The Tango Challenge

This vision of this program is that people experience harmony with themselves, with others, and with the larger community as they learn to tango.

Through the course we cultivate the relationships that enable each participant to become fully absorbed in the tango learning process. 

The program provides a container that supports local exploration of classes, lessons, and tango events. It does not replace local tango activities — it adds a supportive, complementary dimension. 

We work in collaboration with local tango teachers, organizers, and peer-mentor dancers all over the country. 

What You Will Learn

Tango Movement

Able to connect with another dancer, with the music, and the space, to improvise a Tango in a public setting. Understanding of the basic techniques. Able to distinguish between kinds and styles of Tango.

Tango Music

Able to synchronize movement to music, identify basic properties of Tango music, and distinguish between important orchestras and among the sub-genres of tango, milonga, and vals music by ear. Able to articulate what kind of Tango music you resonate most with personally.

Tango Culture

Track awareness of your inner state and evaluate its usefulness in supporting your Tango. Purposefully cultivate the personal qualities that support Tango dancing and practice, grounded in the traditional culture of Tango. Learn how to connect with yourself and with a partner.


What's Required

Here is what is involved: 

  • Read and reflect on content you receive weekly and engage in explorations related to music, culture, connection, dance

  • Attend your weekly check-in (1 hour, scheduled to be convenient for all cohort members) 

  • Attend at least 2 group classes in your community each week

  • Attend 1-2 practicas in your community every week

  • Be on time and prepared for your 15-minute Mini-Lesson with your teacher at practica

  • Be on time and prepared for your 15-minute practice time with your buddy at practica

  • Final recital opportunity at a local event









What You Get

A cohort. You will be part of a cohort of people who are also learning tango and are here to support one another's individual journeys.

A facilitator: Your cohort will be matched to an seasoned facilitator to provide context and share a wider, deeper perspective on tango and learning. 

A buddy: You will be paired with an experienced tango dancer from your local community who will practice with you a little each week and support your explorations. 

A teacher, and a 15-minute mini-lesson: You will be matched to an expert, professional teacher in your community, who will give you a brief lesson every week

A curriculum: You will receive detailed, substantive content every week relating to subtle and very important dimensions of the tango experience, along with explorations so you can deepen your understanding. These include: 

  • Practices on how to work with music and video
  • Curated playlists of great tango music to explore
  • Curated video lists of dancing to watch
  • Personal practices to support connecting with self and others
  • Material on history and culture that affects our tango
  • Details on etiquette along with context for why we use it

A recital: You will have the opportunity to perform with a partner from the community in a public recital. We will support you in the process of finding a partner comfortably. 


Tuition and Materials

Please read carefully!

  • Challenge Tuition, covering the curriculum team experience, community support, mini-lessons, and graduation is around $200/month, plus an enrollment fee of $100.

  • You'll also need an membership or the equivalent to cover 1-2 local group classes and 1 practica each week. This can be around $100-$150/month. 

  • A pair of appropriate shoes for Tango dancing that you get before the course begins

  • An internet-enabled computer and an ability to listen to digital music

  • Required course materials including music and books we recommend, up to $55

In the words of past participants...

"Taking the challenge helped me overcome my doubts because I have a great supported system, and I have a team of newbies to be by my side. The discovery of the deep connectedness and deep self love through the dance became such a powerful experience." - Kim

"I had a very incredible growth in my tango abilities, I learned how to help someone begin dancing tango and how to immerse myself in the ideas behind the dance...A quick launch into a beautiful dance. Many new friends. A way to move forward with tango." - Andre, mechanical engineer

"The recital was awesome!" - Jack, entrepreneur

"I feel much more confident in my tango, from a technique but more importantly from a mental standpoint. The experience was invaluable in my understanding of the tango community and gaining perspective into both tango as a dance but also as a philosophy." - Terry, scientist

"I absolutely needed the cumulative structure, the immersion, the camaraderie, the commitment, the focused, ongoing attention from a patient and sensitive teacher."  - Sarah, V/O actor

"The Tango Challenge gave me a sound tango foundation in the mechanics of tango movement, mind/body awareness, and, most importantly, set me on a path of continual learning of this dance." - Shane, writer 

"The Oxygen Tango Challenge is the best program to learn Tango for beginners and intermediates. I learned essential fundamentals of tango, made new friends, performed an unforgettable performance at the challenge graduation in 3 months. I highly recommend to experience this wonderful program." - Dong Sung, HIV researcher

“The Tango Challenge helped bring to me a social confidence and recognition of the connections we share with each other. The Challenge also forged great friendships with my challenge-mates as well as the community in general. ” — Kris, Software Engineer

"The small group enabled us to develop a close, trusting bond in which we can share our challenges and how we were able to effectively deal with them as well as to celebrate each other's 'wins.' We were able to grow and evolve together and we became very close. The pairing with a more experienced tango 'buddy; and a graduation dance partner were also very beneficial. It made me realize that I can learn from every person I dance with and that there are many experienced dancers who are generous enough to coach and mentor others." —Dorothy D. 

“I made life-long friends with whom I shared the challenges and rewards of learning tango. The challenge helped me to focus better on the connection, get over my fears and anxieties and boosted my confidence because I could see that I was really making progress.” — Sergio, Film Editor

“The Tango Challenge is one of the best things I’ve ever been given the opportunity to do. I’ve thought that from the first meeting to the last, and I still think so a few days after the challenge has ended. I am so grateful to you for creating this program and conducting it with such love, wit, skill, dedication, and grace.” — Vin, Professor

“The Tango challenge was life-changing for me. Learning Tango parallels living life in so many ways. I experienced deep personal growth, overcame fears, excelled at a skill rapidly because of a deep commitment to it, and made a new family of friends.” — Annette, Administrative Assistant

"This is a seriously amazing program!" - Richa

"Argentine Tango was completely new to me and Tango Challenge taught me many aspects of Tango from footwork to identifying and feeling the music to learning the history of tango and meeting new friends. It is a commitment, and worth it." - Carol, Minneapolis

"The Tango Challenge [led by Sabine Ibes in Minneapolis] is the perfect combination of push to learn the music, the culture, and the dance, and handholding and hints as one prepares to attend their first milonga and beyond." - Tom, Minneapolis

How much time does it take?

It takes 5-8 hours per week, including independent work. 

Do I need a partner?

You will meet many partners in your team and at the school. You do not need a partner to sign up.

Who teaches the Tango Challenge?

Tango Challenges are led by facilitators we endorse, and by their local teams.

Who will be my partner?

One of the things you’ll be learning is how to invite someone to be your Tango partner. We’ll walk you through the process step by step.

Can I sign up with a friend?

Yes, sure! Please note, though, that part of learning Tango is becoming integrated with the larger community. Both of you should be ready to switch partners and roles in most classes and practicas, because this accelerates your learning. And, you will each invite someone different, from outside the team, to partner you for your final recital.

What if I have to miss part of it?

You must make up what you miss. Most people can complete the requirements of the Tango Challenge even if they have to miss up to 14 days. The key is communicating early and often with your facilitator. 

Which classes can I take?

You can take any endorsed by your local Tango Challenge facilitator.

When can I start dancing at milongas?

As soon as you feel like it! The Challenge has some built-in milonga excursions.  

Can I talk to someone who’s done it?

Of course! Please contact Mitra, the Program Director, at 310-854-2466, and she will put you in touch with an alum. 

How should I prepare?

Get some real Tango shoes you’re in love with. They should be beautiful and comfortable. Either leather or suede soles are fine. Everyone's feet have different needs, so be sure to get the support and consider arch support. Firm, low-heeled (2-inches or less), closed-toed or peep-toed shoes for ladies are ideal. Flat, narrow, leather-soled dress shoes for men work great. 

Yes! I am ready for my challenge! 

Mitra Martin & Stefan Fabry

Mitra was a Tango festival addict for years. When Mitra settled down in Los Angeles, she wanted to bring some of the joy, depth, and quality of connection that she loved about the Tango festival scene to her new home.

At the time, Stefan was getting into tango and frustrated by what he felt was a very confusing and inefficient learning experience compared to the tightly organized modern dance training he experienced in Germany.

Together they formed The Global Tango Mar Vista Center for Tango Arts and Extremes and started exploring new approaches to learning and community building. 

They experimented with many programs, playing with frequency, duration, group size, curriculum, and formats. Along the way, they decided to establish a tango school, Oxygen Tango. Finally, they finally found a formula that clicked. That became the Tango Challenge! 

The Tango Challenge has grown and evolved with many contributions from its coaches, teachers at Oxygen, assistant facilitators, and Challenge students, buddies, and alumni and other members of the O2 community and the larger tango community. It continues to evolve to bring together the most effective approaches to tango learning available! 

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Hall of Fame - Tango Challenge Facilitators

The Tango Challenge has been facilitated by Mitra Martin, Fabienne Bongard, Stefan Fabry, Sabine Ibes. It has been adapted and offered in collaboration with Oxygen TangoCaltech Tango Club in Pasadena, CA and Tango & I in Minneapolis. It is a remarkably effective way to grow and develop your tango community. We are very happy to provide dedicated, caring, enthusiastic, hardworking teaching community organizers the opportunity to grow your community with this beautiful program!