We offer three distinct programmes to suit your experience and aspirations:
The Technical Foundation Programme
We run three Technical Foundation Programmes a year at our weekly class venues. They last about twelve weeks, starting in January, after Easter and in September. They are not “drop in” classes – the Programme builds week on week so you are not taken back to the beginning each time new people join. However, there are various options to help you join a programme that has already started. Please contact us to discuss how we can help you start straight away. There is more information here if you are taking up Tango or joining us for the first time.
It’s a lot of fun, but the programme is also designed to give you the best possible start on your Tango journey. And although it’s clearly the place to start, it’s not just for Beginners. Many people, even if they have been dancing Tango for some time, have found this programme extremely valuable in helping them improve and maintain their technique, as well as gaining new insights into, for example, leading and following.
Each week we spend a short time reviewing what we covered the previous week to help you consolidate your progress to date. Then we add something new to help you develop an understanding of all the core elements of Tango, including posture, balance, connection, leading & following and key steps of the Tango repertoire. Whilst the Men are busy learning the intricacies of leading, the Ladies need to develop their technique too: good posture, balance, walking (especially backwards), pivoting and “neat feet” – these are pre-requisites for following responsively (but not passively), and preparing the way for beautiful decorations a little later.
You will learn how to dance in the Tango embrace. The Tango embrace is dynamic, sometimes close, sometimes open. We teach you when, and how, to adjust your embrace to fit the movements you are dancing. Some schools only teach in an open hold, or stay in an open hold for the first few months, so that you only start dancing in a close embrace much later, or not at all. The problem with this is that you have to learn everything twice. We work with you to develop your Tango embrace from Day One, so that you start to learn how to lead or follow through connection with your partner straight away. This avoids some of the bad habits that often develop if you only learn in the open hold, and which can prove very hard to change later on – for example, poor posture, leading by pulling / pushing with the arms and looking down at your Partner’s feet.
You will also start to explore dancing to Tango music, which involves much more than just following the beat.
There is a lot to learn and it’s unrealistic to expect you will get it all first time round, but with our supportive coaching approach it will soon start to make sense. If you are new to Tango you will probably do the Technical Foundation Programme twice – the second time you will have a much better understanding of how it all fits together.
However, assuming you attend classes regularly, after the first time round you should be ready to start the Progressive Programme as well. In this case you use the Technical Foundation Class to review, consolidate and warm up immediately prior to you Progressive Class. Our class schedules and syllabus are carefully designed to facilitate this.
The Technical Foundation Programme is also especially valuable if you have previously learned Tango using choreographed sequences and the Basic 8 approach, and who now want to develop your leading / following, to dance in a more expressive and improvising way. Not to mention the close embrace of the Salon style of Argentine Tango mentioned above.
The Progressive Programme
The Progressive Programme is an ongoing series of classes to help dancers with some experience to continue to improve.
The overall theme is “Creating your Dance”, and focuses on developing your own movement and style, connection with your partner and musical interpretation. We build on all the Foundation Skills – so you will need to be competent at these already. For example, in order to develop your Giros, it’s vital that you can already dance good Ochos. We therefore encourage you to use the Foundation class as a warm up to this class.
It’s pointless learning any new material unless you can remember it and use it in your dance. Using the Foundation elements as your base, we are very mindful how we add new material progressively, combining and integrating it with your existing repertoire so it’s there, available in your mind and your body when you want it.
Learning new steps is one thing. Learning how to lead / follow them is another. We teach both concurrently. Alongside the new content we continue to focus on connection, leading and following.
As your experience and understanding evolve you will develop more feel for the dance and more empathy with your Partner’s movement. As these things become more natural for you – so you don’t have to think quite as hard about what you are doing – you will have more time to focus on other aspects of the dance. We will help you relate more to the music, and develop good floorcraft, as by now you should be dancing socially at Milongas.
There is much more to learn than we can possibly cover in one season. As a result, each Progressive Programme will contain some core elements – for example the Giro & its variations – plus quite a lot that changes each time. It takes about a year to work through everything we want to include at this level, and most dancers will want to complete three Progressive Programmes to cover it all.
The Integration Programme
Intended for dancers who are already capable with the content of both the Technical Foundation and Progressive Programmes, the purpose of the Integration Programme is to help experienced dancers integrate their technique, movements, style, connection and musicality.
Although we will sometimes explore some of the more challenging repertoire, most of the step based material is covered in the Progressive Classes, leaving us free to focus on style, matching your dance to the music and further developing the subtle arts of connection and communication to create a ‘dance conversation’ with your Partner. We will encourage you to move beyond thinking about steps as the main structure of your dance, shifting our attention to the upper body to develop the key skills of improvisation. Some of this will involve exploring new options for linking individual elements, but rhythmic variation, “playfulness” and adapting to different musical styles will also be key features.
At this level it is probable that you are dancing Tango more than once a week and that you also dance socially.
We would be delighted to welcome suitable dancers to join us – please contact us if you feel this class is for you.