Tango Argentino > Tango in Portland, OR?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by M. Bingley, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. M. Bingley

    M. Bingley New Member

    Can anyone recommend a tango school in Portland, OR? Southeast would be great, but I'm open to other locations.

  2. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    You can't be serious! Portland is one of the AT meccas in the US. Clay Nelson, Alex Krebs, Robert Hauk are probably the top 3 teachers (based upon knowledge and years of teaching/dancign experience); Polly McBride and Bill Alsup would follow, as well as a couple of others. Go here... www.tangoberretin.com, or here... Clays Dance Studio.

    There are others, but these will definitely set you straight. Bonne chance.
  3. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Try the Sunday Practica at the Viscount Studio. Bill Alsup and Megan Pingree have been hosting it like, forever.
    Here's the web site the Bill used to host, now maintained by Jay Rabe.

    Alex's Tango Berretin is a truly a "tango school" (since nothing else is taught there!) and has been there for many years now. Still, classes seem to be just once a week unless you want to count privates.
    Alex played bandoneon with the Oregon Symphony a couple of months ago when they had an Argentine Tango program. He is definitely dedicated to AT.

    Would be willing to show up at the Sunday Practica at the Viscount Studio
    to meet a fellow DFer. $5 fee 1 hour intro lesson starting at 1:00

    And, the Viscount Studio is just a few blocks from Base Camp Brewery!
    Berretin is closer to I 205 than the Willamette River (6305 E Foster), but Viscount is just a few blocks from the river, and south of Division. Both are southeast.

    I've had lessons from Bill and Megan at Viscount, Alex, Robert Hauk, the relatively unknown Steven Payne, and various other local instructors. We could get more specific.

    Clay Nelson moved to Seattle years ago.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2017
    Angel HI likes this.
  4. TomTango

    TomTango Active Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2017
  5. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi Bingley, welcome to DF!

    In the beginning a good tango teacher is absolute subsidiary. In the beginning only socialization counts. Start anywhere, you have to change the teacher six or seven times anyway in the coming years.

    What do I mean by socialization? Is there a critical mass of dancers, beginners as well as advanced. Is there a friendly atmosphere besides the dance floor. Have you got the opportunity to get into contact? Is there a práctica or practilonga. You cannot accelerate learning tango, but what you in fact can accelerate is networking. Build up a peer group and the right tango school isn´t important any more.
  6. M. Bingley

    M. Bingley New Member

    Hey, maybe I need tips for starting out/picking a teacher/networking! First, if there are plenty of places and teachers in Portland, some method of selection would be useful. Second, this networking thing is totally new to me. Why do it?

    I attended a tango school for a while before I moved to Portland. People didn't talk to each other. The teacher was a problem. The turnover rate was high. The advanced students weren't good dancers. Though I really liked tango, I left after six months because I found the situation unbearable.
  7. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Merci, Steve. I had both of these tidbits on my o.p., especially Bill and Viscount; don't know what happened to them. Weird. :/

    Unfortunately, this happens a lot. There are several threads here discussing the possible whys and what to do's about it. Yet, on the other hand, there are plenty that aren't, and I must say that most of the time that I have been in Portland, I have found them to be in the Not Category (well, except for one milonga where everyone stayed to themselves, only danced fantasia (rudely), and wouldn't even be welcoming, let alone dance).
  8. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Simply to learn the criteria of selection. The more people you know the better you will be informed about teachers, locations, styles, stuff, shoes, studios, events... And tango mainly is a social dance: So besides dance training, fitness training, social dancing you should spend some time for the maintenace of your tango address book. Especially for dance students it is essential always to have good dance partners at hand. Usually beginners change their dance partners every half year. So you should already nail down the next one right now. Very often people got different dancers for different purposes: for lessons, for workshops, and for social dancing. And not only your local community counts, tango dancers usually are linked up cross country. So you can easily share appartments or cars at international tango festivals.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  9. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    The people I mentioned have been teaching / dancing / etc Argentine Tango in Portland since the 90s. Their longevity in a dance form that has the problems that plague AT in the US (well, it DOES have problems) is testimony that they are NOT a problem. Rather, they are part of the solution?

    Just for the heck of it, here's something Clay wrote.
    Here's Polly McBride's take on the same subject.

    I don't think I've been in a PDX AT class where there wasn't rotation of partners. It's hard to imagine not talking to people, and carrying that familiarity into a non class setting. But, there are lots of times when people are sitting around and not talking at practicas and milongas. And THAT can be / IS part of the AT scene, unless you expect it to be like a "dance party" or studio dance.

    If you hang around long enough, you realize people come and go all the time.

    One note... Portland AT is more like a traveling buffet than "a tango school." There is no sheltered environment with expectations that other people will actively welcome you and / or be expected to dance with you because you are a newbie, or even a seasoned veteran.

    Well, my comment here is that you can't MAKE people dance in time to the music. Although you CAN give classes in "musicality," etc.
    I've never taken an "advanced" class, but feel very confident about my AT, and was very comfortable dancing at two different milongas in Buenos Aires (after the initial pretty much expected apprehension). And, I learned in Portland.

    I can think of a venue from years ago where this description would fit very well. There was even one of the (older) big names in AT who manged to be rude while dancing ballroomy AT.
  10. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Sunday New York Times
    In Portland, Oregon, a Warm Embrace of Tango


    I do not miss the irony of reading about Portland AT in the New York Times, and learning about some new, and older venues.
    Not fond of their photos.

    And, was hoping Tabor Bread would be near Mount Tabor; but no, guess not.

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