CORE CURRICULUM

Tango Initiation: Beginner 6 week series

Learn about balance, posture and technique for tango movement, and the unique mindset of each role.  In this series you will receive basic musical education and an introduction to improvising with a partner.  Class vocabulary includes the tango “walk”, cunitas (rock steps), the follower's cross, back ochos, basic navigational tools and introductory level adornments.  Participation includes a chaperoned field trip to a local practica with your classmates and instructor to check out the local tango scene!  No prior tango experience required.

Tango Initiation: Beginner weekend BOOT CAMP

This course covers material from the Tango Initiation curriculum condensed into one fun weekend of two 3-hour sessions.  This course is a great way to dive in and get really immersed in tango.  People often choose to take it in conjunction with the 6 week series for accelerated learning and integration.  No prior tango experience required. 

Tango Essentials (Cross System): Advanced Beginner 6 week series

There are three aspects to the Tango Essentials cross system series: 1. How to improvise with traditional tango sequences considered essential for the social dance floor in cross foot system.  2. The codes, customs and etiquette of “the milonga” (an Argentine tango social dance). 3. Tips for becoming part of a caring tango community.  In this course you will learn how to transition from the classroom to the real-life experience of social dancing at the milonga.  Questions like “how do I invite someone to dance?” or “what kind of shoes do I need?” all get answered in Tango Essentials.  Participation in this series includes a chaperoned field trip to a local milonga with your classmates to support you in making this exciting leap!  Completion of the Tango Initiation curriculum is a prerequisite OR at least 6 months of tango classes taken elsewhere. Tango Essentials Parallel and Cross system are non sequential which means they may be taken in either order.

Tango Essentials (Parallel System): Advanced Beginner 6 week series

There are three aspects to the Tango Essentials parallel system series: 1. How to improvise with traditional tango sequences considered essential for the social dance floor in parallel foot system.  2. The codes, customs and etiquette of “the milonga” (an Argentine tango social dance). 3. Tips for becoming part of a caring tango community.  In this course you will learn how to transition from the classroom to the real-life experience of social dancing at the milonga.  Questions like “how do I invite someone to dance?” or “what kind of shoes do I need?” all get answered in Tango Essentials.  Participation in this series includes a chaperoned field trip to a local milonga with your classmates to support you in making this exciting leap!  Completion of the Tango Initiation curriculum is a prerequisite OR at least 6 months of tango classes taken elsewhere. Tango Essentials parallel and cross system are non sequential which means they may be taken in either order.

Milonga & Vals: Advanced Beginner 6 week series

A 6 week series designed to introduce you to the two other genres of tango music that we dance to on the social dance floor: The fun and upbeat "milonga" and the flowing and light hearted "vals". Four weeks are spent on milonga and two weeks are spent on vals. This series is great for people new to milonga and vals, or those who want to develop more confidence and/or build on existing knowledge. 

Tango Improvisation: Intermediate 6 week series

There are three aspects to this series:  1. The cultivation of curiosity and creativity.  2. Mastering the fundamentals of navigation.  3. Empowerment through developing skills of flexibility and spontaneity.  This series is about understanding the architecture or “building blocks” of tango through steps, pivots and the underlying structure of the grapevine.  Learn how to change course in any moment, work with asymmetry, and invent your own combinations by assembling the building blocks of tango in endless creative ways.  This series is both illuminating and fun for leaders and followers alike, and will teach you how to adapt to an ever-changing configuration in the both the tango embrace and the crowded dance floors of the milongas.  Completion of the entire Tango Essentials curriculum is preferred or 1 year of social dancing experience.  

Tango Elements: Intermediate drop-in class

These classes introduce new skills, one at a time.  Learn how to build classic elements such as boleos, ganchos, sacadas, paradas and barridas into the foundational structure you are already familiar with.  Each month covers a different subject.  2 years of social dance experience is recommended. 

Tango Artistry: Advanced drop-in class

There are three aspects to the advanced level classes.  1. Exploring beautiful and challenging combinations of tango vocabulary.  2. Concepts such as back sacadas, off axis material (volcadas and colgadas) and follower’s sacadas, all taught with the social dance floor in mind.  3. Deepening the expression of your dance so that your personal style can emerge through advanced musicality by delving into different layers of the music and the use of complex musical adornments.  *Please note* to attend one of these classes you must come with a partner. 

Tango drills (All levels)

Develop understanding, awareness and control of your body.  Train muscle memory and tone for tango movement and rhythmic variations. 


SPECIAL CLASSES

Tango Taster (complete beginner)

For the curious and cautious!  Get a taste of Argentine tango without committing to one of our Tango Initiation courses.  The Tango Taster classes are drop-in based so you can just show up.  Come alone, come with your significant other, or come with friends.  We rotate partners so no need to bring one, but staying with a partner is also welcome.  No dance experience required!  Left feet welcome!  Our weekly social dance at the 18th Street Lounge follows this single, one-hour class.

Mercurio Music Sessions (all levels)

The Mercurio Music Sessions explore the deep rhythmic foundations of tango music.  Learn to think like musicians by discovering the concepts and language that musicians use when they play.  Understand what you are hearing and dancing to and thereby broaden and refine your musicality on the dance floor.  The Mercurio Music Sessions are taught by Brett Lemley, the Director of the Tango Mercurio Community Orchestra and Music Program manager.

Leading Ladies (advanced beginner or above)

For women who want to explore the leading role.  One of the best ways to understand what the leaders need from you is to try leading! Learning to lead deepens a woman's relationship to the music and taps her gifts of assertiveness; decision-making, spatial awareness and more.  These discoveries can be incorporated back into a woman’s following, or simply enjoyed for their own sake.  Many women find that knowing the leading role gives them more choices and freedom in the milonga.

Men's Following (intermediate or above)

For men who want to explore the following role.  Legend has it that at one time, men were only allowed to dance with each other, at the men’s practicas of Buenos Aires, until they were skilled enough to go to the milongas and dance with women.  Men who study the following role possess a greater awareness of their partner’s experience and adapt more readily to her movement and unique musical responses.

Guest Instructor Workshops

At Tango Mercurio we are committed to the on-going development of our teaching faculty and the level and quality of dancing in the DC community.  For this reason we host classes and workshops with national and international guest instructors, in an effort to continue raising the standard of tango dancing in DC.  See our Guest Instructor page for more information.

The Anti-Social Track (advanced)

Learn material that is not appropriate for the social dance floor, such as soltadas, jumps, and lifts!  The anti-social track is the recommended performance training for those partaking in our annual choreographed tango show, or for those who simply want to enjoy exploring tango beyond its social aspect.

Teacher Training

Limited spots are available on an annual basis for teacher training.  Applications must be approved by Tango Mercurio’s Artistic Director. 

With the exception of Advanced level classes which you must attend with a partner, we rotate partners in all of our classes but staying with your own partner is also welcome.