BPATS |Resources FAQ

Argentine Tango is an intimate and elegant dance, adherence to the following guidelines
of dance protocol and etiquette, can help to maximize your dance experience and a better understanding of Tango.

Tango Terms Faq.


General Faq

General Questions

What is Tango?

Tango is both a genre of music and dance invented at the turn of the century in Buenos Aires
and Montevideo. It is the product of a cultural melting pot involving immigrants from Eastern
Europe, Africa, South America, Italy, Germany.

Unlike other dance, Tango is a social and improvisational dance which relies on the couple's
intense awareness of each other's movements and energy which allows them to create complex
movements in unison to the music.

What is the origin of Tango?

Tango is the history of the immigrants who populates the city of Buenos Aires and Montevideo
towards the end of 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century .Between 1865 and 1914
the population of BA swell from 150,000 to 1.5 million. The immigrants came from Europe,
mostly from Italy and settled in the slums, tenements and red light districts.

This later gave rise to a unique musical fusion, the Black African population gave Tango the
vibrant rhythm and the close proximity of the bodies in the dance ,the Jewish settlers added
the violin, German immigrants brought the Bandoneon (the unmistaken sound of tango) the
Italians provided the haunting melody of Sicily, the Spanish added a heady mix of mournful
and joyful intensity of Andalusia Tango.

How do I get started, I am an absolute beginner with no dance experience?

First Step into Tango - We would recommend taking advantage of our FREE Absolute Beginner
Tango Taster Workshop
to find out if tango is for you. More details here

I've danced tango before. Which class should I take??

Take the beginner's class first and decide if you want to move up.

What kind of shoes do I need?

When you are first starting out in tango, you don't need dancing shoes but we would recommend
Dress or dance shoes that are comfortable and flexible with leather, suede or smooth material
soles, this will help when turning. Women can bring high heeled shoes or other shoes that are
comfortable but also with leather soles or smooth materials.

As you progress, you may want to consider purchasing dance shoes that are specifically made
to be both stylish and able to handle the rigors of frequent dancing.

If you are planning on dancing at a milonga or workshop for many hours, consider bringing
another pair of shoes to change into later. Changing shoes can alleviate or prevent foot
problems caused by persistent pressure or irritation from the shoes by distributing the
pressure on your feet.

What should I wear and what is the dress code?

Tango is an elegant dance and it is a courtesy to your partners to dress nicely. For classes and
practicas, simple, casual and comfortable clothes are more than adequate, this includes skirts,
dresses, trousers, t-shirts and blouses. Social dances tends to be smarter and requires a higher
level of dress than casual, for ladies this might includes shirts, skirts, blouses,dresses. For men,
while ties, jackets, are not required, but they do look good, and are worn by probably 20-40% of
the men in attendance. Tango is meant to be sexy, elegant and sophisticated so dress to impress.

Do I have to bring a partner?

No, you do not have to bring a partner. The majority of classes, workshops and social events are
attended by a mix of singles and couples. We rotate partners frequently to ensure that people are
not left sitting out. Occasionally, we may hold an event/workshop in which a partner is required or
encouraged, and for those events we will explicitly say so.

Is Tango Difficult to learn?

Argentine Tango is not a difficult dance to learn but it is not easy. Tango requires effort and
patience and the willingness to learn. But the rewards are immense.It offers a connection
with another human being on a therapeutic level that is mutually satisfying without messy
emotional entanglements.

Any other personal issues I should know?

When dancing in close proximity as tango requires its essential to maintain a high degree of
personal hygiene. To avoid a potentially embarrassing situation, we would recommend, taking
a shower before going out dancing, use a deodorant and, if you required, an effective anti-perspirant.

Use aftershave/perfume sparingly as some people are sensitive and allergic. Avoid eating garlic
and spicy foods before going dancing. If perspiration is a problem, bring extra tops and spare
shirts and change during the evening.

What is the difference between Close-embrace and Open-embrace?

There are several styles of Argentine tango, these can be in open or close-embrace.
In the close-embrace there is frequently contact between the upper bodies (chests)
of the dancers.And in open-embrace there is a variety of of different holds/contact
points. If a participant does not feel comfortable with the degree of physical contact
he/she is not obliged to use that style.
The person may express to their dance partner that they would like to dance in a more
open-embrace style, or may choose not to dance with that particular person. It is usually
customary to allow the follow to determine the level of contact.

What do I have to do to get a dance?

To get invited, it helps to show that you want to dance. Try staying fairly close to the dance
floor and look around at potential dance partners. Some of them may be trying to invite you
or you may decide to invite them with a cabeceo. Remember to keep smiling or people
may think you don't want to dance.

What is Tango Milonguero/Tango Salon?

Milonguero Style refer to the style of dancing in a very close embrace; also referred to as
confiteria style, club style, apilado style, etc. Usually used in the very crowded clubs
frequented by singles in the center of Buenos Aires. Milonguero Style is danced in a very
close embrace with full upper body contact, the partners leaning into each other (but never
hanging on each other) while using simple walking and turning steps. This style relies on
music of the more rhythmic type as characterized by orquestas like those of D'Arienzo or Tanturi.

What is Tango Fantasia (Show/Stage Tango)?

Tango Fantasia is show or stage tango performed by very skilled professional show dancers,
an exaggerated, athletic and choreographed version of Argentine Tango which is designed to
entertain a paying audience on a stage.

What is Nuevo Tango ?

Nuevo Tango is a cross between Tango Milonguero/Tango Salon and Tango Fantasia (Show/Stage Tango).
Nuevo Tango allows for larger movements using both open and close embrace in contrast to the preferred
close embrace, smaller steps movement and close contact employed in Tango Milonguero.

What is Milonguero and Milonguera?

Milonguero and Milonguera refers to men and women who attends milongas,
and whose life revolve around tango dance and philosophy.

Milonga Social Etiquette Faq.

Milonga Floorcract Etiquette

What is dance floor etiquette?

At milongas, dancers move in a counter-clockwise (line of dance) direction around the dance floor.
It is important to be aware of the other couples, especially when the floor is crowded, so that
the risk of collisions and injury is as low as possible.

What are rules of dancing in a crowded milonga?

Try to dance according to the conditions of the dance floor. On a crowded floor, its dangerous to carry
out wild moves such as ganchos and high boleos .Leaders should always consider the available space
and the distance to other couples before leading such moves.
(1) Stick to the lanes that progress around the room;
(2) Zig-zagging around the middle
(3) Maintain Smaller 2-3 step sequences and rock-steps
(4) Moderate strides and cautious boleos

What are the Floorcraft Rules at Practicas?

Most of the floorcraft rules for a milonga are suspended at a practica. The line-of-dance generally
does not exist and you can stop and chat in the middle of the flow. However some rules still apply:

What is a Line of Dance?

The tango, like most traveling dances, has a line of dance. It traverses the perimeter
of the dance floor and moves counter-clockwise. When the leader is facing the line of
dance, the leader's right is away from the center of the dance floor and the follower's
right is to the center of the dance floor. You always dance in the line of dance progressing
at the same pace as everybody else in your lane.

What is a Lane of Dance?

The lane of dance is formed by a number of couples moving along the line of dance in a big
circle. There can be 2-3 such concentric circles (lanes) on the floor. Follow the line of dance,
Stay in your lane of dance and avoid cutting across lanes.

What is a Ronda?

The literal translation of ronda is round. A nice ronda forms on the dance floor when all
the dancers stick to their lane of dance and move in the line of dance.

Tango Social Etiquette Faq.

Social Etiquette

What is Tango Social Code of Conduct?

The rule of the dance is complex and takes years to master but there are a number
of other rules that apply to the dance halls or milongas, for example, a man never walks
up to a woman and ask her to dance. He scans the room with his eyes and when a
woman is interested, she will look back and only when their eyes have met and the two
prospective dance partner have acknowledgement their consent by nodding slightly
will the man walk to the woman and ask her to dance. The code of tango is carefully
guided by the old milongueros. More details here.

How do I Invite and Accept a dance (La mirada and El Cabeceo)?

La Mirada" and "El Cabeceo" is the traditional method of inviting and accepting a dance in Argentina.
La Mirada is "the look," or "the stare," and can be done by either partner. Once eye contact is made,
El Cabeceo, "the nod" signals the request and is returned as the acceptance. More details here.

What is the convention if I come to a milonga wih my partner?

The accepted convention is to reserve the first and last tanda with your partner and anything in
between especially if you partner is not getting enough dance.
More importantly, try not to sit with them all the time or people may think you do not want to dance
with anyone else.

Music Faq.

Tango Music

What is a Milonga?

A milonga is genre of tango music, a fore runner of tango dance as well as a venue where
the dance is held. Milonga is the name of the place where people dance tango.

What is a Tanda?

A tanda is a collection of 3-4 songs, usually played by the same orchestra from a given era.
In a typical milonga, the music is played in tandas of tangos, valses and milongas.
Traditionally, people will dance the entire tanda with the same partner. Not finishing the tanda
with a partner is considered an insult in many places.
We play traditional music, mostly from the golden age.

What is a Cortina?

A cortina (translated curtains) is a short piece of non-tango music that is usually not danceable
to signal the end of the tanda.The cortina indicates that the tanda has come to a close.
It is also a cue for the gentleman to escort the lady to her table.

Why is it better to play music in tandas?

Argentine tango is about dancing a feeling, and each orchestra has its own feeling. Playing
the music in sets by orchestra gives the dancers the opportunity to find and then dance the
feeling of that particular orchestra. Also, it allows you to choose your partner to fit the music.
Dancing to a sequence in a set lets you get to know and appreciate the subtlety of the
lead/follow of your partner in your search for that special feeling.

What is Orquesta Típica?

A typical tango orchestra consist of four bandoneons, three violins, alto, violoncello, double bass,
and piano.

What kind of music do you play?

We play mostly traditional music from the Golden Age in our traditional milonga
and traditional music with Nuevo/Neo tango in our alternative milonga.

The main criteria is that the music is suitable for dancing.

Tango Terms Faq..

Terms Faq

What is collecting?

The term, “collecting” is often used to describe the closed position of the legs and feet during the
pivot. An expression that better represents the dynamics of the movement is “finishing the step.”
That is, allowing the free leg to join the vertical, weighted leg..

Membership Faq.

BPATS Membership

What is the make up of the society?

Bournemouth & Poole Argentine Tango Society is an active and friendly community that
always welcomes new members. We have dancers ranging in age from 18 to 75, married and
single, with and without regular dance partners. Our tango community is ethnically and culturally
diverse and includes people who have originated from many countries around the world.

Why become a member?

Bournemouth & Poole Argentine Tango Society (BPATS) members receive discounts on a wide range
of tango related lifestyle products and services which are endorsed and/or hosted by the Society,
including tuition, workshops, classes, social events and weekend tango break. More importantly,
you can vote, run for elections, amend the club constitution. Check out the many benefits of membership
and save up to £200 on right-of-membersh ip benefits alone.

Do I have to be a BPATS Member to take part in the society's social events and activities?

As a society we are keen to get as many people involved as possible, however it is possible
to attend all Society activities as a guest but will not but will not enjoy the discounts and
concessions offered to members.

If you simply want to attend a couple of workshops, or only occasionally attend Society activities
then this is a good option without having to pay the extra membership fee.

To help non-members get an idea of the society and how it is run we invite you to join us as a guest
for two months without paying, but after that you must pay the annual membership fee to continue to
participate and enjoy the concessions and discounts on all our events.

What subscriptions are available to members?

Membership of Bournemouth & Poole Argentine Tango Society entitles you to certain benefits
including voting privileges at membership meetings, discounts at some society sponsored events.
Membership fees help enable this website and help fund a host of society activities. More details

What do I get as a member?

Membership of Bournemouth & Poole Argentine Tango Society entitles you to certain benefits
including voting privileges at membership meetings, discounts at some society sponsored events.
Membership fees help enable this website and help fund a host of society activities. More details

What is the difference between members and guests?

BPATS Membership gives you access to all the society activities including:
concessions, discounts, extensive learning resources as well as content
that are added during your membership.

If you choose to be a guest of the society, you will be welcome to enjoy
and take part in the society's activities but will not enjoy the discount,
concessions enjoyed by members or take an active role in the running of the

In essence, membership helps you save money up front and in the future as
well being involved actively in the running of the society.