Taught gender-neutral; all partners exchange and work on both roles with each exercise. Solo exercises are provided each week so dancers can level-up with home-practice and make class learning stick. Check the latest Facebook event posts for monthly topics.
Partners change after each 2-song set, initiated by a cortina. Everyone rotates with everyone while the teacher is on hand to answer questions & side-coach. Practica uses line-of-dance to allow practice of transitions in switching roles mid-song integrated with floor navigation skills. Partners can opt to dance one song each in each role, or practice continuous switching back & forth throughout both songs (stealing & trading). In this learning environment it's OK to both verbally ask partners to dance as well as practicing your cabaceo (The Look & Nod) to non-verbally change partners. A great opportunity to both even out and advance your dance skills, get used to being present/enjoying a variety of types of dance partners, and become a welcoming and inclusive member of tango communities worldwide. Beginners, Fusionists, all ages and genders heartily welcomed.
Sometimes we have schedule conflicts, look at our FB Group and on tangomango.org to double-check if you haven't attended recently.
SF SWITCH TANGO is a project of Humilityswim Dance Media (HDM).
Yes, bring friends, support each other's learning, but no partner is required. When you bring a partner or two, know that you'll all be rotated among the group in both class & Practica.
CAN I DROP-IN? WHAT EXPERIENCE IS REQUIRED? WILL I BE LOST IF I DON'T ATTEND WEEKLY?
ARE PRIVATE LESSONS AN OPTION?
Yes, first-timers are welcome, we'll sidecoach you up to confident, whether you know one role or none.
If you're intermediate, you will NOT be bored. Yes, you can drop-in. Class themes are monthly, but we review the previous week's material so you won't be lost if you miss a week. We ask you to practice 2x weekly outside of class: we give you free solo exercises. Teacher Ali Woolwich does offer sliding scale private lessons as an add-on to the class monthly progressions, you can select this option from the Eventbrite Ticketing menu, call 415-335-6384 or message Ali via Facebook to confirm a timeslot.
Casual pants with give/stretch, and low tango shoes. No heels higher than 1 inch, no thick rubber soles. Wear lace-up or ankle-strapped dance shoes or street shoes with thin soles that have been taped, moleskinned or sueded. No big belt buckles. For safety and good technique, NO boots, NO slip-on loafers/slides. If you haven't any dance shoes yet, buy some moleskin at a Drugstore, slap it on some lace-up shoes. Shoes are key equipment, but you can slowly upgrade. The test: if you can turn in the ball of one foot without feeling stuck (also known as pivoting) the shoes will work for tango.
ISN'T SWITCH THE SAME AS OPEN-ROLE, INTERCAMBIO or QUEER TANGO?
Simply, HELL No.
For starters, Switch isn't embedded in one architypal expression of sexual orientation or gender presentation, it is liberated from these--incorporating from both martial arts and Post-Modern Dance expanded purposes for duet-form dance and inspiring movement exchange. Since Tango roles don't mirror each other, learning the required 3 Switch movement vocabularies (follow, lead, and 3rd, role transitions) requires a different use of time. Currently, only Switch style of tango consistently uses a common etiquette that makes ingratiating room for Switches within existing variable dance event norms. If being able to change roles multiple times in one dance isn't clear for both partners and expected, it's not Switch.
Open Role in common practice means picking one role not related to your gender but sticking to one role.
Intercambio makes a big deal about changing roles ONCE. No universal role transition vocabulary is taught: without that skill, it's not Switch.
Queer Tango (aka Same-sex, Female Leads & Male Follows) worldwide is taught mono-role with no standard etiquette in milonga/class/practica for dancers who are Switches, leaving dancers with no infrastructure to build Switch skill or overt etiquette to consistently yield Switch dances at events.
Despite displays of Open Role/Intercambio (with shows, demos, teachers, rare workshops), current international event etiquette presumes Switch doesn't exist rather than presenting it to every dancer as an expected option. Even open-minded Nuevo, Alternative and Queer Tango events operate on a presumption of *only one* dancerole, (by default dictating dancerole and gender presentation as equivalent). Since mono-role is the universally dominant tango training approach, with no encouragement or counter social modeling most participants opt-out of going it alone to be a Switch rather than a Lead or Follow. Thus, dancing Switch style is a potential which is mostly left dormant. This renders Switch dancers invisible unless they counter existing defaults with both honed skill and a proactive etiquette which includes everything from the Cabaceo to attire to musical knowledge to practice partners and visibility techniques. Going-it-alone is countered in Switch training with team building and providing new norms applicable to any tango event. With even training in all 3 vocabularies, Switch training provides not just solidarity, but the cutting edge of creative tango dancing. Switch Tango is: different training, a larger vocabulary, different shoes, upgraded etiquette, and presumptive of nothing yet prepared/inclusive/flexible. Switch recognizes that Argentine Tango is a set of living dance languages--Switch is a new dialect, with important and fun things to say. All of this adds up to: you'll know it when you see it, and YES, IT'S DIFFERENT, COME EXPERIENCE HOW.