Frequently Asked Questions
I don't know anything about tango. Can I attend the class?
Of course! The beginners level classes do not assume any tango or other dance experience. If you have a fair bit of experience dancing Argentine Tango, you can attend the intermediate/advaced level class.
Do you compete? Do you perform on stage?
No, we do not compete or perform. (Although we occassionally offer demos for on-campus events.) We just dance socially for fun! Argentine tango is danced at dance parties called "milongas". We organize milongas as well as encourage people to go to the dozens of other milongas around the Bay Area!
Do I need to bring a partner to the classes or practicas?
We rotate partners during class, so you do not need to bring a partner.
What are "practicas"?
Practicas are practice sessions. There will be tango music and you dance and practice with others. There are NO LESSONS at the practicas, but feel free to discuss with or ask other people at the practica. If you want to practice something specific or new, it's a good idea to talk to your partner beforehand. Unless you have a regular practice partner, we encourage people to rotate partners every 3-4 songs. It's not very polite to hold on to one partner for a long time unless you have a clear mutual agreement. Practicing tango with many partners makes you a better social dancer and helps you meet new people!
Are you affiliated with the Salsa club/ballroom dance club, etc.?
Do you accept cash/checks/credit cards for class fees?
Cash, checks: Yes.
Credit cards: No.
Do I need to pre-register for the classes?
You don't need to pre-register. Just pay when you arrive.
I'm not a student at Stanford. Can I attend the classes?
Yes, almost all of our events are open to the public!
I don't know anything about these teachers. Are they good?
You bet! All our instructors are professional tango teachers and some of the most well-known in nation!
How is the gender/leader-follower balance in class?
Usually the balance is good. If you find yourself in a class with too many leaders/followers, try learning the other role. Knowing how to lead and follow makes you a better dancer and allows you to practice with and meet almost twice as many people!
I have done ballroom-style tango / some other ballroom dance / salsa before. Can I take the intermediate level class?
Argentine tango has unique partner communication, improvisational philosophy, and musical structure. Therefore, we strongly encourage everyone to start with the beginners class. If you must have more challenge, you can try taking both level classes at the same time.
So I heard that officers can take classes for free. Is that true? How do I become an officer?
That's right, club officers take classes for free. If you are a registered Stanford student (undergraduate or graduate), excited about tango, and willing to devote some time helping with club organization and tasks, we definitely want to hear from you! Prior tango experience or skill level is NOT a barrier! (Some of the most successful officers started learning after they became officers and went on to become really good tango dancers). We are constantly recruiting volunteers and training potential officers, so e-mail us or talk to one of us in person! Generally there are 6-8 officers in the club, and many more volunteers.
What kind of shoes should I wear while dancing?
Argentine tango involves quite a bit of pivoting, so wear shoes with smooth soles that you can pivot on without much difficulty, preferably leather or suede soles. If you have some sort of "dance shoes" (with suede or leather soles) or "dance sneakers", those work fine. Ballet slippers (real ones, not ballet flats) are quite comfortable too. In the early stages learning tango, you can even wear socks.
So I went to a practica, and suddenly they were playing this crazy fast song that was impossible to dance to! What on the earth was that?
Don't worry, it happened to all of us at some point :-) What you heard was most probably a "milonga" song. (So the word "milonga" has two meanings. You either "go to a milonga" (dance party) or "dance to a milonga"). Milonga has a 2/4, syncopated rhythm and is usually danced playfully with smaller steps. Regular tango songs are 4/4 and range from rhythmic to lyrical. The third type of tango music is vals, which is tango waltz in 3/4, and usually danced with more curving steps and turns. As you learn tango, you will be exposed to all three types of tango music and the styles typical of many of the classical orchestra. The more time you spend listening to tango music, the better you'll be able to dance to the music and with your partner, making the tango dance a fun and creative experience!
What's a "tanda"? What's a "cortina"?
In a milonga (dance party) or sometimes in practica, a "tanda" is a set of 3-4 songs. Generally, it's polite to dance a tanda with one partner, although you should always excuse yourself if you are uncomfortable. Tandas are separated by short non-tango music (30-45 seconds) called a "cortina" - that's the signal to switch partners! You can also ask your partner for another tanda if you're close friends or you really enjoyed the last one.
For more information on events, click here.
For further questions, please contact us here.