There’s a lot to learn about the world of tango! Here you’ll find frequently asked questions about Bailonga, information about tango in general, a list of dancer’s etiquette that’s specific to our community, and our general policies.
Do I need a partner to attend?
No, and even if you bring a partner, we encourage you to dance with as many different people as possible.
What’s the dress code?
Bailonga is casual, but do make sure to wear clothing that you are comfortable moving in and that won’t get caught underfoot.
What kind of shoes should I wear?
There are shoes specially made for tango dancing, but for your first time, you can use any shoes made of a material that enables you to pivot on the ball of your foot, such as suede or leather. Ballroom or jazz shoes are both suitable. If you are really in a pinch, socks are completely acceptable at Bailonga!
Should I take the beginner or intermediate class?
If you have never done tango, definitely start with the Beginner Series Class. Though it’s a series class, it’s drop-in friendly and adapts to the skill level of the dancers present. If you’ve done some tango and you’re unsure of which class to take, talk with the instructors of the night to find out what topics they’re planning to focus on. Intermediate classes also adapt and can range from just past beginner-level to borderline advanced depending on who’s attending and who’s teaching. If you’re comfortable dancing tango, we encourage you to try out the intermediate class which is taught by a different instructor every week to keep you learning fresh new ideas.
Is there other tango in Eugene?
Yes! You can find out about all the other tango events in Eugene at eugenetango.com.
What age range is appropriate for Bailonga?
All ages are welcome however tango is a highly complex and physical dance that requires a consistent sense of spatial awareness in order for everyone to stay safe. Tango technique is also highly influenced by the height of your partner, so little ones will find limited options in dance partners. For a full evening of enjoyment, I recommend ages 15 and up. Parents should be aware that there will occasionally be mature themes or profanity in the music played.
Why is Bailonga no longer an all-alternative event?
Bailonga used to be entirely alternative and switched to half traditional in 2012 due to a shift in community preference. Many tango dancers dislike dancing to a full night of alternative because it is more tiring and less conducive to tango technique. Though a couple times a year, we do host events where only alternative music is played, there is currently not a large enough fan base of alternative music in Eugene to support regular alternative nights.
What does Bailonga mean?
Bailonga is a play on words, connecting “BA” which is the acronym for Buenos Aires (the world’s central location for dancing tango) the Spanish word “Bailar” which means “to dance,” and “milonga” which is a place you dance tango. Sometimes people hear Bailonga and believe it is another type of tango dance, like milonga, but it is simply the name of this particular milonga.
What is Argentine Tango?
Argentine Tango is a social dance which uses the connection established through the physical points of contact to communicate nonverbally what movement the dancers will share. It’s “basic” step is simple walking but it is entirely improvised and uses no set choreography.
The following is a tango demo performance with dancers Sigrid Van Tilbeurgh and Dominic Bridge, to the traditional song, El Entrerriano by Biagi. Dominic, who is now a prestigious tango instructor, got his start dancing in Eugene! Remember when watching this performance: Tango is entirely improvised.
What’s the difference between Ballroom Tango and Argentine Tango?
Ballroom tango uses an 8-count basic, or a collection of pre-determined steps, whereas the movements in Argentine Tango are determined in the moment. There are also differences in the type of music used for dancing, the structure of the frame/embrace, and the general styling of the dance movements.
Tango- The word “tango” is used in two different contexts: it is the name of the overall dance but it is also one of the three main types of tango music: Tango, vals, and milonga. Tangos are based in a walking movement and they make up the majority of the music in an evening.
Vals- Vals is the second of the three main types of tango music, and it refers to a faster version of a waltz that encourages circular, sweeping motions.
Milonga- You’ll hear the word “milonga” used for two purposes. First, Milonga refers to a tango dancing gathering. In large cities, there are milongas almost every night. Second, milonga is the third of the three types of tango music, which refers to fast, rhythmic, and bass heavy music and a different styling of tango dancing.
Tanda- Tanda refers to a set of 2-4 songs that are grouped together and match each other in some way. It is customary to dance with one person for a whole tanda in order to better develop the connection. The majority of Bailonga’s tandas are three songs long.
Cortina- Cortina means “curtain,” and it refers to the 20-30 second interlude that plays between tandas. The cortina signals everyone that the tanda is over and it’s time to walk off the dance floor and find a new partner.
Cabaceo- (Cah-bah-say-oh) Cabaceo is tango dancers’ primary method for asking each other to dance. It involves making eye contact with another dancer and using facial expressions to imply the request and the answer. After cabaceo, the two dancers may meet on the dance floor without having to say a word.
Line of Dance- Tango is a traveling dance which means in order to continue dancing, you have to move away from your original starting point. So that we don’t all bump into each other, dancers have agreed to follow the “line of dance” which is the circle around the outer edge of the dance floor, in a counter-clockwise direction.
Etiquette and Policies
Examples of Good Tango Etiquette:
- Practice good hygiene and limit your use of scents and perfumes.
- Refrain from touching your dance partner until after they’ve agreed to dance with you.
- If you enjoy switching between leading and following, clarify which role you would like before starting the dance.
- If you don’t want to dance with someone it is ok to politely decline or break eye contact to end the cabaceo.
- If someone decides not to dance with you, please accept their decision with grace.
- It is customary to dance till the end of the tanda with your partner.
- Be respectful and aware of your partner’s body, safety, and boundaries.
- Do not initiate romantic or sexually charged behavior without the consent of your partner.
- Do not attempt big moves on crowded dance floors.
- No unsolicited teaching on the dance floor outside of the lesson.
- Be aware of the other couples on the floor, especially when taking steps against the line of dance.
- Traditionally, leads walk their follow back to the edge of the dance floor at the end of the dance.
- Saying, “thank you” to your partner means you are done dancing with them, so don’t thank your partner one song into a tanda unless you really want to get out of there!
We take reports of harassment, bigotry, unsafe dancing, and boundary crossing very seriously. We prioritize the safety of our dancers, regardless of gender, age, race, sexual orientation, ability, body size, class, religion (or lack thereof). We expect safe, respectful, and kind behavior from all of our attendees.
We encourage anyone who experiences or witnesses harassment, unsafe behavior, or serious disrespect to report it to the organizers by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or (during the event) find an organizer in person via the front desk. Event participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the event without a refund at the discretion of the Bailonga organizers.
You can read our full code of conduct and community expectations here: Bailonga Code of Conduct
Bailonga has announcements for upcoming dance events midway through the night. By default, Bailonga makes an announcement if the upcoming event is related to Bailonga, if it is related to Kella (who makes the announcements) or if a fellow dancer has requested an announcement be made.
If you have a dance event you would like announced, contact us at email@example.com with the necessary details of the event, or make the announcement yourself at the appropriate time when the organizer’s announcements are complete.
Bailonga strives to be transparent in their payment practices of the people who teach, DJ, and perform for Bailonga. You can read a detailed record of our policies here: Bailonga’s Payment Policies.
Photo Credit: Quentin Furrow