Tango Cheltenham

Dancing Argentine Tango in the Cheltenham area

Frequently Asked Questions


  • When did your current series of classes start?

    Our classes run on Tuesdays. Check our front page to see when our latest set of classes started. You may join in at any time. Please check our calendar for more dates.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • When does your next series of classes start?

    Our classes run on Tuesdays. Check our front page to see when our next set of classes starts. Please check our calendar for more dates.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • Do I have to sign up for a series of classes?

    No! You attend as an when you wish and only pay when you attend. There is no joining fee. It will be advantageous to you to try and attend regularly from the first week, especially as a beginner. However, if you start late or miss the odd class, we will soon get you up to speed.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • Does it matter that I have missed the first few classes?

    No. While it is clearly an advantage to attend every class, especially as a beginner, we find that most people are able to catch up pretty well. We start our beginner course three times a year, but accept newcomers at any time.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • Does it matter if I can't get to the class every week?

    No. Your rate of progress is clearly going to be dependent upon many factors. Some people progress very quickly with very few lessons and some do so more slowly. For both the beginner series and the improver series, their is a syllabus which builds on prior knowledge, so attending every week is definitely an advantage. However, if you miss a week here and there, you will always be able to catch up.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • How much does it cost?

    Not a lot! At our weekly Tuesday classes, we charge only £5 for one class or £7 for two. Check our classes page for all the latest prices.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • Is there a joining fee?

    No. You only pay for classes you attend. You do not have to enrol or commit yourself to a certain number of classes. We believe in keeping prices as low as possible and keeping things as flexible as possible for you.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • Do I need special shoes?

    You should wear shoes which you will find comfortable for an hour. They should have smooth soles. Rubber soles such as those found on trainers can make dancing more difficult. Women may wear a heel, but as a beginner you will find it easier if your heel is not too high. Your shoes should allow you to point your toes so boots above your ankle may not be suitable.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • Do I need special clothes?

    Just wear clothes in which you feel comfortable and which allow you to move freely. There is no particular dress code for classes. At milongas, most people tend to dress more smartly.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • Do I need to bring a partner?

    No. In most tango clubs there tend to be more women than men, so if you are a woman and you do have a male friend to bring it might be helpful, but it is not essential. At social events, we usually dance with lots of different partners, so during classes, we regularly swap partners to make sure we are able to dance with everyone.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • Does it matter how old I am?

    No. We have a wide range of ages in the club. If you are old enough to walk (or young enough to walk for that matter) you can do tango. We generally see ourselves as an adult club, but if you are under 18 and are interested, please contact us and we will see what we can arrange.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • How do I get there?

    We use several different venues. Our classes and some workshops are at St. Mark's School, our milongas are at the Bayshill Unitarian Church and our new directions page. We also have a Google Map showing all three.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • Where can I find tango music?

    Most of the high street music stores have a small selection of tango in their World Music section. There is also now a huge range of music available on the internet or through itunes. If you need any further advice, come along and ask at the club. Some of us have quite extensive collections of music and can point you in the right direction.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • Where can I buy dance shoes?

    Once you have been dancing for a while, you may wish to buy special dance shoes (men and women). These are available at most dance shops or through the internet. Once you start on the milonga (social dancing) circuit, you will also often find people selling dresses and shoes.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • Do I need previous dance experience?

    Definitely not! You are coming for dance lessons, so we will teach you how to dance. Most of our members have probably never done much dancing before (especially the men). If you have done some ballroom or salsa or jive before, you will no doubt find some similarities, but we will teach you the structure of tango from scratch anyway since it has a style all of its own.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • Do you have any social events?

    Yes! We have a milonga (i.e. social dance) every couple of months and, from 2015 there will be the Cheltenham International Tango Festival in the summer. We also travel to neighbouring clubs to dance, often organising for a group of us to go together. Once you get the hang of it all, you will find somewhere you can go dancing every weekend - sometimes even more than once in the same weekend!! There are also places within easy reach for either classes or social dances on several days of the week. Why not have a look at our calendar to see what we have going on and our clubs page to investigate what is going on elsewhere?

    -- Back to the questions --
  • When can I move up to the improver or intermediate class?

    We run a 10 or 12 week beginner cycle which gives you the basics of the dance including how to lead and follow, the embrace and the steps which you are allowed to do. The improver cycle assumes this basic knowledge, so even if you have done some other dancing before, you will probably find it useful to attend the beginner cycle first. For example, the embrace differs to ballroom and salsa as do the steps.

    We also run a 10 or 12 week improver cycle concurrently with the beginner classes. The improver classes assume a basic understanding of the material covered in the beginner class. We will certainly be recapping some of the beginner material, but we also look at it in more depth. We will not generally be expecting to have to teach material from the beginner series from scratch. We therefore suggest that all newcomers to tango start in the beginner class even if they are not new to dancing.

    Once you have completed the beginner cycle, it is usual to move onto the improver cycle for the next term, but we would always ask that you wait until we have discussed this with you rather than making the decision for yourself. We simply wish to avoid the situation where your knowledge is incomplete or you are not quite able to do some of the required materials in the improver class. This is awkward for you, frustrating for the others in the class and time-consuming for the teachers. If you are in doubt, please ask.

    For those more experienced dancers who are new to tango, we may suggest that you move up to the improvers early, but please don't be offended if we ask you to wait until you have learned a minimum amount in the beginner classes. We have worked with people before who have done other types of dance, but who find the freestyle nature of tango takes some learning and practice.

    -- Back to the questions --
  • How do I know what level I am? / I am coming from classes at another club. How do I know which of your classes to attend?

    This is always the most difficult question to answer. It is always difficult to define what level a dancer is. At Tango Cheltenham we try to avoid setting time limits such as "you will be an intermediate after a year" because we know very well that some people will learn more quickly than others. Since we actively encourage people to attend classes at other clubs as well as ours, some people will dance far more in one year than others.

    Instead, we give a rough guide as follows:

    • Beginners: You will have danced little or no Argentine Tango before. You may have danced another form of dance and may even have danced Argentine Tango in the ballroom paradigm (which is very different). Within our own club, the beginner cycle takes a full term of between 10 and 14 weeks. You will therefore have probably danced tango fewer times than this. You do not need any prior knowledge and will probably have only limited understanding of the terminology of the dance.
    • Improvers: You will have either atended our beginner cycle or done something similar elsewhere. You will probably know how to dance the basico (basic 8), a cunita, ocho and ocho atras. You have possibly not yet encountered the giro, the ocho cortada, ganchos or boleos. You will be able to do some sequences of steps without needing a step-by-step break down. You probably can do the steps, but have not yet fully understood the concept of how the lead and follow works, how the dance is constructed or how the music works. You will be working towards a correct tango walk, but not yet have achieved it (do we ever?). You will have a desire to understand all of these in more depth so that you can start to apply them to more complex patterns of steps. You may have been an improver for some time, but feel you are not yet ready to move onto intermediates. You probably have a basic knowledge of milonga, but probably not much experience of vals.
    • Intermediates: You will have generally been dancing for a little longer and will be able to dance a giro, sacadas, gancho and boleo even if you are not yet accomplished at them. You will have danced a sandwich, a barrida and an ocho cortada. By now, you will have attended several milongas and understand reasonably well the code of the dance floor. You may well have attended several classes at other clubs (we recommend that you do) and will be able to pick up new steps from the teachers with less guidance than a beginner or improver. For simple structures, you will be able to pick them up simply by watching a demonstration. Your knowledge of leading and following will be sufficient to lead or follow more complex steps. You will know much of the terminology used in tango and have some feel for how the music works. You will know how to join together various sequences of steps. You will probably have a good knowledge of simple milonga and some experience of the vals. Since our improver class and intermediate class are on at different times in the evening, you may find that you wish to attend both. If in doubt, please use our enquiries page or come along and have a chat.

    If you have learned at a different club and learned something different instead of these, please either send us an enquiry or come along and have a chat. We have a reputation as a very friendly club and will always work out what is best for you.

    -- Back to the questions --