Every woman might have passed this experience. You sit in a milonga , you don’t know anybody , you have just started with tango and don’t know how this all works . In the end you go home, not dancing at all or maybe 1 tanda, that was all. You are quite frustrated and therefore you ask yourself or your tango teacher how to climb up the social ladder in argentine tango community, that you can get more or even better dances.
Before I can give you some suggestions how to proceed through the jungle of tango, I will give you an idea how, more or less, an argentine tango community is structured. To better understand you may think of a pyramid devided in 4 parts.
The structure in an argentine tango community.
1. the beginner level – social dancer low level
Here are those dancers, who just started or have learned a bit, just enough to feel comfortable to go to a milonga.
Without having any ambition to develop further, they have found what they were looking fore. Socializing, dating, drinking and having fun with a little bit of tango dancing.
Dancing is just a means for the purpose.
They represent the group of the lowest level social dancer in an argentine tango community.
Some beginners will not be satisfied with their tango education. They will keep going further, taking more classes. Those will finally represent a medium level.
2. the medium level in a tango community.
They, as well, get their spirit for tango mainly from the social aspect.
But at least they have shown some interest to evolve in tango.
It is nice to dance with them, they have usually a nice embrace and a well developed basic understanding of the music .
From this group again, some will stuck there for ever, others will develop further into
3. the advanced social dancers and tango teacher level.
The advanced dancers are quite ambitious and passionate about tango. They usually research a lot about everythig tango related.
They go to Milonga mainly for dancing on a high level.
Social aspects sometimes are less important and their ambitions are strong.
Their behaviour sometimes appear to be selfish and arrogant, maybe because they take tango quite serious.
While a part of them chose just to be social dancers, enjoying their skills on a high level, going from one Marathon to the next, traveling tango and living tango to the fullest, others develop into teachers. They have spent lot of time and money to develop their skills and after some years they are ready to choose to be a teacher themselves, if they should have that calling.
4. level are the argentine tango teachers, the maestros and maestras.
The argentineans are at the top level of the social ladder in tango.
Unreachable for the rest in a argentine tango community. We owe them respect as it is their culture. We should never forget, that we borrow their culture, or have adopted part of their culture into our’s. But the real tango is always with them.
I would like to recall my fellow dancers to always come back to the original as we have the tendency to drift away from the original.
If it is your intention to have your own interpretation of tango , this is totally fine, but please do not call it “argentine tango” .
If we want to dance argentine tango it is our responsibility to respect the argentine interpretation, their codigos.
Using the label argentine Tango obliges us to authenticity.
Argentine culture is underlayed in the dance, culture you are born into, you soak culture from living culture from childhood. Culture cannot be learned rapidly.Culture develops with time.
If you have the opportunity to take classes from great argentine masters, I highly recommend to do so. Even you think it will not bring you much advantage to learn from someone you hardly know and who will be gone again shortly. It is your chance to see and feel authentic tango. Take that chance always.
There is a dark side of tango.
Pretending people who are using unauthorized tango for their purposes, people who behave badly. These people you will find in any community , also in tango . Just recocknize them and put them on the side, do not bother .
In the center part of the pyramid are all the teachers. Almost everybody is a tango teacher. From top to bottom you can find them in all levels.
If you are a beginner , be careful who is offering you classes. Look closely, ask other people if certain teachers have reputation as a good teacher.
Some men can dance and lead you well but they do not have qualification to teach, they do not know and cannot transmit the follower role , to be on the save side go to the established tango shools in any argentine tango community and take classes there.
Definitely it is not recommandable to take low level teachers , you will just waist your time and money.
How to climb up the social ladder in argentine tango?
My advise for beginner ladies who are ambitioned to evovle in tango and not only looking for social contacts: The secret is tango education.
Like in real life, social rise comes with education. Climb up the social ladder in argentine tango with tango education.
If you don’t go to school you will stuck in your social class, bad job. less money ….
A friend of mine once mentioned to me: “A Milonga is capitalism pure” and he is damned right with this.
- go to group classes
- go to Milongas, try to dance with everybody you can dance .
- take a private teacher, for private classes and milongas.
- Take ladies technique classes.
- Learn from argentine masters from time to time.
First thing to do if you want to learn tango, is to find a school where you can learn on a regular base.
A well established shool is the savest, or any other teacher with good reputation.
I do not recommend to learn from some friends, who offer you to teach you the basics.
You will waste your time , eventually money and probably get frustrated on top.
Go to milongas from the beginning. Try to dance with everytbody who invites you.
Make your very own experiences . Learn to acept , reject and invite actively by cabeceo. From the beginning get used to the invitation by cabeceo.
You learn to accept the invitation if you like. If you do not like to dance with a man , for what reason ever, you can reject. It is not your obligatin to dance with everybody, it is your choice. Learn to accept and reject.
And learn to actively invite by cabeceo.
Never invite verbally, it is just not elegant , it has no style.
3. private tango teacher
Most effective way to learn is in private lessons of course.
But this should never be the exclusive approach to tango .
Learning is best from many different aspects, different point of views and different emphasises. It is a little expensive but it will pay of for sure.
Buy less tango cloth and invest more in a tango teacher.
Choose carefully the right teacher and if possible stick at least 1 year with him.
Absorbe from one main source first, until you really can dance well.
It is important to have a very good lead that you can feel how it is to dance tango.
In response to your lessons, the teacher will dance in the milongas with you, you will have the chance to dance some tandas well and you will understand the difference to normal social dancers.
Later the teacher will bring you to milongas with higher dance level , that you will get to dance with better dancers.
4. Ladies technique classes.
If possible take regular ladies technique classes to complete your tango education. Here you will learn to balance your axis and walk well in your high heels.
You will learn the ladies techniques and decorations.
Leaders will make you a good follower but a lady tango teacher will transform you into an elegant dancer.
5. Argentine masters
Last but not least take classes with argentine masters , when they are in your city. It is an important part in your tango education, to understand their point of view, how they interprete the music and how they move. It is a very differnet approach and important to lunderstand.
But be careful as well to chose your teacher.
Not all who have an argentine passport are maestros. There are many no names, trying to make a fortune in Europe , teaching tango just because they are argentines.
Enjoy the ride is our aim. Have fun always while climbing up the social ladder in argentine tango.