Skip to main content

Get ready for the adrenaline rush!

It was just 9 months ago when over 100 brave competitors bared their souls out on the dance floor at SCTC 2017. We all had fun and some even went home with fancy prizes. What have we learned and what should we expect for SCTC 2018?

Here’s why you should be excited for the SCTC 2018 competition season: 


Participation in tango competitions has increased all over the US and around the world in the past few years. Aside from our own Southern California Tango Championship (Los Angeles), there’s the OFFICIAL USA Tango Championship (San Francisco), Mountain States Tango Competition (Denver), Red Carpet Tango Competition (Las Vegas), did we miss anyone? 

Only a few years ago, this seemed all but impossible with the anti-competition stigma prevalent in some tango communities. But like other stigmas in tango history (stage tango, tango nuevo, tango competition, women leading, and so forth), they are easily overcome when they serve the greater good. Competitions provide dancers the perfect opportunity to grow, enjoy, and challenge themselves in the dance. Read this post on tango competitions by the great Ariadna Naveira.

We’re excited for the growing interest in tango competition and hope to be as accommodating as possible to all potential competitors.


We’ve heard your feedback and worked for months to make our competitions even more exciting. Fair judging, more prizes, and even more categories! We’ve also got tons of sneaky updates that aren’t yet public.

At this very moment, we have 7 official competition categories at SCTC 2018:

  • Tango Salon – dance 3 random tango songs each round in your improvised social tango style
  • Vals – dance 3 random vals songs (improvised)
  • Milonga – dance 3 random milonga songs (improvised)
  • Tango Senior – same as tango salon but both partners are at least 55 years of age, OR one partner is at least 55 and the younger one cannot be more than 15 years younger
  • Tango Stage – dance any song of your choice using choreography
  • Group Stage – 3 to 6 couples dancing a chosen song using choreography
  • Pelando Variación (NEW) – dance just 16 counts of the fast part of any chosen song, using choreography

NEW CATEGORY – Pelando Variación

This is the exciting new competition category hosted by Oliver Kolker. This is basically “THE SLAM DUNK COMPETITION OF TANGO”. It’s basically a stage competition showcasing the fastest and most challenging part of tango choreography–THE FAST PART!

  • You dance 16-counts of choreography to the variación (the fast “climax”) of any song you want.
  • Competitors will typically dance the song from about 8 counts before the variación and dance through the variación into the end of the song.
  • For more info and registration, please see the Pelando Varición website.


If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a chance. Dancing in front of your friends (and even total strangers) can be the most exhilarating thing. First, you get to stress out about improving all year long (or for the last-minute registrants—just 2 weeks). Next, you get to drive your partner crazy shopping for “potential outfits” every weekend. And finally, you get to crap your pants right when they call your name. It sounds crazy…but this is part of the fun! Afterwards, you get to watch your videos and marvel at how you looked so much better than you thought you would.

Where else would you get the opportunity to perform as an amateur? In other dances (and performing arts), there are always community showcases of some sort. But in tango, organizers would rather showcase a visiting professional than an amateur from their own local community. That’s more or less how the market works.

Competing is especially exciting for first-timers as well. Most surprising of all, we’ve heard many dancers never get all that nervous once they’re out on the dance floor. Many were able to dance like themselves as early as 30 seconds into the first song. Most of the nerves competitors experience are during the hour right before they get called out. Once they hit the floor and start moving, they’ll perform almost as comfortably as they do in practice (albeit with a lot of extra adrenaline). Unsurprisingly, the number one regret that many first time competitors had was not doing more categories!!


Last year, we gave away over $10,000 worth of prizes in the form of cash, trophies, gift certificates, clothes, shoes, festival passes, and even flights to Buenos Aires. We are proud to announce an increase in prize offerings this year.

  • See our current list of competition prizes (still being updated).
  • Would you like to SPONSOR? Please contact us if you would like to sponsor some prizes and also receive business promotion.


Competition is a great experience for aspiring professionals. You get a chance to practice performing in public without it being put on your official “record” of performances. Aside from being a great dry run for your future tango career, competitions can also look good on your resume. Having the title of being a “tango champion” doesn’t automatically make you a good dancer but can help you find students, performance gigs, and other opportunities to grow your dance. Some of the most popular traveling instructors today made their name on competition.


We’ve created a list of local instructors throughout the USA that specialize in competition training. Here you will find their class schedule, contact info, and also any special competition workshops or stage training they have coming up.

  • STUDENTS: please see our list of local instructors.
  • INSTRUCTORS: please let us know if you’d like to be added and/or need to update information. (Note: although we appreciate all styles of tango, this list is intended for competition-style instructors only.)


In addition to last year’s helpful competition guides, we are secretly preparing a new list of topics to help all competitors dance at their very best. The topics are still currently under wraps but you are welcome to suggest any that you find interesting!

Last year’s blog guides:

Stay connected with us on social media and join our email newsletter (at the bottom of this website) to get the latest competition updates.