Tango your heart out

They say it takes two to tango, but the experience is a lot more fun when you can do it with an entire group of people.

The downtown Manhattan-based dance studio, Jeni Breen Tango Academy has been serving smooth moves, since 2013, to all who are willing to learn.

According to Central Home, Tango originated in Spain or Morocco and eventually made it’s way to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tango styles vary in different parts of the world, as there’s Argentinian, French, Gaucho and International. Regardless of style, many find it a unique and fun dance to learn, not to mention like all dancing, it is a great way to exercise.

Research shows that dancing improves balance, mood, and benefits hearth health and weight control. 

“Learning Tango does not depend on size or body type,” said Jeni Breen, dancer and owner of the academy. “Tango is first and foremost a walking dance so people at various levels of fitness can participate! And if you continue with the dance the practice of it will develop strength and flexibility, particularly in your legs and core.”

Breen offers expert teaching on Tango (Photo: Jeni Breen Tango Academy).

Breen is a trained modern dancer, and has a background working as a choreographer. During her career, she has danced for a dance company, and choreographed dances for plays, films, musicals and opera productions. While working on a project, she stumbled upon Argentine tango and discovered a passion for the dance style. Since, she’s had the opportunity to learn and study under some of the greats in the industry. After her education, she served as a director of an Argentine Tango and Salsa program before opening the Jeni Breen Tango Academy in 2013. She says she is “one of the most experienced teachers of Argentine Tango in NYC” and thus brings a unique “depth and range of experience” that few can compete with.

I am one of the most experienced teachers of Argentine Tango in NYC and bring a depth and range of experience in dance that few of them can share! I am known for the clarity of my teaching, patience, and the fact that I can make this dance accessible and fun!

“I wake up every day excited about being able to share my knowledge and love for this gorgeous dance, and to welcome new people into the international community of Tango dancers,” Breen said.

Working alongside Breen is dancer and instructor Matthew Liam O’Toole who began his dancing career in Europe. When he’s not creating music (he’s a classical, country, blues, and rock musician) you can find him tangoing on the dance floor. O’Toole has been teaching the dance style for almost two decades, and has experience teaching in renowned studios in New York and San Francisco.

A group class learns the Tango (Photo: Jeni Breen Tango Academy).

With Breen and O’Toole’s combined background and experiences, you’ll be in good hands whether you’re learning your first steps, or fine tuning your talents.

The Tango academy offers both group courses and private lessons for its students in classic Argentine Tango. Their full program of study is create with beginner to advanced students in mind.

“We also offer group classes and private lessons in Tango’s playful, rhythmically driven relative, Milonga,” Breen added.

If you’re really getting the swing of things and want to get out of the house, the academy also hosts a free party once a week where students can showcase and practice their skills. They also occasionally hold special workshops and classes to make sure their students are getting all the practice they can, as it might not always be easy to find a venue to throw on your dancing shoes and hit the floor.

Most classes at the Jeni Breen Tango Academy are arranged in semester course style as you probably will not be able to master everything in just an hour. Their “beginner’s special” is a great deal as you get to attend up to three classes per week during a four week session for $95 (a single course typically costs $95 at the studio).

For those who are on the intermediate or advanced level, two classes per week for a session (all sessions are four weeks long) runs at about $155, while three classes per week costs $185. Once you really know what you’re doing, you can sign up for unlimited (four or more classes per week) for $205.

Their website also has more information on “drop in” and private classes, if that seems more appealing to you.

Students on a budget can also get 20% off with a valid ID, which is always a win.

You will want to plan ahead if you are going to register, as you have to work around the scheduled session dates. But you are guaranteed to get a unique and immersive experience at Jeni Breen Tango Academy.

“This dance is not for someone who lacks curiosity about other people and cultures,” Breen said. “It requires some patience with yourself and your partners as you develop your skills; a sense of adventure and a sense of humor tend to help!”