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Published September 25th 2016
A little bit of Buenos Aires in Melbourne’s Outer East
Christian Drogo has made it his mission to spread the word- and the love of Tango- to people in the outer suburbs of Melbourne.
Argentine Tango is associated with the vibrant and sensory-rich streets of Buenos Aires. Tango's heritage may be urban, but today, this dance which fundamentally celebrates partnership, passion and love, is not restricted to city life and the smoky haze of night-lights.
Christian Drogo, of Viva Dance Fitzroy, has made it his mission to take Tango to Melbourne's outer suburbs. He has been teaching Tango in Lilydale since January 2016 in the hope that those who want to learn can kick-up their heels in their own communities. You can join his regular Saturday afternoon class, either with or without a partner, and 'share the love'.
Argentine Tango was born on the streets of Buenos Aires and is now a global phenomenon.
There are many styles of Argentine Tango but within classic Tango, Salon style is culturally authentic and is danced in clubs throughout Buenos Aires, Argentina and Uruguay. If you are planning a trip to South America, learning the Tango will put you in great stead and help you to understand many cultural nuances and practices. Viva Dance also runs Tango group tours to Buenos Aires- but if dance-travel interests you, start learning Tango now because there are many layers and techniques to master and through class commitment, you will get to know potential tour companions.
As a style, Salon Tango is characterised by the 'close embrace' and intimate connection. This requires core strength, balance and well-synchronised contra-body movement between partners. Argentine-born Christian Drogo does present different Tango styles in the Lilydale workshops, but his Salon-style sets the standard in Australasia and his students can be confident that they are getting the best instruction possible. If you have ever even dreamt of dancing Argentine Tango and live in or have access to these Yarra Ranges classes, make Saturday Tango your mission: learning from an internationally recognised Salon maestro is a not-to-be-missed opportunity.
Lilydale's Tango workshops usually start with a warm-up and conditioning drill so that over time, you not only improve technique but will form a better understanding of the fundamental dancing building blocks, your own body, and the way that you learn. There is some revision and refinement of forms and technique from previous weeks and then 'layers' are added to sequences. This approach continually provides challenge for regular students and allows newbies and casual students to enjoy the dance and build on lead-follow connections. If you haven't danced Tango before or cannot come regularly, you will be able to follow the class and be made very welcome.
The Tango community always welcomes new blood: once you start in Lilydale, there are opportunities to dance Tango in Melbourne almost every night of the week.
Lilydale's Tango classes are one of the few regular weekend dance options offered to adults. This schedule recognises that many people, particularly those in outer suburbs or surrounding country areas, are simply not able to travel to Melbourne for mid-week night-time classes. Weekend workshops (that present no parking problems!) may also suit parents or those who live in the suburban belt with demanding work schedules.
Tango and Salsa in Warburton
Christian Drogo is now an acclaimed Argentine Tango expert, but his studio in Fitzroy also pioneered the Latin dance craze nearly 30 years ago. He has also been teaching Salsa, both Cuban and LA styles, since Viva Dance Club days and is recognised for his outstanding lead, musicality as well as cultural knowledge and sensitivity. Tango students from Christian's Lilydale class have invited him to teach Salsa-Tango workshops every month at the Warburton Golf Club which will start on Sunday October 9th, run from 2-4pm and cost $20 for one class or $35 for the full two hours. There is a concession price of $10 for one class, or $20 for both.
Christian will soon be teaching Cuban and LA Salsa, (as well as Tango) once a month in Warburton. Those regular two-hour workshops are due to start Sunday October 9th.
No, the class rotates which not only develops lead-follow technique but also helps you to get to know people. Rotating partners is very much in the spirit of Argentine Tango and other Street Latin dances for even though Tango is a partner dance, it is also a part of community social life.
-Do you need specialist Tango shoes?
Argentine Tango shoes are a specialist item but don't buy them before you are comfortable dancing in heels or have decided that Tango is the dance for you. If you are thinking of combining Salsa and Tango, it may be better to get a generic Latin shoe which can be used for both genres. For Tango, just wear shoes that you can dance in comfortably. You should, however, avoid rubber soles such as runners (they will stick on the floor and you will have difficulty pivoting), work boots (completely restrictive) and sling-backs (they offer no support and your feet will slip out).
-What is the male-female ratio?
Generally, the male-female or leader-follower ratio at Lilydale is fairly even. You are rarely left on your own and the class rotates often and regularly. Depending on the ratio, Christian may also be part of the mix which means that you get 'private' attention. If numbers are even, Christian 'floats' and helps pairs or couples. It is highly unusual for a teacher and dancer of Christian's callibre to give 1-1 attention in a social-class environment.
-Is Argentine Tango a difficult dance to learn?
Tango is one of those dances or skills that is easy to pick-up and dance socially, but as there are so many 'levels' and 'layers', it can take a long time to master. That means, that within a short period of time you will be dancing- and from there, it is simply a case or how good you want to be- or how addicted you become!
The chance to learn Tango from an Argentine-born maestro should not be missed.
Argentine Tango workshops with Christian Drogo run every Saturday from 2-3.30pm at Sassi Dance, Studio 8, 25-27 High Tech Place Lilydale. You do not need to book, but if you have any queries, give Christian a call. The casual class investment is $25 per person or $15 for full-time concession holders. It does pays to commit: have at least 4 lessons to see if Tango is for you. Commitment cards cost $100 for 4 lessons and there is a package-discount card for $160 (4 x 1.5 workshops and 4 x Milongas or 1-hour classes) if you also want to attend Viva classes and social nights offered at the Fitzroy studio.