About Tango

Dancing Argentine Tango is an incredibly rewarding experience. Tango is a walking dance that requires connection between two dancers, allowing improvisation, individual musical interpretation and personal style. Danced well, tango looks beautiful, elegant, harmonious, strong, gentle, masculine and feminine.

The basic movements can be picked up in a relatively short period of time, but mastering the subtleties and exploring the endless possibilities of tango can become a life-long journey. “Tango” generally incorporates several related dances including Tango, Vals (waltz) & Milonga (an upbeat rhythmic playful style with a particular beat). Nuevo Tango is a style developed through a particular approach to learning through the deconstruction of tango movements into new ideas.

Learning to dance tango is like learning a new language. Start by learning some vocabulary, then some common phrases. Soon you can construct your own sentences, and with some practice you might start writing poetry!

About the classes

Southern Cross Tango creates an environment where participants learn to dance Argentine Tango for the social dance floor. All Tango Courses are meticulously planned by Adrienne & Andrew Gill. All classes and events are well prepared, inclusive, encouraging, and positive in attitude. Courses cover appropriate step patterns, technique, musicality, and dance floor etiquette.

Classes & Workshops on choreography and tango for the stage are available for intermediate and advanced level dancers. Intensive Private classes are available for all levels of dancers.

Southern Cross Tango presents tango courses for beginner, intermediate & advanced levels, in Seacliff, Kensington, Crafers, Adelaide, Christie’s Beach / Port Noarlunga & other regional centres, as well as small group courses & private tuition in Seacliff. In addition, Southern Cross Tango presents the “Community Tango in Geelong” outreach program in Victoria, with regular monthly practicas & community events.

Adrienne and Andrew Gill, Directors & Principal Teachers

Adrienne and Andrew are amongst the most experienced tango dancers, teachers & choreographers in Australia. They have a solid foundation of traditional tango learned from the most highly respected dancers in Argentina, and regularly travel internationally to keep up to date with new developments in the dance. Adrienne & Andrew have performed professionally alongside some of the world’s top Argentine tango stars such as Milena Plebs, Demian Garcia, Alejandra Mantinan & Carolina Bonaventura, & have been accompanied by world class musicians Massimo Scattolin, Anthony Halliday, Mirko Satto, & Tango Future, to name just a few!

Adrienne and Andrew are renowned for their clear teaching methods, carefully planned courses, beautiful musicality, and a deep understanding of the intricacies of tango. With backgrounds in dance, art, music, elite sport & coaching (Adrienne) and science, sport, music & dance (Andrew), Southern Cross Tango approach teaching and dancing from many different angles to help their students to progress with excellent technique and a clear understanding of the dance. Adrienne & Andrew have taught & trained a number of dancers who have subsequently become tango teachers in Australia.

Learning to dance tango

Although the basic moves can be learned in just a few lessons, mastering more complex movements require time and practice! People learn at very different rates, however the speed of learning is not necessarily an indication of their skill as a dancer. Students should be wary of hurrying through the basics too fast – they are the foundations for all of the more complex patterns. Take the time to dance the basics well! Progressing to intermediate level classes requires good control of the basic movements and concepts covered in beginner level classes. Learning to dance should be fun, so please be patient with yourself and your partner. Appropriate dance shoes make many movements significantly easier for both men and women. Feel free to talk to your teachers for more information about shoes.

Tango Courses:

To achieve the best possible learning experience, we highly recommend that you book for a course of consecutive classes. Students will be promoted to the next level of classes as they master relevant techniques and figures. Intermediate and Advanced Level classes progress through varying themes of technique, challenging figures and new tango concepts. Milonga and Tango Vals are taught in themed classes as part of the general Argentine Tango curriculum, & in short themed courses. Various tango themes are covered on a continually progressive basis, according to the standard of the students attending the particular class.

Changing partners policy:

We encourage students to change partners regularly within the group classes. This can help students to improve their overall social dancing skills, and helps to keep everyone dancing as much as possible in the case of uneven ratios of leaders & followers. Students are encouraged to learn both the leading & following roles of tango, to further enhance their enjoyment of the dance.

Bring a Dance Partner if you can:

Help maintain even ratios of leaders to followers in each class. Encourage your friends, invite a mate, a family member or partner to come along with you. Tango is a great social activity – Remember, it takes two to tango!

Private Lessons:

Private Lessons are a great way to accelerate your learning process, & fine tune your tango technique under the intensive personalized guidance of Adrienne & Andrew Gill. Learn the amazing secrets of tango connection & technique!

You can attend private lessons with a dance partner or on your own.

Newcomers and Beginner level tango dancers will benefit greatly from intensive private lessons in order to understand and learn the fundamentals of tango movement and the connection between leading and following roles. Adrienne & Andrew's positive and engaging teaching style will give you a real head-start on tango, with a strong foundation of good tango technique and some lovely basic moves for the social dance-floor. Of course, focusing on fundamental techniques of walking, balance and connection between leader & follower will greatly improve your dancing for any level of experience!

Dancers serious about taking their tango to the next level will greatly benefit from private lessons. Adrienne & Andrew intensively focus on tango style and the development of your own individual expressive possibilities, with greater awareness of musicality & advanced tango techniques. Adrienne & Andrew specialize in deconstructing complex tango down to fundamental principals of movement & control, making difficult figures and complex concepts seem easier and logical to learn and achieve.

For Advanced level dancers, Adrienne & Andrew will teach their Southern Cross Tango Master Class private curriculum, customized & personalized for each student, with emphasis on style, controlled female & male expressive embellishments & body alignment, complex contemporary tango figures and Nuevo musicality. Adrienne & Andrew enjoy challenging their students, stimulating the body and mind with the very latest developments in tango!

Dancing Tango Socially

A social dancing tango function is referred to as a milonga. Most milongas will have tables and chairs, often a bar, and (most importantly) a good dance floor. Music is played in tandas (a set of several songs of similar style/era/orchestra), separated by a cortina a short, non-danceable song that is to clear the floor before the next tanda begins. Most dancers will dance with a number of partners during the milonga, but will generally dance an entire tanda (commonly four songs) with just one partner.

It is usual that the man or leader will ask the follower to dance, either verbally, or by the cabaceo technique whereby dancers make eye contact and a subtle gesture that can be accepted by the follower with positive eye contact and a smile. This form of invitation is common in Milongas in Buenos Aires. It is more common for leaders to use this method, but followers can also utilise the cabaceo method to express interest in dancing with a particular partner. The follower needs to pay attention by scanning the room if she is open to dancing with a new partner, thus will be more likely to connect through eye contact with a potential leader. If someone is not returning your eye contact (eg. the person is chatting to a friend, is distracted, or just having a rest from dancing), then it would be better to look for another potential dance partner.

It is also common, especially in Australia, for leaders to directly ask a follower to dance by approaching her table. Be aware & sensitive of body language, in case your potential partner does not want to dance at that moment. Some followers may also directly invite a leader to dance, but again, be aware & sensitive of body language in case your potential partner does not want to dance at that moment. If you must decline a dance, be sincere & polite, as it takes courage to ask someone to dance!

Movement on the dance floor should be in an anticlockwise direction, with the leaders navigating and moving toward open space ahead of him. Movements are often very subtle avoiding impacting on dancers around you. Moving randomly around the floor makes navigation very difficult both for you and everyone else on the floor! If you accidently bump into another couple, make sure you politely acknowledge it, then continue on with a smile.

Dancing well socially involves getting to know the way your partner “feels” and moves, finding a connection, and initially just walking together with the music. As your confidence and level of connection builds, more complex movements become possible (providing there is adequate space around you).

Focus on dancing the basics well, as this will be more enjoyable (for you and your partner) than dancing more complex moves badly.

People attending a Milonga make an effort to dress well. Maintaining good personal hygiene is vital! Smelling nice, washing your hands, & choosing not to dance when you are unwell is respectful to the people around you. Remember that you will be dancing in close personal proximity to another person, & it should be an enjoyable experience!

The enjoyment tango can bring is multifaceted, ranging from the fun of more playful movements and the strength of dynamic movement, to the calm of connection through stillness. For most people, tango utopia is glimpsed through achieving perfect connection with your partner and the music. It is more common to find this quality in the simple movements than more complex figures. The feeling might only be momentary, but it can be very addictive!