Intensive Beginners' Program
Instructors - Sol Gabis Gomez and Agustin Ivan Rojas

The three-day Intensive Beginners' Program is perfect for those who have never danced tango as well as for those who have danced for a few years and want to brush up on their fundamentals. The Program, comprised of five workshops, is designed to immerse you in the essential elements of the Argentine tango social dance, including the movement, the musicality, the navigation, embrace and etiquette so you can attend and enjoy milongas (tango social dance) on your own during and after the Festival. The Practicas are social opportunities to remember and retain what you have learned in the workshops or previous classes, as well as work with others who are doing the same, while at the same time making new tango friends and potential dance partners for future milongas. It is at this type of venue that an exchange of feedback is acceptable. If it is a guide practica, a teacher is available for answers to questions that may arise or feedback is desired. The Milongas are designed as classic social dances or dance parties for everyone to enjoy.

The workshops will have limited enrollment to enhance your learning experience. We will attempt to gender balance the number of leads and follows for the workshops. Special clothing is not required, but bring comfortable, leather-soled or suede-soled shoes to dance in.

Program: group workshops, plus Practica. Milonga program

Teachers: Sol Gabis Gomez and Agustin Ivan Rojas

Session A (Workshop) - Foundations of Tango - Posture, Embrace, Walking, Vocabulary
Friday 4/15 evening - 5:00-6:30 pm

Session B (Workshop) - Essential Milonguero Technique: Balance, Stability, and Axis for Leaders and Followers
Saturday 4/16 afternoon - 12:00-1:30 pm

Session C (Workshop) - Tango as a Social Dance: Leading, Following and the Line of Dance
Saturday 4/16 afternoon - 1:45-3:15 pm

Session D (Workshop) - Rhythmical Variations: Milonga
Sunday 4/17 afternoon - 12:30-2:00 pm

Session E (Workshop) - Rhythmical Variations: Vals
Sunday 4/17 afternoon - 2:15-3:45 pm

Tentative Schedule, subject to change

Early registration recommended. See Pricing, Payment & Registration.

Some Tango Definitions

Milonga - A word used to describe two different things: (1) a tango social dance event in general, and (2) a specific kind of tango music that is a lively, early style of tango with an up-tempo beat. At a Milonga (tango social dance event), music is usually played in tandas or sets of three or four songs , during which dancers stay with the same partner. The milonga style of music is usually used along with the other two principal styles of tango music, tango and vals.

Tanda - Set of tango songs -- usually three or four songs -- of a particular style of music and usually from the same orchestra lasting 10-12 minutes. Couples normally dance a tanda together, before they are seated and change partners.

Cortina - A break song or transition song of an entirely different musical style lasting at least 30 seconds that signals to the dancers that the tanda is over and the next one will begin shortly. During cortinas, couples thank each other for the dance and return to their seats so they can prepare for the next dance.

Practica - A tango practice session where dancers can work on new steps and where they can iron out problems with their dance. Music is usually played continuously and someone is usually available to assist couples, as needed. Milongas, which are more structured, should not be confused with Practicas.

Codigos - Tango 'codes of ethics' or guidelines for people attending and dancing at a milonga. These guidelines govern dancer's behavior while at the milonga -- entering a milonga, being seated, for choosing a partner, dancing, watching others dance, and leaving the dance. Respecting the codigos provides a social guidance on the dance floor which allows everyone to more fully enjoy their time at the milonga. If a woman wants to dance, they must appear to want to dance. Playing on their phone, having a conversation, avoiding eye contact are some examples that will not get you an opportunity to dance. Women must appear to be interested in dancing by being approachable, looking around for desired leaders, etc.

Tango Códigos:

  1. Typically the man asks the women to dance, instead of the woman asking the man.
  2. If possible, use the cabaceo method to find a partner, which helps people "save face" when choosing a dance partner. (The cabaceo is agreeing to dance through the subtle inclination of the head, through eye-contact or a wink.)
  3. After two people agree to dance, the man should then approach the women while she remains seated. The man stops near the edge of the dance floor closest to where she is sitting. The woman then stands up and approaches her partner.
  4. More experienced couples dance on the edge of the dance floor. Less skilled dancers dance in the middle.
  5. When dancing, don't confuse the social dance floor with a stage (see below).
  6. At the end of a tanda, the man accompanies the women to her seat, before chatting with others or returning to his seat.

Milonga Floorcraft - Respect the line of dance

  1. All milongas have to have a line of dance, where couples slowly circle the outside of the dance floor in a counter-clockwise direction.
  2. Couples should stay in their lane and maintain their same position as they move forward with the line of dance until the end of a song. No zig-zagging in and out of the line of dance.
  3. Avoid passing the couple in front of you. Never pass a couple on the outside (side closest to the seating area). If a couple is stopped in front of you or moving slower than you'd like, dance in place with your partner until the other couples starts moving again. HOWEVER, if the couple in front of you is blocking the lane creating a huge gap in the line of dance, it is acceptable to dance around that couple by zig-zagging as long as the couple you zig acknowledges your desire to move into the inner lane. You may stay in that position of the inner lane a that point OR you may return into the original lane.
  4. Leads or follows should not teach at a milonga. No one should ask for tips and no one should ask for suggestions. Milongas are to enjoy, while lessons or tips are for practicas or classes. Milongas are social events and not places to call attention to what others are doing wrong. If your partner asks for feedback or asks you to teach them a move that they didn't understand, politely explain that such things are for classes and practicas, and milongas are just to enjoy.
  5. Leaders..DO NOT LEAD ANYTHING that asks a follower to lift her foot or leg on a crowded dance floor. Followers...If the leader leads anything that requires you to lift your foot or leg on a crowded dance floor, KEEP IT ON THE FLOOR. If you MUST lift your foot or leg, be aware of how much room you have before doing so and avoid hurting anyone around.
  6. Respect the space of others in front of you and others behind you in the line of dance. There is a small amount of space around you that's only yours, while the rest of the space is shared space. It's up to you to know the difference.
  7. Don't disrupt the dance of others. Your responsibility is to keep circulating without bothering other dancers on the dance floor. If you want to stop and work on something, either leave the dance floor or go to the middle.