What is a Tango Holiday?
Article about tango holidays in general
How are tango holidays structured and how do they work?
“Tango is meditation and living for the moment”
When I take my none-dancing friends to a milonga to give them a small insight into the world of Tango, they inevitably see the fancy dancers first. The showmen and women of the dance. They never seem to notice the really good dancers who are moving sublimely to the music and taking in every moment.
Sometimes my male friends ask me how long it would take them to learn tango to a level where they could comfortably join in. When I lie to them, explaining that if they put in the effort maybe they could be dancing within 6 months, they always tell me that it’s far too much effort.
Of course, learning tango is a life’s work. No matter how much we learn, there’s always more that we need to know. To me it feels like the more work I put in and the more I learn, the more I become aware of how poor my dancing really is. I recently spoke to a leader who has been dancing tango passionately for the past 9 years in Berlin. He told me that he felt almost like a beginner again when he arrived in Buenos Aires recently.
We’ve all heard the quote “It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey”. I deeply believe that this quote sums up the adventure of taking up, embracing and dedicating yourself to tango.
Tango is far more than a dance
Think again if you think that tango is just a dance. It encompasses all of the following and more:
- Give and take
So what is a tango holiday?
The concept is very simple. Over a period of a week or maybe two, people get together somewhere nice to learn, practice and dance tango. It’s also the perfect time to discover a new destination and enjoy the sunshine, sea, culture or whatever the particular location has to offer.
Why not just learn at home?
Most people simply don’t have the time to learn tango at home during their daily routine. They are either working, looking after children or simply leading busy lives. Tango lessons are typically held late in the evening after work when it’s far more difficult to concentrate and take in new information. People are tired at night. In contrast, taking lessons in a holiday environment is much more relaxing. You can get up when you feel like it, have a relaxing breakfast and then make your way to the morning lessons. It’s simply amazing how much more easily, quickly and effectively you can learn after a good night’s sleep and an enjoyable breakfast.
Environment plays a huge part in learning to dance tango
When it comes to learning, practising and improving your Argentine tango, it’s easy to overlook the learning environment and forget just how important it is. It’s not so much what you learn, but where and how you learn it.
In April we held our first tango holiday in the south of Tenerife. Dancers with a range of experience came from Germany and the UK to join us. The energy was lovely; on both weeks we had two groups of happy and cheerful people who were ready and eager to learn and improve. Our teachers were Christiane & Constantin from Berlin, who brought their young son Viktor with them.
We were impressed by how quickly the group came together and the willingness of everyone to help each other. We were in a bright and light room that completely opened up into the warm sunshine of Tenerife. It played a significant role in the quality of the lessons. Each morning we also had a fifteen-minute break in the sunshine. Everyone enjoyed it.
But improving is also about dancing not just taking lessons. A tango holiday should also bolster your confidence and give you more tango courage. I remember clearly that the biggest challenge for me at the beginning was being able to pluck up enough courage to ask a different lady to dance. This must have been terrifying for me because I remember sweating uncontrollably during the entire duration of the dance. The only way to get rid of fear is to face it, and in tango, that means dancing with others. Tango holidays provide the ideal environment to practice what you’ve learnt and to dance with others.
In Tenerife we are very lucky because we have a vibrant tango community. In April we invited lots of local dancers at different levels to join us for our evening milongas. This worked extremely well with everyone mixing and having fun. Our final milonga took place in the golf club just a few minutes’ walk away where Christiane & Constantin also treated us to a show.
Tango holidays for couples
“It takes two to tango”. Achieving a balance between the number of men and women is a fundamental requirement of almost all tango holidays. Because Argentine tango requires two people to dance it (normally a man and a woman), the organizers of tango holidays insist on achieving a balance. Equal numbers ensure that the lessons, practice sessions and milongas all run smoothly with a positive energy.
Men and women often team up to make a couple just to enjoy the holiday and to learn. At Sunshine Tango we often get single women and men who have got together to come on a tango holiday.
Tango holidays are ideal for couples, married or otherwise. You can travel somewhere nice together and enjoy the destination by day and the dancing by night. It’s also a wonderful way to meet others, who are passionate and interested in tango. You get to share your passion and stories and make new friends.
How a tango holiday is structured
One of the main ingredients of a tango holiday is the lessons. These lessons normally take place in the morning or early afternoon and last two hours with a fifteen minute break. Lessons are taken together with the others on the holiday.
The teaching standard is very high. At Sunshine Tango for instance we invite professional teachers to fly to Tenerife to give and accompany the lessons. In April 2017 we invited Christiane & Constantin from Berlin. They were very professional, managing to create a nice relaxed atmosphere that was perfect for learning. Both Christiane and Constantin have a great sense of humor and use lots of analogies during their lessons.
We also change partners during the lessons, which is important. Dancing and practicing with others is important to prevent us getting to used to just one partner.
Because you are on holiday and have the time and the motivation, you might also feel the need for a private lesson. Most organizers of tango holidays provide those taking part with the opportunity to take private lessons. The price for private lessons varies depending on the teachers, but it’s an excellent way to work on bad habits or to learn something new about your dancing. Tip: don’t wait until the end of the tango holiday to ask for a private lesson. This is the time that everyone asks and the teachers’ timetable can quickly become full.
Evening Milongas and Practice Sessions
On a week’s tango holiday we have two practice sessions and seven evening milongas. One or both of the professional teachers are on hand during the practice session to help you with anything you are stuck on. You can also change partners during these sessions, which is helpful.
The evening milongas is one of the special things about Sunshine Tango. Tenerife has a vibrant tango scene and Alan and Susanne are very much at the heart of it. Alan runs the local tango website (tangotenerife.com), organizes milongas and also co-organizers the annual La Mirada Tango Meeting. Dancers from Tenerife also come to the Sunshine Tango Holiday milongas to join in the dancing and make new friends. This concept proved to be a big success during our first Tango Holiday in April 2017 and it was lovely to see everyone getting on so well.
How long does a tango holiday last?
Our holidays are always for 7 days, Saturday to Saturday. Sometimes we organize two weeks in a row where we learn tango in the first week and milonga and vals in the second week. At the end of our first week in April, a number of those taking part told how much they wished they had also booked the second week.
A great way to meet new people
One of the truly wonderful things about a tango holiday is the opportunity to meet new people. I think that tango tends to attract really nice people. People that are open to new things, that are curious to learn something new and want to get the very most out of life. My wife and I have been on several tango holidays ourselves. We now also organize tango holidays ourselves. One of the things that strikes me the most is the warmth of the people and their willingness to make friends with others. At the beginning of the holiday we are strangers, but at the end we are friends.
The evening milongas and the breaks during lessons provide the perfect moments for people to chat and enjoying each other’s company to a glass of wine.
Why do people love tango holidays so much?
The concept of escaping to somewhere nice to learn and dance tango is one that is growing and growing. In Germany tango holidays are well established with a large number of companies offering holidays to destinations across Europe. From Tuscany to Mallorca and from Crete to the Canary islands. People love them for all of the reasons mentioned above.
In the UK, however, this type of seven-day tango holiday with lessons, practice sessions, milongas and all the trimmings is far less well known. When Susanne and I started Sunshine Tango we had the vision of bringing English and German couples together. When we actually tried it in April it seemed to work really well. We believe that when people from different cultures with a shared passion come together the result is a positive and friendly atmosphere.
At what time of year do tango holidays take place?
Tango holidays take place all year round with the peak season between April and November. Demand is at its highest during the summer months with lots of people wanting to dance and enjoy the nice weather during the summer months. Some locations are also ideal for tango holidays during the winter, such as the Canary Islands.
How much does a tango holiday cost?
Prices for tango holidays vary depending on the destination, the organizers and what the holiday encompasses. Some holidays include the flights and the accommodation, while others don’t. The average price of a seven-day tango holiday incl. accommodation seems to be around the 950 Euros mark.
Where can I find tango holiday offers in the UK?
We offer tango holidays in Tenerife. With probably the best climate in the world, the Canary Islands offer the ideal setting for a tango holiday. Sunshine Tango is also unique in that dancers from Tenerife also join in during the evening milongas to create a wonderful atmosphere. Our tango holidays include lessons, practice sessions, milongas and a nice presentation about the tango orchestras. You can contact Sunshine Tango by clicking here
**Finca la Punta**
Finca la Punta is owned by Edith Helal & Lorenzo Bertolini, both of whom are very experienced tango dancers and teachers. For most of the year they offer accommodation, sightseeing, Argentine Tango classes, transport to the milongas on the island and much more.
Tango Valley offers tango holidays in France. This website offers tango dancing in the middle of nature. The website includes details of the tango holidays, the location, photos and general information.
La Rogaia Tango Holidays offers dancing in Italy. As well as other things the website provides information to people who want to learn how to dance tango on holiday.
Tango holidays and breaks hosted by Leonardo and Tracy. Offers Tango dance holidays both in the UK and abroad. A range of events throughout the year. Holidays include weekend breaks and weeks away in the UK and abroad.
This company offers tango holidays to Crete, Greece. The website includes information about lessons, milongas, the location and pictures and videos of past events.
http://www.oriatango.com/en/tour/tango-holidaysJenny and Ricardo Oria offer tango holidays in Spain and Edinburgh. The tango holiday for 2017 runs from the 12th to the 19th of October. The website includes information about the teachers, the venue as well as pictures and a blog.
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