Portland Tango Festival

Absolute Beginners

October 12 & October 13 2018

Portland boasts one of the largest and well respected tango communities in North America! Come experience for yourself the magic of this passionate and captivating dance. We’ve designed two evenings of “Bite Size Tango” to appeal to absolute beginners and provide a gentle introduction to tango.


  • Learn the basics in an introductory tango class with your partner to (no experience necessary)
  • Socialize with fellow first-time dancers during happy hour at the Jupiter Next Hotel, Main Ballroom
  • Enjoy an up close, private performance by local Argentine Tango dancers
  • Experience an evening of Tango in Portland by attending the Las Naifas Milonga
  • See amazing dance performances by professional Argentine Tango dancers
  • Take advantage of a discounted price if you acquire a ticket by September 30, 2018


  • Take an introductory tango class with your partner to learn the basics (no experience necessary)
  • Socialize with fellow first-time dancers at the happy hour at the Norse Hall in the Norse Lodge Room.
  • Attend the Grand Ball
  • Hear and see live music by the Alex Krebs Orchestra
  • See amazing dance performances by professional Argentine Tango dancers
  • Take advantage of a discounted price if you acquire a ticket by September 30, 2018

Both packages are designed for you to come as a couple, with a partner, friend or a date!

Bite Size Tango for Two
from 80.00

Enjoy an evening of dance with your partner or a friend. This package is for couples only.


Add To Cart

How do I sign up?

Registration for the Bite Size is open. You can register by choosing the night on the right-hand side of this page.

Where? When?


Saturday October 13, 2018

  • Norse Hall,  111 NE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 
  • Norse Lodge Room
  • The class starts at 8:00pm, followed by happy hour
  • Around 9:45pm entrance to the Milonga
  • Live music will start at 10:00pm
  • Performances will happen at around 11:00pm.

Friday October 12, 2018

  • Jupiter Hotel NEXT, 900 E Burnside St, Portland, OR   
  • The NEXT Ballroom
  • The class starts at 4:00 pm, followed by happy hour
  • Around 5:15pm Local Tango Dancers will perform.
  • Las Naifas Milonga will start at 9:00pm, Norse Hall Ballroom
  • Performances will happen at around 11:00pm.


The Milonga, which is the way tango dancers call the party where the social dancing happens, ends at 6am, but, don't worry, you do not need to stay so late. We hope that you will stay at least to see the wonderful shows with our excellent tango teachers.

Who is our instructor?

  Elizabeth Wartluft

Elizabeth Wartluft

Elizabeth Wartluft started teaching Argentine Tango at the University of Oregon in 1996, with some of the first tango-for-credit classes in the USA. Her former students teach all over the world. She has taught in Portland since 2008.

Elizabeth brings her experience studying many forms of dance, as well as her training in yoga and human anatomy, to her teaching. She focuses on body-based learning, letting the body find efficient and natural ways of moving in tango. She encourages new dancers to use the skills they have from other life experiences, to help them learn tango.

Elizabeth believes that tango should be fun! Elizabeth uses games and explorations of movement to find the energy, joy and musicality that make tango playful as well as sensual and expressive. Her goal is to make you feel comfortable out on the dance floor as soon as possible, so that you can have fun dancing while you continue to learn tango over time.

For more information visit Elizabeth's website: www.elizabethwartlufttango.com.


Dress to Impress! Here are some general guidelines to help you feel comfortable and confident arriving at the dance hall.


  • You will see most ladies wearing flowing dresses about knee length that allow for free movement of the legs. If the dress is too long it might get caught in your heel.
  • Dress pants are also commonplace, as long as they allow for easy movement.
  • High heels or comfortable shoes that are not rubber soled. Many will wear leather soled shoes that allow for pivoting.
  • Avoid large belt buckles or accessories that might get caught on your partner.


  • You will see many men wearing slacks and button up shirts.
  • Some men will wear full suits to look extra sharp.
  • Comfortable dress shoes that are not sneakers. Many will wear leather soled shoes that allow for pivoting.

During the Dance

  • Dancing 3-4 songs (or 1 set or as tango people call it, "tanda") with the same person is customary before you say “Thank you” and find another partner.
  • Saying “Thank you” is code word for “I’d like to stop dancing now, let’s take a break.”
  • Since we use our movement to communicate, talking while dancing is generally discouraged.
  • Don’t try to correct your partner while on the dance floor. If a move is not working, try something else!
  • Tango is a traveling dance; the line of dance is counter clockwise.
  • Respect other dancers’ space by not crowding too close to them. No tailgating!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Milonga?

A milonga is an event where people come to socialize and dance tango.

What is a tanda?

DJs will group 3 or 4 songs together by the same orchestra and this is called a tanda (set of 3-4 songs). A tanda is distinguished by a “cortina” which is a non-tango song that indicates a break in the set. It is customary to say thank you at the end of the tanda unless you’d like to keep dancing.

What is a cabaceo?

A cabeceo is the traditional way of asking someone to dance without actually speaking. A dancer (male or female) will make eye contact, hold contact, and make a nodding motion to the floor. If you agree, you will nod and walk towards each other. If you decline, you will look away.

Can a woman ask a man to dance?

Women generally use the cabeceo (see previous question) to ask a man to dance.

Can I say no if someone asks me to dance?

Yes. You are not required to dance with someone just because they ask. If you decline, it is polite to give a reason like “I’m taking a break”, but a simple “no thank you” is also acceptable.