Buenos Aires – Studying Tango at DNI
Up to 2013 my tango learning process has been influenced by individual teachers in BA and Germany, with whom I usually worked for a certain period of time in private lessons. Group classes I take very rarely, organizing an adequate partner is a tough process and I feel I take much more out of privates.
Recommended by some of my favorite dance partners throughout Europe I decided the first time in 2013 to give DNI a try, knowing that argentine tango teachers usually advise against it.
DNI welcomes the student with an overall very structured, friendly, and feel good approach. Arriving at a reception desk with warmhearted and patient people who do not mind answering the same set of questions a thousand times a day with a big smile in the face. Walking in on your left is the tango shop located with a wide range of tango shoes (DNI design, heels, trainers, sneakers) and clothes for both men and women. Recently they opened another shop, which is on located Lavalle, about 8 blocks from DNI.
Straight ahead you find a restaurant with a kind of sophisticated kitchen and a well stocked bar, where u can get smoothies, home-made cookies, salads, sandwiches, pasta, as well as some main dishes, and hang around with friends, teachers, or by yourself. Somebody plays guitar, strangers talk to you. A really relaxing place ist the rooftop, although too hot in summer times!
Study in privates follows a specific DNI teaching approach. You start with a private class with a teacher of your choice (if u book early enough in high season), or with one who is available. Teachers give maximum 4 privates a day, so slots are limited. In the lesson the teacher dances usually 2 warm-up-tangos with you (there are more teacher/student couples in the room), and then start to work with you on any topic you wish or she/he chooses. After having one lesson you will be booked for 2 hours of so-called private practica (if not otherwise requested from you), which means mainly dancing with (other) teachers. Since they talk to each other, there is a smooth transfer of the topic of your lesson, what you need to exercise, and the practica teacher will include many sequences to practise the new learned movements. She/he will as well give some corrections, but significantly less than in a lesson. Prices for private practicas are lower than for lessons, both vary depending on teacher’s experience (as of march 2016 starting from 350 up to 800 arg. pesos). Compared to other teachers in town these are quite fair prices.
For me this approach worked very well, because the body and mind get a chance to focus on the changes, and to integrate it to dances with different partners. Since u will have classes and practica with many different teachers, you will be able to adapt on different styles, heights, embraces, and still work on your topic.
DNI teaches in a consistent, DNI specific system called TTC, so they have some special ideas about certain movements in tango. The technique is in some points different from the stuff I learned so far, but one experiences this with every new teacher. I like the idea about natural movements. But if u expect to be DNI the “tango nuevo school “- it’s not anymore. Sure they teach big movements if you want, but I experienced a lot of close embrace dancing, tiny steps, and they focus a lot on connection and energy flow. DNI copes with actual developments in tango very well.
The quality of the teachers is overall very good, with the usual personal preferences everybody is developing with time. You can always change hours if there is space, you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance without cancellation fee. The staff is always willing to fulfill your personal wishes, regarding times, teachers, and topics of work.
There are many group classes a swell, but since I did not attend many I can only say that I expected the level a bit higher than it was (i have seen tango 5/6 and 6/7), but this might change a lot since many students are travelers from america, europe, russia, and asia, and 3 weeks later it can be a whole new audience with different level. Group classes where quite crowded (in jan-march period). I recommend to come in a couple, because there are single dancers, but mostly way more followers than leaders.
What is especially helpful for tango travelers having only 2 or 3 weeks of vacation: you can write to DNI in advance, and they make you a schedule based on your preferences, so u know what to expect from the very first day, and you don’t lose days with organizing your tango lessons. Surprisingly classes begin mostly on time, so be there on time!
Lessons are given in english or spanish. Rooms have wooden floors and (a sometimes working, sometimes not working) aircon. You can take classes in contemporary dance for tango dancers, yoga for tango dancers, folklore, and alternative tango as well. There are no specific ladies technique classes, but technique classes for both leaders and followers, as well as classes on musicality, professional dance training, close embrace dancing, dancing in crowded milongas, ….
Overall I can strongly recommend DNI. I have been very skeptical, but I loved to be there, to study and hang around, and I like very much the progress I made. For more info see their website, DNI Tango.