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Group Tango Classes with Tom Stermitz

Gauchos, not Ganchos

Wednesday Argentine Tango Classes in Denver

We offer Argentine Tango classes at the Denver Turnverein on Wednesdays. Class starts at 6:30, but if this is your first time with us or you want to warm up or focus on basic skills, come at 6:00. Each class presents tango technique and building blocks for navigation and interpreting the music. The 7:30 - 9:00 Intensive series rotates through various topics for dancing tango in a close embrace "the way tango is danced in Buenos Aires". (see monthly topics below). Each class provides an intensive two-hour intensive with practice time.

We have a good group hard-working leaders, but we could use additional followers. If you are new to our classes or want to warm up or practice the basics, come early at 6:00.

Wednesdays: Denver Turnverein, 1570 N Clarkson 

6:30 - 7:30: Beginner Tango
Topic: Fundamentals & Essentials - $45/4wks ($15 drop-in)

7:30 - 9:00: Intermediate Milonguero Tango.​​​​​​ (Close-embrace)
Topic: Monthly Topics (See below) $65/4wks ($20 drop-in)

Welcome to new dancers, and thanks to all the past students who have followed the class through our progressive Tango Curriculum. Below I provide a summary of the material we cover.

See the Rick McGarrey's Tango and Chaos website for extensive discussions regarding Milonguero Style tango, and the traditions of Argentine Tango in the Milongas of Buenos Aires.

Tango and Chaos - Rick McGarrey

In its broadest definition, a milonguero is anyone who goes to a milonga. Walk into a room in Denver where people are dancing tango, and you become a milonguero. So by that definition, the world is full of milongueros. There are millions. But we could narrow the field somewhat by defining a milonguero as someone who goes to the milongas every day, and who lives for tango to the exclusion of almost everything else. Someone for whom life without tango would be a meaningless vacuum. And also, someone whose absence from the milongas would change and diminish the tango world so much that it would never be the same. This strict definition narrows the field down quite a bit. In fact, it narrows it down to two: Alito and Tete. But up until last year, there was a third milonguero, who was even more “milonguero” than they are. In fact, he was a man who was something even rarer than a pure milonguero. He was a compadrito. [ Focus on Ricardo Vidort ]

Milonguero Curriculum:

Our curriculum is a progressive series of skill building and vocabulary (steps) for navigating the dance floor and interpreting the music. Each musical element can be learned separately and integrated into previously mastered material. This gives you a logical set of dance moves that doesn't depend on memorizing all of them. 

(1) Beginner material (Music, Lead-follow and Improvisation): 

 - 4-count Walks: Suspense and Acceleration. 
 - Dynamic Rhythms: the QQS “boom-ch-boom”, 
 - Dramatic Pause
 - Walk to the cross: Inline-cross; Weave to the cross; Weave to the "not-cross".
 - Mini Front Ochos at the Cross
 - Lead-follow and Improvisation
 - Navigation on the Dance Floor

(2) Adv-Beginner material:

 - Review of beginner material focusing on Rhythmic Drive
 - Cross-Basic and the “Compass Rose” pattern.
 - Back Ochos: Getting in and out, 4-Count Ocho Pattern 
 - Leader’s Rhythmic Counterpoint to Follower’s Ochos
 - Mix and Match all the above 4-Count patterns.

(3) Intermediate Material

 - "101 Ocho Cortado variations": Right, Check-to-the-Ocho, Left, and the mini Boleo)
 - Confident strides; heel leads
 - Stretchy-tummy, Floaty-legs: heels downward and "leading with the knee-pit"
 - Musicality and Rhythm
 - Navigation in The Corral

(4) Technique

 - Confident strides; heel leads
 - The Importance of the Spiral: Stretchy-tummy, Floaty-legs: heels downward and "leading with the knee-pit"
 - Warm-up walks and decorations
 - Executing weight-changes

(5) Milonga

 - Three fundamental steps: Step-step, inch, inch; 4-count ZigZag; 6-count Box
 - Leading a half beat ahead, at the “AND” moment.
 - Sashay/Chassé
 - Bathroom Plunger or Sand-paper feet
 - Pendulum legs and Lazy-Infinity Hips 
 - Hover-pivot
 - Milonga as the foundation of Tango

(6) Waltz

 - Waltz rhythm on the 1-2 or the 3-1
 - Apply waltz to typical vocabulary: Cross Basic, Ocho Cortados, Back Ochos
 - Apply waltz to hover-pivot

Wait! There’s more!:

(7) 101 Back Ochos

 - No-pivot Ochos
 - Mini-back Ochos with pivot
 - Pivoting back Ochos for navigating

(8) Advanced Topics

 - Milonguero Salida
 - U-ies and Volcadas
 - Milonguero Turn
 - Milonga Turn
 - Milonguero Alterations


Read up on the customs and history of tango in Buenos Aires at Rick McGarrey's website, Tango and Chaos.

Immerse yourself in the Golden Era tango music, such as the orchestras listed on my tango music for dancing page.


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