Welcome to the world of Argentine Tango!
We want to try to make the beginning of your journey in New York City tango more comfortable and enjoyable so have made this short introduction. There are links at the bottom for more in-depth information about things like tango terminology and floor navigation.
First and most important - Argentine tango codes are the rules that are used in tango events, especially in milongas. Please read our Tango Codes of Conduct page before attending tango events. These codes were established organically over a long period of time in order for the community to meet and interact smoothly so that all may enjoy each other's company and the pleasure of dancing.
Prácticas are tango practice events where you can work on the things you've learned in classes. These are generally less formal than milongas. You can stop on the dance floor to talk about a step with your partner, to work on it and to get and give feedback with your partner. In the more formal milongas (tango parties), dancers are not supposed to stop on the dance floor or talk. Prácticas are very important for beginning tango dancers, both for learning and for meeting other tango dancers in a less formal environment. In New York City we have around 18 prácticas which you can find on the práctica page. Many of the outdoor milongas are great for practicing too, simply because they have more room so you can go off to the side to work on things but still hear the music, and are ideal for beginning tango dancers to get to know the tango. In addition, there are milongas in NYC which are less formal in which you are allowed or even encouraged to practice. When in doubt, ask the organizer of an event to see if practicing is allowed. Some of these events are listed on the milonga page but have "practice friendly" in their description. Many prácticas have beginning and/or intermediate classes right before them so that students can practice what they just learned.
Milongas are tango parties. Music in a milonga is played in groups of 3-4 songs which are called a "tanda", then there is a short break (~30 seconds to 1 minute long) called a "cortina" in which a snippet of completely different music is played in order to enable couples to take a break and/or switch partners. We have anywhere between 20-30 milongas every week in New York City with at least one milonga every day. Many of these events have classes beforehand, and most include the class with the cost of admission to the milonga so you can take a class, then stay and watch to learn about how the milongas work. See the main calendar page for the milonga schedule.
There are many teachers and schools of Argentine tango in New York City. You can find them all listed on the Tango Instruction page, which includes teachers in the entire tri-state area. Many teachers have websites and videos so you can see how they dance before taking classes with them. Many of these teachers are guest instructors before milongas, so you can try them out at a pre-milonga class before taking their group class or privates. Taking private lessons is very popular in Argentine tango. When you see someone you'd like to take a private with, you can ask instructors directly if they teach privates or contact them via their website. There are many visiting instructors who come from around the world to New York City. You can find their workshops listed on the Workshops and Performances page, which also lists non-dancing tango events.
For a helpful map to see all the events and their locations at a glance, visit the New York City Tango Map page, which also shows the subway stops closest to the events.
Last but definitely not least, who is Richard Lipkin? He is the NYC tango dancer who created this website! You can read about him on the About Richard Lipkin page.
Links to more information
Tango Topics - Guide to tango terminology and definitions
TangoAndChaos - Information about general navigation on the dance floor
Tango-DJ.at - More tango navigation info
AlexTangoFuego - Information about tango floorcraft