Frequently Asked Questions for Philly Queer Tango

What is Queer Tango?

Queer tango encompasses a lot of things!  At its heart, it is simply a more open exploration of gender roles and expression within the framework of tango.  We will play with and challenge the concepts of leading and following, and learn new ways to express connection through dance.

Why "queer?" Isn't that offensive?

Once upon a time, maybe.  The LGBTQ community has reclaimed this term, and it is often used as an easier to say umbrella term.  It can also include people who are in "straight" relationships but don't see themselves as 100% straight people.  It can include people who are questioning or not sure about their identity.  It can mean whatever you need it to mean.

Honestly, though, we're not the ones who came up with that name.  Queer Tango is an international movement to create more freedom in the tango community.  This means freedom of expression, freedom to dance whatever role you want to dance, and freedom to be exactly who you are when you come to dance.  These things all sound pretty good to us!

Do I have to identify as queer/lgbtq in order to participate?

No!  Think of it more like queering tango.  We are playing with the experience of leading and following and taking it out of its original gendered context (ie male leaders and female followers).  It might mean that you dance with someone of the same gender as you, or it might mean that you're a lady who leads or a guy who follows.  Or it might mean something else entirely for you!  We're not all that concerned with binaries.  None of these concepts require any particular orientation or gender expression.

Do I need any tango or dance experience?

No!  While people with experience are welcome to come and play, this class does not expect you to start out with any tango knowledge at all.  We'll teach you all the basics needed to get you having an awesome time on a social dance floor.

Do I need a partner?

No!  In our classes you learn both leading and following, and we switch partners after every exercise.  If you want to bring a partner that's totally welcome, but it is not required!

What should I wear?

The short answer is: whatever is comfortable for you.  The slightly longer answer:  You want to be able to move around without feeling constrained.  You don't want to wear something so flowy or baggy that you or your partner is stepping on it while you try to dance.  Some people will look like they're ready to go out for a night on the town, and others will look ready for a yoga class.  It's all fine by us!

Shoes: You should be able to move easily on the dance floor (slide and pivot), and we try to avoid shoes that could leave dark marks on our nice old dance floor.  Also avoid open-backed shoes where your feet could accidentally slip out, such as backless clogs or flip flops. If you don't have a shoe that slides easily on hardwood, you can just roll a pair of socks over some comfy shoes, and that will allow you to move more freely.

Also, we ask that you be considerate of your partners.  Hygiene is good, but we'll be in close proximity so be mindful about strongly scented perfumes or lotions that people might be allergic to!

How do I get to you?

There are lots of options:

Regional Rail Media/Elwyn Line: Take the 1:12 from 30th street, arrive at 1:43 at the Media station.  Return on the 6:05 train to Center City.</p>

Trolley route 101: Take the 1:30 trolley from 69th street, return on the 6:08 train to Center City.

Bus route 110: Take the 1:15 bus, get off at stopID:4666 (Baltimore Pike and Providence Rd), Return on the 5:56 bus.

We're also an easy drive from center city, if you have a car.

Is your studio a safe space?

Yes!  We are very dedicated to making the workshop safe and accessible for all.  We will discuss etiquette with regard to gender expression, as well as things like how to make sure you are treating your partner respectfully, what to do if you feel a partner is behaving inappropriately, and how to make your partner feel safe.  Tango is an intimate, close contact form of dance, so we feel very strongly about making sure it feels comfortable and safe for all involved.  Additionally, the staff has experience working in the LGBTQ community and we feel strongly about making our community feel welcome in our home studio.

Where else can I find tango in Philadelphia?

For tango in general, there is a huge community in Philadelphia.  You can find practicas (unguided practice/work dance nights) several nights a week, and social dances, or milongas, just about every friday through sunday.

That said, tango can sometimes be a pretty traditional, old-school culture.  Here at Sangha Space we pride ourselves on giving everyone the opportunity to lead and follow, and on being extremely open about gender fluidity and making a safe space for however you express yourself, your gender, and your dance.  We offer a beginner class with new sessions starting on the first Wednesday night of every month, practicas every thursday night, and a very welcoming and  inviting social dance the second saturday of each month (including a free beginner lesson).  You'll see the same staff faces at all these events, and we'd love for you to come spend time with our awesome tango teachers and classes.

I have some other questions. Where can I go for more information?

We love questions and would be happy to answer them.  You can email us at info@sanghaspace.com, or join our facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/phillyqueertango/, where you can send us a message or leave a comment.