Argentine tango in Dubai

We visit Latin Soul Dubai’s new TECOM studio

The studio
The building in which the studio is housed doesn’t have its named on the front, so can be tricky to find, although there’s a helpful map on the website if you don’t know the area. Inside, the studio is spacious, clean and well air-conditioned, with a wall of mirrors along one side and plenty of light – essential if you have two left feet at the best of times.

The class
I’ve opted for a private lesson with Latin Soul’s founders, husband-and-wife team Cesar and Elizabeth (pictured), who have been teaching Argentine tango in the UAE since December 2001. It’s far more varied than the more common ballroom tango, a result of greater diversity within the music.

Step by step
After being introduced to Elizabeth and Cesar, I assure them that this is the first time I’ve ever attempted any kind of tango. I’m shown two basic steps, before speedily being invited to step up myself. As I don’t own any lace-up dancing shoes, I’ve opted for plimsolls (against their advice), which means I’m about to spend the entire hour dancing on my tip toes, though looking decidedly less lithe and graceful than Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing.

The lesson moves surprisingly quickly, incorporating an increasing number of moves following every step I manage to master. Despite a few stumbles, a subconscious reluctance to allow Cesar to lead and some clumsy footwork at times, my instructors are vocal in their praise, and appear impressed with how quickly I pick up each new combination. By the end, I’ve danced two full songs with almost no mistakes, and cultivated a sizeable ego in the process.

The results
While I won’t be entering competitions any time soon, I’ve gained a real understanding of the basics, and Cesar and Elizabeth’s encouragement has left me convinced that this is something I actually want to take further – if only as a fun release two evenings a week.

• With just one lesson, I notice I’m holding myself differently afterwards – my often slouchy posture is much better.
• It’s a great way to get some light exercise without even thinking about it.

• It’s hard to think of any downsides, save for the fact that tango won’t appeal to everyone.

Also try…

Ritmo De Havana
Try an introductory salsa course with classes every Saturday and Tuesday at 9pm.
Dhs800 for 12 sessions, Dhs500 for six. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates (050 696 3520).

Arthur Murray
This ballroom centre offers a free sample class.
Call to book. 201 Reef Tower, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 448 6458); Souk Al Bahar (04 450 8648).

Lisa Dance Dubai
Give tap dance a try at this centre, which runs classes including Grade 1 sessions on Mondays at 4.35pm.
Trial Dhs65, term Dhs780. Emirates Golf Club (050 875 4982).

Private lessons Dhs250 for singles, Dhs375 for couples. Beginner group classes Dhs80 per session or Dhs900 for 15 classes. Beginner classes Sun and Wed 8.30pm-10pm. Latin Soul Dubai, Icon Tower, TECOM, (050 474 6249)

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