SLO Tango

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the etiquette for workshops, classes, practicas, and milongas?

In workshops and classes, an occasional comment to a fellow student can sometimes be helpful, but out of courtesy, please let the instructors do the teaching. Also, when the instructor(s) are demonstrating, do not crowd in to get a better view. If everyone steps back, enlarging the circle, then everyone can have a front row view. So in a class, just as when you are dancing, be aware and respective of those around you.

A practica (practice session) is an opportunity to work on the things you have picked up in class. This is the time to help each other, and learn from each other.

At a milonga (dance party), it's time to really make use of all the things you've been working on in the practicas and classes; it's time to enjoy the music, dancing, and surrender to each other. However, it's not a practica, so it's not appropriate to be critiquing or teaching. Leaders, keep in mind that your goal is to give a pleasurable experience to your partner and showcase her. So don't try to force her to dance beyond her abilities. Simply follow the line of dance, respect those around you, and enjoy the time together.

In truth, I felt a bit shy about coming to the "practica" alone. Any tips on how not to?

Granted, giving yourself up to a stranger and "hugging" them even for a few minutes at a time can be a very challenging thing to do at first -- especially in our culture with our big American personal spaces and self-sufficient / self-centered mindsets. But, this surrendering of ourselves (required of both leader and follower) to our partner becomes greatly rewarding. Tango comes from another culture.

The practica and classes are safe environments to get to know each other (and ourselves). Think of our community as being in another culture where we trust and respect each other, and can share our personal space. We are a very friendly group. Come, get to know us, then you won't feel shy anymore! :-)

What kind of shoes should I wear?

When dancing on wood floors, suede soles are the best because they offer an optimum amount of friction to make pivoting easy but still give enough control to keep from slipping and falling. However, they do require brushing to keep them clean and can't handle water otherwise they loose their advantage over plain leather. A plain leather sole is a close second (but can be quite slippery on some floors) plus it works well on brick and concrete floors.

Avoid slip-ons, sandals, and thongs! Rubber sole tennis shoes and the like make it very hard to pivot on most surfaces, but they do work well on packed dirt.

So, where can I buy dance shoes?

Locally, the Dance Shop in downtown SLO on Morro Street has a small selection, and is supportive of our tango community. At the big Tango Workshops, there are shoe vendors with many great choices.

Norm relates his expierence with a mail-order firm: I got a great pair of shoes from Toe To Toe Dance Shoes ( They were very helpful on the phone. The shoes I bought (Celebrity brand name) were not cheep, but they are the first pair I ever owned that did not hurt my feet after many hours of dancing.

Where's a good place to buy "Tango Stuff" -- CDs, Instruction Videos, Movies, etc.?

Locally, good CDs and DVDs have been found at both Boo Boo Records and Cheap Thrills. On-Line, one of the most complete sites is The Tango Catalogue, but Amazon may have some good deals too.

Any recomendations for CDs to purchase?

There is not a very big market for tango music, so I really encourage people to support musicians and their recording companies by purchasing CDs thus encouraging the production of more great dance music. Here's a list of some of my favorites:

What songs were on that fun CD Rich made in July, 2004?

TangoCD 040707
Time Title Artist Album
1. 4:17 Tango Till Far* Los Peregrinos Los Peregrinos
2. 2:07 Tango Remembrances (shortened) Yo-Yo Ma(97) Piazzolla(87) Soul of the Tango
3. 2:37 Tango Lunaire Lalo Schifrin Tango Soundtrack
4. 3:13 Vuelvo al Sur (shortened) Gotan Project La Revancha del Tango
5. 4:28 Epoca Gotan Project La Revancha del Tango
6. 3:21 El Capitalismo Foraneo (shortened) Gotan Project La Revancha del Tango
7. 3:52 Forma Luciano Supervielle BajoFondo Tango Club
8. 4:05 En Mi/Soledad Campo BajoFondo Tango Club
9. 3:35 Montserrat (shortened) Orquesta del Plata BajoFondo Tango Club
10. 5:15 Queremos Paz Gotan Project La Revancha del Tango
11. 4:11 Una Musica Brutal Gotan Project La Revancha del Tango
12. 3:07 Refleco de Luna* (shortened) Alacran Ultimate Lounge or Yin Yang Room
13. 3:06 While My Guitar Gently Weeps* (shortened)
14. 4:44 El Tango de Roxanne Ewan McGregor, etc. & Sting Moulin Rouge Soundtrack
15. 6:31 Hotel California Eagles Hotel California
16. 3:31 Santa Maria (del buen ayre) (shortened) Gotan Project La Revancha del Tango
17. 2:51 Duro y Parejo (shortened) Moviola BajoFondo Tango Club
18. 3:34 El Sonido de la Milonga (shortened) Campo BajoFondo Tango Club
19. 3:46 Tango Negro* Juan Carlos Caceres
20. 2:00 La Cumparsita Various Artists Tango Soundtrack
  * Songs not found on iTunes Music Store as of 7/20/04. All others available for download.

Any more tango questions? Please contact Rich Howe, (805) 783-0569.

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Last updated: September 23, 2004; Created: February 23, 2004. Copyright © 2004.