Tango Argentino > Where to start?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by dbk, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone!

    My boyfriend and I are looking to learn Argentine tango in the Connecticut area, and my google-fu seems to be failing me... does anyone have recommendations?

    We're mostly looking for group classes right now, to learn the basics. However, we already have dance experience, so fast-paced classes would be best. We're kind of in this weird limbo... we don't want to step on any toes attempting an Intermediate class without knowing the basics, but we also don't want to waste our time and money re-learning to alternate feet and feel connection. So... help? :D

  2. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Hi dbk! I did some searching too, and found the following links:



    You could try contacting some of the people on those links and ask them for help getting started. You could also just show up to one of the milongas to watch and talk to people.

    As far as skipping ahead... I'd advise not to... I just started a couple months ago, and in my (admittedly) limited experience, previous dance knowledge can both help and hurt. And the basics in AT are VERY important. You can spend a very long time just working on walking and connection, it's so different from other dances... do yourself a favor and don't try to jump ahead. :)
  3. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Here is a place to check out, although I don't think they are as active during the summer.


    I occasionally will go to a Saturday workshop there. Check their schedule once it gets closer to September. Generally, they will have different teachers come in for about a month of classes (on Saturdays). Some teachers I recommend who have taught there are: Mary Ellen Petersen, Jackie Wong & Paul Marshall, and Fernanda Cajide.

    BTW, Hartford is not my "home base", so to speak, so other teachers they have there may be very good. These ones I listed are teachers that I've had classes (and privates) with closer to home. So if I see them teaching something that interests me in other cities (like Hartford), I'll sometimes drive a ways to take their classes.

    PS: Some of the people that I went to Buenos Aires with, are in the Hartford group, so I can say first hand, that it's a very nice group of people there.

    Edit: I just got an email from them. It looks like their classes have moved to Wednesdays this fall (which means I likely won't be able to attend any of them).
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2017
  4. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the dark side, tbk. [​IMG]
  5. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Aha. Ahahahahahaha.


    But yes, I thought that too when I started learning AT.

    Start at the start, would be my advice.
  6. hbboogie1

    hbboogie1 New Member

    No forget starting at the start and learning all that hum drum basic stuff. It’s a lot easier to learn a bunch of cool moves and become a tango nuevo dancer.
  7. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    In addition to dchester, maybe Peaches or Zoopsia might have some suggestions for you for people up in the Northeast. Good luck with it.

    Although I also agree with everyone else here that you need to go ahead and start from the start (I came to AT from 10 years of ballroom) because what you'll be asked to "feel" and "connect" with your partner isn't going to be what you are used to from other dances. One of the things I always wish people would do is to try to just enjoy where you are and what you are learning at the time and squeeze every possibility you can out of even the most "simple" concepts you may learn from day one, like all the possibilites you can come up with from just simple concepts like walking and weight changes. No matter what pace class you manage to find, hopefully you'll find a balance for you and not something that all about steps or figures.

    Here's one more idea- workshops tend to move at a very fast pace. You might consider taking a group class and also seeing if there are any worksops coming up in your area soon that feature "beginner" classes (and beginner can often mean anyone dancing AT a year or less, depending on who is organizing), then you could get some more intense instruction and still be able to go back to your group class to hash out the questions.
  8. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Another thought is to take a private, and then ask the teacher to assess where they think you are at.
  9. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    also not a bad idea...
  10. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2017
  11. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I would have suggested Haarts too, because that's the only organization I know in Connecticut.

    I also don't recommend skipping the intro level. In some ways, prior dance experience is more of a hindrance than a help. Training in any form of movement is always good, but elements of some dances are incompatible with Tango technique. Training in each various dance comes with things that will help you in tango and also things that will get in the way. Sometimes, those with experience in other movement forms actually take LONGER to master the basics because they have to make a CHANGE in how they do something.
  12. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    Ok, I definitely said that wrong :D

    I'm all about learning (and repeating) basics. That's all I really want to learn; the flashy stuff isn't my style at all. I am looking for a fast-paced class, however, because I am not new to dancing... I want to be challenged, but I definitely don't want to skip ahead.
  13. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    I totally understand and agree!

    My boyfriend and I do practice feeling each other (hah!) and connecting this way. That's exactly why we're looking at Argentine... we like to mess around at socials, making up steps and the like, in a very close frame - similar (I think!) to Argentine. We're actually more successful with int/continuity foxtrot, because it has more changes in position where we can feel each others' weight change. We try to do the same thing with tango, but the ballroom tango steps we know seem to be a little too flashy.

    So, yeah, this is exactly why I'm looking for something a little more fast-paced. From the start, but fast-paced. I've had some bad experiences with ballroom classes where we end up learning 1-2 steps in an hour and little to no technique, no connection, followers just backleading or leading themselves and everyone just looking to get through the pattern... :(

    Most intro classes I've attended focus on just getting through the steps, and worrying about connection and technique once they've learned to alternate feet and not go clomping around flat-footed... the way I'm sure I was when I started :D But that's why I'm looking for something more fast-paced. But hey, maybe the intro classes I've been to in the past just stink.
  14. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    That's great that you have someone as enthusiastic about it as you to practice with. :)

    So... given what you've said, my suggestion would be to go to a few group lessons to see how you like the dance. Then if you like what you see/feel, splurge on some private lessons to really learn the basic techniques. You're probably not going to get the level of detail you need from groups alone. But once you have a solid understanding of the basics, you can build on that practicing together, and get more out of the group classes too.

    That's really the "fastest" way to get started.
  15. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Subliminal gave some very good advice and I'll add a little bit to it by way of anecdote that hopefully makes sense.

    I've been dancing AT for about 4 1/2 years, and this past weekend went to a workshop with a teacher who teaches close embrace, because we don't get that many teachers here that teach it in workshops so I try to attend to support them.

    The first class was fundamentals, and because I didn't know what her style or philosophy was going to be, I figured that I'd better attend that to find out. And she put us through basic philospphy and exhausting technical excersises like I haven't done in some time. I was glad I went as I got some insight on her way of embracing that twigged some memories from past classes and tied a few more loose strings together for me on the tango elephant (blind men and the elephant analogy). Later, when I was talking to some beginning to intermediate students, most were disappointed that they didn't get more from the class (like new steps). They were just mad she made them do excersises the whole time and so IMO missed the entire point.

    So I guess what I'm saying is even if a class apparently moves a little slower, if you can find a teacher who goes more in depth in to connection, philospohy and lead/follow technique as opposed to just teaching footwork and patterns very slowly, you should get something from it since you are clearly already thinking more deeply about it. You just may have to learn to prompt for information....how is this useful on the social floor...how does this develop my connection to my partner...how can I change this to make it go with different music...all sort of things you can explore even in a basic class and in the long run will probably be very glad you did explore at the start rather than trying to come back to the concepts.

    Subliminals suggestion of a group class with a little bit of privates to augment wouldn't be a bad idea.
  16. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member


    Here are some pieces of advice from me. It's more geared towards the lead, but should help you understand better.

    I'm including links to my blog as there is so much to learn in AT:

    There's a lot more, so please feel free to browse. Don't make the mistakes I've made.
  17. ant

    ant Member

    IMO you should spend all your time at the beginning finding the best teacher you possibally can that is within a reasonable driving distance of where you live. The pace of a class is not important.

    The only way I have found good teachers is to look on the list of Tango Festivals that are well respected by experienced Tango dancers and track down anybody on those lists that teach in your area.

    After that look for workshop weekends where the good teachers are attending and go to them.

    I have also found that attending technique classes, where for the first hour say you work on individual technique, walking, disociation and pivoting and for the next hour you go over classic moves or just walk with a partner are very helpful. You will find that such classes go over same things each week but what I hear more from fellow students in that class compared to any other is "this is the only class I learn anything".

    I look for workshops to compliment the technique classes; the embrace, musicality and small steps of The Salon.

    Good luck.
  18. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    feeling i/s of listening

    Hi dbk, do so, skip the classes, 2 or 3 privates (if you can afford, perhaps better in a big town), and you will have a different look at it, because the teachers will speak clear text and give it to you straight! And, not only words count: you could feel the differences directly !
  19. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

  20. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    You may want to look into getting with an amature Tango dance troupe as well. Amature troupes are really fun. You learn while you rehearse. (However,...not for the beginner beginner).
    Anyway, I thought I would mention it since no one brought it up.

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