Argentine Tango dances its way around USF

The word tango on its own sparks wistful images of romantic moonlit dances or show-stopping ballroom scenes. However, behind the romance Argentine Tango takes time, practice and intense lessons.

Starting Thursday night, USF students will have the opportunity to learn this unique art form when the Argentine Tango Club at USF hosts its third annual Tango Festival, a five-day event filled with music and dancing.

Going to a festival, especially for students who are beginners, is a great opportunity for them to actually see what it looks like in real life, Olivia Roberts, one of the Argentine Tango Clubs officers, said. I think its really inspiring. Im really excited.

Tango Festivals were designed to bring dancers together, and this years will include student dancers from FSU and UF. The festival consists of a mix of workshops where participants will meet with instructors and learn the dances and Milongas, which are social dances where the participants can come together to practice and show off what theyve learned.

Theres every opportunity to dance, Trista Brophy, the Argentine Tango Club president, said.

Because of the advanced level of skill required for the dance, most workshops are geared toward people who already know how to dance. Those who have been dancing for at least a year would take the beginning level workshops. This year, the club added intro to tango workshops for people who have never danced before. Participants can choose three of the seven workshops offered during the day that vary in difficulty from beginner to expert.

We realized last year that there were a lot of people that wanted to come, Brophy said. Its a really good opportunity for students that are interested in learning about Argentine Tango and the history of it.

The club will also host a free music jam for student musicians that will be lead by Argentine Tango DJ Momo Smitt on Saturday afternoon. This event will teach musicians how to play Argentine Tango music and how to play specifically for dancers.

Theres a certain kind geared toward just listening, its not really danceable because its more vocal, you have less hard beat, Brophy said. But for dancers you want to have a more hard beat that you can hear and dance to.

The festival started in 2011 after the cancelation of the Miami Tango Festival, which at the time was the only tango festival in the southeast.

Last year the festival had roughly 220 participants. This year Brophy said they are expecting 300.

Its actually pretty small for a festival, Brophy said. Some of the other bigger festivals in the country that have been longer running they get around five (or) six hundred. Well get there one day.

Brophy said most of their participants are not actually students.

The reason that we started the festival was to make Tango more accessible to students. If you go to private lessons or to group lessons its expensive. Going to festivals is the best way to learn, Brophy said. Theres not a lot of young people dancing in the southeast and we wanted to kick start a change for that by having a festival.

Tickets cost $90 for the weekend for students, or $45 a day. The costs cover travel, space and other costs incurred in putting on the event.

You get the best instructors all in one place and beyond classes dancing at the social events, the Milongas, its the best way to learn because its practical.

Students can visit or the groups Facebook page for more information.