Makela Tango

"She is literally the best in Los Angeles. I highly recommend her starter package for beginners." -Marco C More Testimonials


Do I need a partner?
What class is right for me?
What should I wear?
What does it cost?
What is a Milonga or a Practica?
Tango etiquette and suggestions for a successful experience

1) Do I need a partner?
No, you don’t need a partner! Tango classes are a wonderful way to meet people and make friends.

2) What class is right for me?
If you have never danced Tango before you should start with the Absolute Beginner series on Saturdays are 4:30 pm (no partner necessary- note date of next series on home page). You can also drop in on any Monday.  Buying the
starter package and taking the included private lesson in advance will help you to enjoy the process.

3) What should I wear?
Whatever makes you feel comfortable and elegant, very tight skirts for women might be too restrictive.  For men slacks are fine.

About shoes: Women: Make sure that you are very comfortable in the shoes you are wearing, but please do not wear flip flops or any kind of sandals that have an unsupported ankle. Men: Any comfortable non-marking sole that allows you to pivot and slide on the dance floor.

Note on shoes: Good dance shoes have leather, suede soles or some kind of surface that allows you to pivot and to slide on the floor. Makela Tango can get excellent Tango shoes for men and women at a discount upon request, so please feel free to inquire at your lesson!

Note on hair styles: Remember you will be dancing very close to each other, so big hair dos can be a little uncomfortable and distracting!  

4) What does it cost?
Please click here for our current Group Tango class and Private lesson pricing.

5) What is a Milonga or a Practica?
A ‘milonga’  is a social event where people go to dance Tango socially.

You can go stag or with a group, it’s fun to promise each other to dance a number of ‘tandas’ so you know you will dance at least a little with your friends.

A Tanda is a group of 3-4 Tangos/milongas/waltzes generally interpreted by the same orchestra. It is good etiquette to dance an entire tanda with the same person. You know that a tanda is over, because there is a “CORTINA” in between. A ‘Cortina” is a short song (30 seconds maximum, no dancing) which is not Tango, and in general sounds very different: that means it’s time to switch partners!  

The difference between a ‘milonga’ and a ‘practica” is the degree of formality. In a milonga, people follow the above rules very closely, and in general they are dressed more formally. In a practica, everything is more informal. There can be instruction or critique involved (but not in the format of a class) and people can stop to try out different new moves.

How to ask a woman to dance: it varies according to the location. In Buenos Aires tradition it is rude to go to the table and ask someone to dance directly. You ask from the distance with a CABECEO (a small head movement from the man at a distance). In the US it varies greatly from event to event. If you’re new to a particular event, check the people and observe how other men are doing it.  Note from Makela: Personally, I don’t like when men ask me to dance by holding my hand. Remember leaders: when you finish dancing, accompany your partner until you completely exit the dance floor. You do not need to touch her, but walking with her shows good manners and respect.  Also, please remember the cultural traditions of Tango and Cabeceo are just that, traditions!  There are no political implications.

6) (Important!) Tango etiquette and suggestions for a successful experience

  • Shower (wash your teeth/floss) before class/milonga/practica – Use deodorant, but take it easy on the cologne. Tango embrace is close!  Wear clean clothes.  If you are coming from work, maybe it is a good idea to bring an extra shirt to change right in to before class. If you sweat a lot, maybe it is a good idea to bring a towel or handkerchief.

  • If possible, try to switch partners. It helps you to learn better and faster. Argentine Tango is an improvisational dance; you need to learn how to follow and how to lead smoothly. If you always dance with the same person, you might get used to her/him and predict his/her lead.

  • Remember that unsolicited instruction by another student does not help the dynamic of the class/milonga/practica. If you have any questions, please ask the instructor.

  • Try to find a practice partner with whom you practice at least one hour outside the class. It does not need to be the same person every time! Either gender works. It is sometimes better to practice with someone of the same gender to share ‘expertise’, ‘problems’, etc. This is completely acceptable in Tango for men and women.

  • Be compassionate. If your partner makes a mistake, don’t say anything and be forgiving.

  • Have fun! Don’t forget to enjoy the passion of Tango!!!

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