Every Monday, Cafe Medici hosts an instructor from Esquina Tango for an hour (ish) long lesson at 8:00 (ish) and then a milonga (tango social dance) until 11:00 p.m. I’ve been going for a couple of months now, more or less consistently, and I really enjoy it!
The instructor’s name is Gustavo (sp?) and he’s originally from Argentina. (Warning: When he gets excited, his accent can be hard to decipher and occasionally he slips into Spanish when he really gets going. My Spanish is fairly limited to Tex-Mex, but it’s usually easy to figure out what he’s trying to tell you.)
He’s really upbeat and incredibly nice – even when correcting! – and will wander during lessons helping couples. I generally get a few minutes of one-on-two instruction from him during a lesson, which is very unusual for a free intro lesson. He also peppers the lesson with nuggets about the history and culture of tango, which is very nice. It’s always a fun and festive atmosphere – lots of jovial joking and laughter. A big part of the atmosphere is fueled by Gustavo’s energy and enthusiasm!
Tango is difficult, especially for the leads, so don’t get discouraged if you have trouble with anything beyond the basic movements for the first few lessons. Skill levels vary, from brand-spanking new to intermediate (found at lessons) to seasoned, skillful veterans (at the milonga afterwards). Age tends to vary wildly, as well, though most everybody is 21+. The really wonderful thing about here is that it’s much more open than most other parts of the Austin dance community I’ve been to. There are plenty of people who’ll ask you to dance (or accept an invitation, depending on how outgoing you are), especially if you attend the lesson, and it doesn’t take very long to become a regular.