Having taken dance classes when I was younger, I’ve been longing to get back into the rhythm, but haven’t wanted to commit myself to the cost of weekly lessons.
Then I discovered an affordable option I can swing: Tango Colorado’s classes in Argentine tango, which cost $10 for a single class and a practice session, or $32 for a four-week pass.
Here are some tips for making the most out of this deal:
The scene: Classes are offered from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Denver Turnverein (1570 Clarkson St.), which houses a 5,000-square-foot ballroom with a hardwood dance floor. Expect to mingle with about 20 or 30 people of all ages during the class. Casual dress is fine as long as it’s comfortable, just make sure you’re wearing shoes that will pivot easily on the floor. Rubber-soled shoes won’t work. Pick a pair with a slick sole so you won’t tweak a knee or ankle.
The lesson: There are two classes to choose from, “Beginners” and “Beyond Beginners,” which are offered simultaneously. If you’re a true newbie, it’s best to start with Beginners and advance later. You don’t have to come with a partner, but expect to get up close and personal with whomever you dance with, because the Argentine tango is all about the embrace. The fundamentals focus on connecting with your partner so you can learn to synchronize your steps, and from there you’ll get the basics on the walk, balance, and how to put it all together.
The music: Of course, learning to tango would be nothing without the music that accompanies it. During the classes you’ll glide along to a DJ’s selection of grand-orchestra recordings that feature complicated Argentine tango music from the 1930s and ’40s. At tonight’s class, DJ Dave Schmitz will choose the polyphonic tunes to set the mood.
The follow-up: After your lesson, take part in the following practice session (included in the price), called a practica. During this time, 80 to 100 members of the local tango community–all at different skill levels–come together to hone their skills. One side of the dance floor is for the serious dancers, but the other is for more informal, social dancing. Hosts will be on hand to dance with you, so if you stick it out until 10:30, when the practica ends, you’ll have four hours of dance rehearsal under your belt.