About Us

Tango Edge was formed in September ’07 by a group of enthusiasts. Before this many of us learnt with Steve McKay who now teaches in Cambridge. When he moved away, we simply decided not to stop dancing.

The group is run by a committee of volunteers. Proceeds from Tango Edge lessons and events are ploughed back into tango. Since starting up we have set up Cardiff’s first weekly milonga and held a number of one-off events.

The lessons are usually taught by Xenia, who has been dancing tango for 10 years. She has learnt from a number of teachers, but her main inspiration remains her first teacher Steve McKay. His philosophy, and ours, is that the essence of a good tango dancer is good body awareness and creative movement, not what steps they know, and that these things should be deeply emphasised from the start. For more on our philosophy towards steps, click here.

Our view is that the more tango the better, and we encourage people who dance with us to get experience elsewhere if possible, whether in Cardiff or on one of our exciting tango trips abroad. Tango is such a gorgeous, amazing dance, we want the world to know it!


Argentine Tango FAQs

Q. Why learn tango?
A. From the beginning, tango is a wonderful way to meet people. It’s a social interaction away from normal (British) constraints. Where else can you embrace an aquaintance, feel totally comfortable within that embrace and create something spontaneous and wonderful together with no strings attached?

Argentine tango is improvised. That is the key to its allure. No two dances are ever the same and every dance is coloured by the partners’ personalities. At a milonga (social night) it’s usual to dance with a number of different people through the evening. Around the world people are dancing the same dance, with infinite unique variations.

Tango is good for the mind, body and soul! It keeps you active, it’s fun, it gives you all the excuses you need to wear nice clothes and it can have a wonderful effect on the way that you relate to others. People that have taken up tango often report becoming more open and relaxed around others in general.

Q. How does the improvisation work?
A. The leader (usually the man) chooses the movement and direction based on what feels right at the time (influenced by the music, his partner, where the space is on the dance floor etc.). The woman senses her partner’s intention (the direction, energy, rhythm etc) and moves with him, adding her own subtle interpretation of musicality and style. It works because the position of the arms and upper bodies in the embrace is fixed throughout the dance providing a ‘frame’ or reference point. The man doesn’t pull the woman around – she moves herself based on what she feels in the frame.

Q. Do you do competitions?
A. No competitions. It’s not about how amazing you look, it’s about how much people enjoy dancing with you. A tango night should be a social and friendly experience and you’re dancing for each other’s enjoyment rather than for an audience.

Q. Is the woman subservient?
A. No! Both roles are challenging and creative, although in very different ways. It takes a lot of skill for a woman to dance tango well and all around the world men and women pursue tango for many years (perhaps a lifetime) without becoming stale or running out of ways to improve their dance.

Q. Is Argentine tango similar to the tango on TV?
A. Not especially. It can be equally showy but it’s more real – people dancing socially with friends/lovers/strangers tend to treat each other with warmth and respect. The haughtiness and head-tossing of ballroom tango probably has more in common with bull fighting than Argentine tango! Instead try a YouTube search on Argentine Tango and make sure you have the sound on.

Q. What music do you dance to?
A. The tango genre is rich and varied. A good tango DJ will take you through a mix of slow & fast, smooth and dramatic. It would be boring if all the tracks were similar! Most tango music comes from Argentina and incorporates the bandoneon – a lyrical and complex instrument that is rarely found in other music, however any music with a clear beat and a good melody can be danced to and that’s part of the fun.

Q. Do I need to come with a partner?
A. Swapping partners during lessons is an important part of learning, so even if you do come with a partner you won’t be dancing together all the time. Some people come to lessons alone, others with the love of their life. It’s all fine.

Q. What should I wear?
A. Something comfortable that won’t restrict your body movement. Shoes need to be smooth soled so that you can spin, and comfortable. Heels are optional. Shoes to avoid: grippy shoes like trainers, flip flops, flimsy strappy heels, platforms, and anything your foot might fall out of.

Q. Who runs Tango Edge?
A. The Tango Edge planning group consist of Chris, Francesca, Graeme and Xenia. Feel free to contact us and we’ll make sure the relevant person gets your message