Learning to dance tango is a nice goal. But how do you find a good tango school or the right tango teacher? One tip is to watch dance videos from different teachers or teacher couples. If you like the teacher's dance style, that's a good precondition. Then of course their pedagogical skills follow - and ultimately personal sympathy!
To start with: a good tango school!
What can you expect from a good tango school? Care should be taken to teach students a solid basic technique right from the start. This is an important prerequisite for the ability to improvise freely - and thus having fun while learning to dance! A collection of “figures” or “steps” is not important, but understanding the internationally understandable body language of tango. Elegant, sensual and musical walking in a close embrace is one of its basics.
A good tango teacher treats every student with understanding. Important: single women or men should also be able to register for lessons - most tango schools arrange dance partners for singles. You don't need a steady partner to learn to dance tango!
“Social dancing” is also trained in a good tango school right from the start, so that tango newbies can soon find their way around the dance group at a milonga, i.e. a tango dance fest. Learning to dance tango is fun!
Learning to dance for all levels
What opportunities are there to learn to dance Tango Argentino? Tango courses, tango workshops or individual lessons are offered in which you get to know the elements of dance. No matter what age, even without any dance experience - anyone who can walk can also learn to dance Tango Argentino! For those who believe they are not musical or have “two left feet”: Musicality and a sense of rhythm can be trained, because everyone has the natural ability to do so! The only requirement is openness and a little patience.
In a tango course you not only learn to dance step sequences, but also to get the body feeling to dance relaxed, enjoyable and musically. Right from the start, emphasis should be placed on the basic character of Tango Argentino: improvisation, leading and following. No fixed program should be completed - everyone can learn to dance at their own pace!
The learning levels (or levels) of most tango schools are divided into beginners (level 1), intermediate (level 2) and advanced (level 3).
Looking for a dance partner?
A dance partner is missing? Good tango schools are happy to organize so-called jumpers (mostly more experienced dancers). You already have tango experience and maybe you don't know which course is the right one for you? Contact your tango school beforehand to clarify this!
If something doesn't work right away, you can raise questions or ask for repetition. Good tango teachers respond sensitively to each participant, analyze problems and sometimes practice with their students themselves. The atmosphere should be relaxed, because even if learning to dance tango initially means work, it should above all be fun!
You will also learn some Argentine terms for Tango dance steps (More information in our Tango Lexicon). Over time you will also get to know the musical styles from different epochs of tango history - and how you can interpret them individually.
At milongas (Tango festivals), which are organized by most tango schools, you can then put into practice what you have learned in the classroom and dance to selected tango music in atmospheric surroundings.
Learning tango is fun!
In tango courses or workshops, the practice is usually done in pairs. After basic exercises on posture, balance and walking - especially important in tango! - it is about the respective topic of the course. Most of the time, the various movements of man and woman (or leader and following) are first practiced individually, then in pairs.
In order to get a feel for communication in a couple, it is highly recommended to dance with different partners. In the course, you are often asked to change partners, as it makes learning to dance easier.
Popular tango schools
Tango schools in Munich
- Tango Maldito
- live tango
- Tango Lugo
- DNA tango
- Lo de Laura
- Tango Anabella
- Tango connection
- Tango Sur team
- Tango genial
- Tango a la carte
- El Farolito
- Tango Papusa
Tango schools in Hamburg
- Alma Tango
- Alto tango
- Tango studio El Abrazo
- Baladin Tango
- La Yumba
Tango schools in Cologne
- Don Tango Club
- Tango Köln - Ricardo & Raquel
- Tangokultur Köln
- vida mia
Tango schools in Berlin
- Tango La Berlinesa - Tango courses and workshops in Berlin
- Tango Tanzen macht schön (TTMS) - the renowned tango school of Susanne Opitz and Rafael Busch
- Nou Tango Berlin
- Mala Junta
- Tango Raum
- Tango Vivo dance studio
Learning tango while traveling
Another effective and fun way to learn to dance is through tango trips.
For example at a Tango vacation in Italy at Villa La Rogaia, Italy: Tango and Dolce Vita. Tango vacation with internationally renowned teachers in a romantic country house in Umbria.
Tango La Berlinesa offers tango trips to the most beautiful destinations in Europe and South Africa.
Also the famous Berlin Tango School Dancing tango makes you beautiful has been organizing tango vacation trips for many years.
What are the learning levels?
What do you learn in a tango beginners course?
Learning to dance tango in the beginners course or at level 1 means first of all to practice elegant walking and the correct step technique. In tango these elements are not just a question of styling, they are part of the basic technique that makes it possible to improvise and create challenging sequences of figures. In the tango beginners course you will be shown in detail the technique of weight shifting, the perception of the standing and free leg, as well as an elegant foot technique and exercises for a stable balance.
Posture and hug
Tango is danced elegantly and with the basic idea of the embrace - Postura y Abrazo. In a tango course for beginners you will learn how your posture should be in order to be able to dance in close embrace with upper body contact. This includes an open and upright posture, a round, soulful and lively hug and a good and secure feeling of being on your own axis.
Basic step - simple yet sophisticated
Tango is an improvisational dance. Every step and every figure is led by the man (or leader) spontaneously and only with body signals, the woman (or follower) follows the lead and contributes in her own way to actively and creatively shaping the tango. Nevertheless, there is a basic step in tango, the so-called Paso Basicowhich most teachers teach their tango students to give them some structure in learning to dance, at least initially.
Ocho - the eight in tango
One of the fundamental basic figures in the Tango beginners course is el Ocho - the eight. Here, the shape of a figure eight is "painted" on the floor with the feet. Ochos are made up of steps and turns - pivotsdanced forward or backward.
Simple figures - let's start now!
With these basic figures it is time to improvise. The teacher will help you put simple figures together. Small twists - Giros, a Parada, the figure for the woman, in which she has time to please the man with elegant decorations, or a "sandwich" - sanguchitogently pinching your partner's foot between your own feet. This way, after the first experience of learning to dance, you will be ready to take a few steps on the dance floor of a Milonga !
Learning to dance tango at the intermediate level
Learn to dance intensively: this is what awaits you in the intermediate level, also called level 2. You are in the right place if you have completed at least one beginners course, because you build on the basics that have already been taught there. Usually 1-2 years of dance experience or many tango miles in your feet are required. Topics are e.g. change of direction, the cradle - Cunita, the feint - amgue, figures in the crossed system, Ocho Cortado, Parada, Calecita - all steps that offer a lot of room for improvisation, are fun and very important to deal harmoniously and confidently with the other couples at a Milonga . Here you will also learn to dance one of the most important figures in tango: the Molinete, a twist in which the couple walks around each other.
Dynamics and rhythm
Because the molinete is one of the basics of improvisation, most schools take a closer look at its technique and execution and teach you to dance it in both directions. Then you can put in some sacadas , which means that the man or woman steps into the partner's lane and thus takes his / her old place. You will learn to deal with the dynamics and rhythm of these figures, deal with the role of the leader and the follower and practice how to improvise the steps you have already learned and the new figures.
New series of figures are combined with familiar ones. The Parada - “Magic time” of the woman to “seduce” the man and vice versa - is examined carefully. You learn ornaments, for example Saludos, Caricias, Adornosin order to be able to fully enjoy this figure with its sophisticated possibilities of movement. You will also learn to dance previously unknown step sequences of tango: the Barrida - the sweeper, Voleos and Ganchos, forward and backward Sacadas for man and woman, planeosin which the control of the free leg is perfected.
Tango Nuevo elements
With Soltadas - here the dance posture is dissolved, unusual changes of direction, Volcadas and Colgadas - which temporarily suspend your axis and play with centrifugal force - you will learn figures from the repertoire of Tango Nuevo . All sequences will be prepared in a way that you can perform them on the dance floor. You will learn what you have to pay attention to in order not to disturb the dance flow of a milonga, even when it's crowded, and to remain confident.
Learning to dance on advanced level
In an advanced or level 3 course, all tango dancers with around 3 years of dance experience and a lot of dance practice at milongas are in the right place. Some tango schools work with the terms “beginner - intermediate - advanced”, others with “levels”, mostly from 1 to 3. The highest level is sometimes also referred to as “master class”.
Some of the dance figures in such a course are already familiar from the previous learning levels. In the advanced lessons, the level of difficulty in performing these step sequences is increased. You will learn to dance complex combinations of figures of the Tango Argentino, which combine elements from several simple steps.
Freedom of improvisation - the master class
The teachers will work with you to refine your technique from head to toe! You will learn how to use a functional posture and the conscious use of your step technique to become good and elegant "Milongueros ”, i.e. tango dancers at a milonga (public dance event).
The result of this work is to develop your personal style and to discover your own combinations of figures. In dialogue with your dance partner, you will achieve that enjoyable freedom in improvisation that is considered the essence of tango.
Info: What types of lessons are there?
Tango courses - varied and effective
Tango courses usually consist of several units that build on each other. Here you deal with technique, tango embrace and various figures with which you can build up and enrich your improvisation repertoire. You can join most schools at any time. Sometimes there are also trial lessons or "open" courses that do not build on one another.
Workshops - intensive and compact
In addition to tango courses, workshops with special tango topics are offered. Workshops are mostly individual events and deal intensively with a particular topic, which means that you can make rapid progress in learning to dance in the shortest possible time.
Individual lessons - private training
For particularly clear progress - why not hire a “personal tango trainer”? In private individual lessons, tango teachers can specifically address your personal needs. Regardless of the level at which you want to learn to dance, whether as a beginner or highly advanced - you can train particularly effectively and concentrated here. Most professional tango teachers offer private lessons.
Guest teachers - new perspectives
It is worth booking workshops or individual lessons with well-known guest teachers who “travel through” if the opportunity arises! Each teacher has his own style of teaching, his own methodology, and sometimes you can benefit greatly from a new perspective on your own tango.
Videos - Tango courses for beginners
Learn to dance more easily with videos: Tango courses for beginners - here are some examples of typical course content by the tango teacher couple Fabián and Michaela Lugo. (You can find more videos and information on Youtube.)
These videos of typical beginner classes each show a short summary of the respective course topic. The Argentine-German teaching couple Fabián and Michaela Lugo filmed each of their classes at the end of the lesson over a two-year period and posted the video on YouTube the following day. This service was greatly appreciated by their students as it helped them learn to dance.
Fabián and Michaela have been running one of the most famous tango schools in Munich for many years - Tango Lugo. Numerous other course videos for all levels can be seen on their YouTube channel, as well as interesting shows and concerts. Click here for the Youtube channel by Fabián and Michaela. Have fun learning to dance tango!
By the way - if you want to know more about the most popular tango figures, you can visit our Lexicon of Tango Dance Steps to find a lot of information and the original Spanish terms!
Cover photo by Thomas Lackner. Dance couple: Michael (Anabella tango school) and Kasia. Other photos: Chauveau Photography, Thomas Lackner.