Review: Tango de Salon

21st May 2010


Asta Moro and Alberto Ortiz have recently started teaching Tango on Friday evenings, in Letchmore Heath in Hertfordshire.

I had a free Friday - unusuaally - so I thought I'd pop along.

The venue

Getting there

The hall is Aldenham War Memorial Hall, Grange Lane, Letchmore Heath, Herts, WD25 8DY - see here for a map.

Basically, it's about a 5-minute drive from Junction 5 of the M1. For a city boy like me, it's a strange area, the countryside... That said, Letchmore Heath is a lovely little village, especially in the summer months.

Parking wasn't a problem, I parked just outside the hall.

You do need a car though, it's definitely not a place you can get to by public transport.

The venue

The hall itself is fine - decent size, decent floor. Perfectly fine for a class. The lovely Natalie, who helps organise the evenings, also provides some sweeties and soft drink. Yay! :)

The price was £8, which is a steal.

The class

There were about 15 of us in the class - I'd say mostly experienced dancers, with a few beginners and improvers.

The class is advertised as:

  • 19:30 -20.30 Beginners class
  • 20.30-21.30 Supervised Practica

In practice, it was more like a 2-hour class. Which normally would scare the hell out of me, but in this case I was amazed how quickly the time had gone; both Alberto and Asta are great teachers.

First part: musicality

We spent about 20 minutes walking to various bits of music, separated.

We then partnered-up and worked on this area together, again focussing on musicality alone. One thing I've noticed in these type of classes, is that it's quite difficult to avoid copying the pauses and musicality of the guy in front - especially true for me, as I was behind Alberto... So that's something to bear in mind; your musicality is your own, no-one else's, and you need to develop and find it yourself.

Second part: Routine

The second half of the class was focussed on a couple of cross-based routines. The fist was a simple sidestep to cross (the Basic 8).

The very useful twist (literally) to this was that Alberto did this "at a slant" - that is, the sidestep is diagonal, so you pivot 45 degrees clockwise before taking the sidestep. This means that your forwards steps are angled back towards the outside lane, so that at the cross, you're back in the lane you started from.

This also means that you have no need of a resolution step to return you back into lane. So instead of taking up a lot of space in two lanes with a sequence, you can take up a much smaller area, in a shorter time, and carry on dancing.

Here's a diagram to explain this "angled cross" motion:

It's a nice, elegant, simple variation, I liked it.


An excellent class, well worth attending. The only problem is that it's on a Friday night, and there's always so much else going on every Friday night. But I'll definitely return whenever I have a free evening.

~ David Bailey, 21st May 2010

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