a lot of patience πŸ™‚
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I do other dance styles but don’t have much musicality

Most dancers with reasonable experience of any dance style can usually pick out the main ‘stepping beat’ of a tune. If you have difficulty with this, it may simply be that your other dance teachers don’t spend enough time on musicality. In Tango Elegante Argentine tango classes we consider musicality, the structure of tango tunes and how you might interpret them from your first tango dance lessons onwards. While it may take some time for your musicality to improve, it is a skill which once learned, you can take and apply to other dance styles as well as tango.
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I’m not very good at learning long sequences

Great! Argentine Tango is an improvisational dance. While there are short figures and sequences to learn, there are no long sequences of steps to learn because all tango movement is built up from a small set of key sequences and techniques. The leader invites the follower to step in some direction by his lead. The follower accepts (or not…) each invitation to move as the dance progresses. Each dance with each partner is unique! That is part of the beauty of Argentine Tango.
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I’m bored of doing the same routine over and over

As a leader you may be bored of your own current dance styles if you have a limited repertoire which you use over and over again. With Argentine Tango the ultimate aim is not to reproduce fixed, learned sequences as you remember them, but to move in reaction to the music and your own feelings at that moment, but with tango style and technique. Lead well and your partner will join you in your unique dance πŸ™‚

As a follower you will be dancing with many partners who will dance with an infinite variety of movements to a large number of tango tunes. You will not have any chance to get bored πŸ™‚
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