Tango Sueño Connecticut Argentine Tango Academy
Policies and Code of Conduct 

By Gem Duras
June 1st, 2024

The mission of the Tango Sueño Academy is to train tango enthusiasts and professionals to dance authentic Argentine Tango in a fun, friendly and safe environment with qualified professional instructors. To achieve its mission, Tango Sueño Academy establishes the following policies and guidelines:

1. Group Classes

The classes are held with the schedule, pricing and locations described at the Tango Sueño Academy web site www.tangosueno.com. They are taught by Jorge Gem Duras as the sole instructor, except CT Tango Fest/Weekend where Dale Ellison (Tango Rojo) as guest. There are no assistants, and the comments or recommendations by any class participant is not endorsed by the instructor.

With many classes at multiple locations, various packages and discount options are offered to encourage dancers to increase their skill levels by practicing more.

1.1. Class Material and Levels

The class contents are designated as Beginner, Essentials, Intermediate, Advanced and Stage Tango. Since total beginners start tango at different times during the year, progressive session type of classes are not practical hence not offered. Instead there are two boot camps for beginners during the CT Tango Fest and CT Tango Weekend. Minimum one essentials class per week is recommended for all dancers regardless of their previous experience, as this is a good occasion to review social dance idioms that sometimes get forgotten. Beginners are welcome and encouraged to start with any Essentials class and catch up to the rest of the group.

Intermediate and Advanced classes involve more complicated tango steps and movements. Their goal is to improve the dancers’ tango technique and have them experience these difficult but fun idioms with guidance in the context of a class. They are open to anyone but the material is not made easier for less experienced dancers. Dancers new to Tango Sueño Academy are required to take at least one Essentials class during the week for at least two years, to be able to participate in the other levels during the same week.

1.2. Switching Partners

The group classes are designed for the students to learn to lead and follow properly by dancing with diverse partners. Therefore, switching partners is required for faster and better progress for all participants. Those who don't want to switch partners are encouraged to take privates instead. Moreover, auditing a class is the same price as taking it; why sit on the sidelines?

1.3. Close Embrace

Although Argentine Tango is known for its close and intimate embrace, however Tango Sueño Academy does not require it. In fact it is very awkward for example for a tall female to dance close embrace with a short man. Besides some females simply might not want to, and this should be respected by the leader. This is expanded upon in the Sexual Misconduct Policy section below.

1.4. Shoes

Appropriate shoes are required for classes. Most locations require dance shoes, as street shoes bring in the grime and street soil to the floor; besides, dance shoes are necessary for better tango. For new dancers leather sole shoes of any kind are acceptable, until tango shoes can be purchased.

1.5. Judgement Free Zone

Tango Sueño Academy is a judgement free zone. All the community members are encouraged to leave their egos outside and enjoy dancing! After all everyone is doing their best to improve their tango within their abilities.

2. Social Etiquette During Classes, Milongas and Practicas

The main goal of the Tango Sueño Academy is to train dancers to learn Argentine Tango as danced in the halls and stages of Buenos Aires. The tango tradition in Buenos Aires includes some strict rules and its own etiquette which are included in this section. However the guidelines listed here not only apply to Buenos Aires and Tango Sueño but they might also be helpful for other types of dance events anywhere.

2.1. Personal Grooming

Be mindful about your personal grooming. This is especially important at Tango Sueño group classes since switching partners is required. Don't forget the mint! Some perfume is good. If you are a smoker or tend to sweat heavily, please make sure to bring extra shirts or tops. At milongas it is always better to dress up then down. Please use your judgement and make an effort for proper grooming. After all, the tango is an experience which involves all human senses!

2.2. General Etiquette Towards Peers

Unsolicited or spontaneous advice to another classmate during a group class is not appropriate. For example, a less experienced student can ask their partner for input, but it is inappropriate to make unsolicited suggestions to another dancer during a group class. That is the job of the instructor. Moreover, criticizing another dancer’s look, weight, appearance, outfit or making “jokes” about them is inappropriate and rude.

After a dance in a class or milonga it is more appropriate to say "thank you", or "I enjoyed the dance" and respond with the same approach, "thank you" or "it was great to dance with you", instead of phrases like "good", "nice", “good job” or "you are welcome", as these come across as judgmental. After a performance it is best to acknowledge your class-mate’s work with a non-judgmental congratulation with phrases like “congratulations”, “great performance”, “you looked great out there” as well as picking a specific detail like “I loved your adornments”, “great speed” etc. Again, short judgmental phrases like “nice”, “good job”, should be avoided. After all there is always someone else better than you!

2.3. General Etiquette Towards an Instructor

The teacher student relationship is asymmetric like a doctor-patient, fitness trainer-trainee, or financial advisor-client relationship. One party is an expert in his or her field, making recommendations to the other party and gets paid for this service.

By taking a private lesson or a group class, the student submits themselves to the expertise and recommendations of the instructor. It is not a collaboration. An instructor's goal is to improve the dancing of the students. To achieve this goal, the instructor gives advice, proposes working methods, and makes recommendations. A student should not take these personally as a "criticism" as the instructor is doing his or her job. Those who get defensive about an instructor's suggestions should reflect and reevaluate why they are in the room at that moment.

Also remember that it is very inappropriate for a student to address a group class for any reason without the consent of the instructor.

2.4. Milonga and Practica Etiquette

Milongas are tango dance events with relatively strict and traditional rules. The music is played in groups dance sets called "tandas" and the dancers are expected to finish a “tanda” with the same partner once they start it. Not finishing the tanda implies discontent with the dance and/or the partner. Unless there is a serious problem, please finish the tanda with the same partner and say "thank you" at the end, avoiding judgemental phrases like "nice", "good job", "you are welcome" etc. If it was a special dance simply say so: "it was special for me" or "I really enjoyed the dance". During milongas, instruction, advice giving, stopping in the middle of the dance floor and discussing steps are totally inappropriate. FInally, good grooming and an elegant outfit are essential.

Practica is a vague term, and the etiquette is relatively flexible. It is acceptable to give input to each other, and even unsolicited advice might be appropriate if your partner is receptive. If as a recipient you don't want to hear from your partner, don't hesitate to clarify and explain, for example as "I would rather not receive your input", and if that does not work please call the instructor, or avoid dancing with that person. In any case it is a good habit to ask the instructor for advice as an arbiter. As long as the partners agree you can discuss and try various tango steps during a practica.

3. Sexual Misconduct Policy

Tango Sueño Academy strives to be free of sexual misconduct, therefore such behavior won't be tolerated. In the context of tango activities, sexual misconduct not only involves inappropriate touching but also lewd comments and sexual jokes that might make another community member uncomfortable. Please think about the word “consent” and its implications in the context of tango.

Argentine tango creates some gray areas since its close embrace creates actual physical contact. At tango activities mutual consent is implied and understood once the parties agree to dance, however it is important to observe some limits: Note that the consent is valid during the dance itself and once the dance is over, the embrace and the consent is over too. Moreover, during the dance, it is important to adhere to social dance style unless you already know your partner and have previous consent.

For example, at a milonga which is a venue for social dance, it is inappropriate to hold a partner's leg during the dance without previous consent. The limits are significantly broader for the performance/choreography class since the hands are used for lifts, poses, and other choreographed idioms, but one cannot apply these idioms to social dance with a partner they have never danced before. Simply ask your partner if you want to try performance type of idioms and if they are OK with it. In another example, during classes it is inappropriate to hold or touch your partner’s legs by hand, as if to try to lead or correct a movement.

A good guideline is to be aware of where the hands are; they are supposed to stay at a tango dancing position unless there is prior consent.

Also it is not appropriate for the leader to force the follower to a close embrace. Even though close embrace is one of the defining aspects of tango, in an environment of changing partners it is sometimes very awkward. The most obvious example is a very tall woman dancing with a short man; it is more appropriate to dance open in this case. Besides, some dancers might simply want to dance open for their own reasons, and might not consent to close embrace or prevent it by using their arms. The leader cannot and should not impose close embrace to the follower if she does not want it.

For verbal comments and jokes, use common sense, and avoid sexually explicit language at tango classes, milongas and practicas. The use of swearing words such as the "s" word "f" word, etc is not appropriate, even if not meant as an insult. Repeat offenders at Tango Sueño events will be warned and might be asked to leave the activity.

A dance activity can be a good venue to meet others and even romantic partners too. The right way to proceed is to ask your partner out and meet somewhere else to get to know each other.

For this policy to be functional it is very important to inform the management, as sometimes dancers endure harassment for long time without any hint. So please inform me (Gem Duras) of any inappropriate behavior, it will be kept confidential and will be addressed as soon as possible. 

4. Diversity and Hate Speech Policy

Tango Sueño Academy encourages and celebrates diversity and welcomes dancers of all races, ethnic origins, religions, ages, genders, and sexual orientations. Any hateful speech, hateful behavior or such implication towards others based on race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender and sexual orientation will not be tolerated. If such an incident occurs the offender will be asked to leave. As always please don't hesitate to inform me (Gem Duras) of any inappropriate behavior.

5. Outside Activities

Although the goal is to create a friendly environment, Tango Sueño is not a social club or a non-profit; it is a “Dance Studio” with multiple locations. Actively promoting non-endorsed outside activities, commercial products and any other business is not allowed during any Tango Sueño Acedemy event. Asking a classmate to go to another event is fine and welcome. However, for example actively collecting other students' contacts to send bulk e-mails about other events is not allowed.

A good test is to imagine this scenario: distributing Dunkin’ literature or asking people for their e-mails to send Dunkin’ promotions would be inappropriate at a Starbucks store. Similarly, it is also inappropriate to distribute any literature without permission at Tango Sueño events even if they are not related to tango. It is OK to discuss your profession with other dancers, and even get clients, but it is inappropriate to actively promote it. If in doubt, please ask.

6. Voluntary Contribution and Referral Policy

Although referrals of new students and willingness to contribute such as additional food at Milongas are appreciated, Tango Sueño Academy does not offer any kind of compensation for them. This policy is designed to eliminate any impression of a business partnership that does not actually exist as well as to clarify any misunderstanding that might arise due to false expectations. Please don’t bring food to share to classes without prior discussion. Even if this is well intended, the food remnants will have to be cleaned and the class flow will be disrupted. If you want to bring food or drinks to any event, please ask in advance to see if that is OK. And thank you for your referrals!

7. Privacy Policy, and E-mail Announcements

Tango Sueño Academy values the privacy of the community members and makes every effort to protect it. Only your email and phone number information are stored. This information is used only within the Tango Sueño affiliate environment, including the CT Tango Fest and Weekend, as well as Tango Rojo in the context of the annual Buenos Aires trip. Your contact information is never shared with anyone or any other third party without your permission. Your credit card information is never stored by Tango Sueño Acedemy, although it might be stored on the servers of payment processing companies such as Square, Venmo and PayPal.

The community members receive emails at various frequencies depending on their activity level and their location. A newsletter is sent every Monday to active students, as well as a milonga announcement, if there is any. Other e-mails are sent to inform the attendees of specific classes, CT Tango Fest and Weekend. To reduce the number of emails, those who don’t attend any events are placed on a different “less frequent” list. This does not mean that in this situation you are not welcome back to classes or milongas. Moreover, if you stop receiving e-mails,  please check your spam folder. You can always opt-out of the mailing list, however regulars are expected to stay in the announcement list to receive information about the dates and activities, just like being enrolled in a college.

8. Health and COVID-19 Policy

Tango Sueño Academy strives to provide a healthy environment for all participants, and recommends heeding the advice of the scientific and medical community. After four difficult years, COVID-19 appears to have become one of the bugs that keep circulation in the community; and the related Federal Health Emergency has been over since May 2023.

However there are many other viruses such as FLU, RSV which also circulate and the lessons learned during the pandemic should not be forgotten. Please don't come to class if you are sick. If you are not sure, wear a mask which should be seen as a routine safety measure. Cough or sneeze into your arm or elbow, and wash your hands thoroughly. Use a hand sanitizer frequently and avoid touching your nose during a tango event. In addition to its safety implications this is simply bad manners anyway!

To protect your own health consult with your doctor and get the relevant vaccinations. No: vaccines don't cause autism and they protect you and your fellow dancers from illness. If you have other medical conditions and are vulnerable don't hesitate to wear a mask for your own protection.

9. Conclusion

I hope this document clarifies the Tango Sueño Academy policies and serves as a guideline for creating great tango memories. Please don't hesitate to ask any questions privately or publicly at any class, and let me know if anything else should be included.

Besos - Gem Duras