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Are you crazy enough to compete in a tango competition?

  • Dance in front of the entire community and hundreds of spectators?
  • Put yourself against experienced dancers from different cities, states, and countries?
  • Get stressed the hell out for something that’s supposed to be fun?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then YOU my friend, might be just crazy enough.

But let’s combine that crazy with a bit of “calculated” to prepare you for this exciting adventure.

1. Requirements

Tango competitions are actually quite simple:

  • Social categories (NEW: tango de pista (pro/am), tango de pista, vals, milonga, senior tango jack & jill) – they pick music and you dance improvised
  • Stage categories (escenario, group escenario) – you pick the song, and dance using pre-rehearsed choreography.

Other rules:

  • There isn’t an official “competition tango style,” you technically can dance any style you want and with any moves you want, but typically “tango de pista” is generally the look that does best. If that label isn’t clear, think of the following: [mostly] close-ish embrace, elegant, clean, connected, mature, musical, strong stage presence.
  • You can dress however you like but keep it elegant and classy.

Official competition rules are here.

2. Finding a competition partner

Because “it takes two to tango” (DUH!), you’re gonna need a partner in crime. Your ride-or-die tango companion. The person you practice with, scheme up crazy ideas, and bask in the limelight with.

We’ll assume you already have someone or a few people in mind. It ain’t easy. Just figure it out. Ask them to practice, invite them to workshops, and if it isn’t already obvious…try to dance with them a lot. Ok fine…you can also ask that one person you never even spoke to (and who lives on the other side of town)…just fire up your Facebook Messenger and ask them if they’d like to compete with you. There are tango partnerships formed in much weirder ways than this.

3. Registration

What does it take to sign up? You going to the registration page (with your driver’s license or other ID handy, also your partner’s). Helpful registration tips below…

Sign up for multiple categories!

Do not be that one couple that signs up for only one category. You’ll be kicking yourself the day of when you see other couples running back and forth with excitement before each category. You’ve already invested your time, bought the outfits, showed up to the event…you should have all the fun possible.

Sign up early (for maximum savings)

It’s just a matter of finances. Registration fees are lower when you sign up early.

Get your accommodations ASAP

It doesn’t matter if you live in LA. Get a hotel or some place to stay that’s as close as possible to the venue. It’ll make your life 100 times easier to prepare, run back and forth, even pick up things you left in your room. That extra time is crucial. It’s extra sleeping time, eating time, preparation time, or even resting time.

4. Tell the world

It’s pretty exciting news that you’re competing…but who should you tell?

  • Tango teachers – they’ll likely give your more attention and tips now knowing that you’re representing them in public. Hahaha.
  • Tango friends – [real] friends love supporting. So tell them so they can commit to be there on your big day.
  • Non-tango friends/family – same reason as above. Tell them so they can come support or at least send positive wishes on your big day.

5. Practicing

Competition preparation may seem like a terrifying ordeal if you’ve never done a competition before. It feels like you’re supposed to know some kind of official routine. But in reality, there isn’t one.

Just work on the same elements you would as in your regular dancing:

  • Connection
  • Technique
  • Musicality
  • Aesthetic

If you’re a wild couple, work on staying more calm. Or if you’re already a calm couple, try adding a few explosive (or more “expressive”) moves to your repertoire. Work on your strengths, round out your weaknesses. What more is there to say?

6. Competing

Most competitors arrived an hour or two before they compete. That usually means 5-6pm on the day/days that you compete.

  • Most folks will get dressed AND THEN warm-up and practice. This allows you to warm-up in your actual outfits.
  • Some others do the opposite, practicing first and then changing into their outfits right before they go up. This allows you to practice when the practice area is less crowded, and also hide your outfits from competitors until the very last second (a psychologically ploy).

7. Post competition

  • Thank your teachers, friends, and family for all their support.
  • Congratulate the event and winners.
  • Share all your sexy photos.
  • Prepare for next year. 🙂