Get Beginners DJing Fast

Originally published at: Get Beginners DJing Fast – Awaken Tango

I believe that encouraging beginning dancers to DJ creates many benefits for the beginner and for the community as a whole.

Learning to DJ is not an end in itself, but a project that will help any dancer who’s serious about tango develop their relationship with the music.

Here are some things a person does when learning to DJ:

  • They research tango music and DJing online

  • They invest in tango music, supporting musicians and publishers

  • They talk more with intermediate and advanced dancers

  • They learn about different orchestras, eras, vocalists, and genres

  • They increase their ability to distinguish between different types of music

  • They get curious, ask questions, and are open to feedback

  • They find ways to express their personality through fun cortinas and alternative songs

Here are some of the benefits of DJing:

  • When you are the DJ, you are less self-focused. The nature of the role gets you to focus on facilitating other people’s enjoyment, which is part of the essence of tango. This is very healthy for beginners.

  • Even someone who only DJs a little bit will feel more a part of the tango scene. Orchestra names won’t be as alien to them, they will catch references that teachers make in classes, and they will have more conversations starters with intermediate and advanced dancers. And they’ll understand tango memes!

  • DJing helps you learn more about what kinds of music you like and what you like less, which can fuel curiosity and passion. It helps you notice more about the music, which develops your musicality.

  • Being a DJ is a fun and honorable role that brings real value to the community. It helps newcomers raise their status in the eyes of other community members, and show they are serious about tango. Signaling this can lead to easier friendships and partnerships.

  • Every community needs more competent DJs. Student DJing helps grow this pool.

At Oxygen Tango, I love that every DJ gets to have their own badass DJ nickname (or two) (if they want) that captures their personality and the affection the community has for them. What an amazing way for an aspiring beginning tango dancer to immediately be part of the in-crowd!

I think that within their first year of dancing it is wise to encourage new dancers to step into the DJ role. Some can even learn in their first couple of months, if they are motivated and have helpful peers!

How to do it:

  • Talk up DJing in beginner classes and on social media. Thank DJs at practicas and milongas. Make sure everyone knows how special the DJ is.

  • In 1:1 conversations or lessons, remind motivated dancers that DJing will have a positive effect on their dancing and community experience. Tell them that there are lots of great resources online for people who seriously want to DJ. Homer Ladas has shared so many!

  • Create Spotify playlists for your community to help them quickly find the good stuff.

  • Ask a couple of your house DJs if they would be willing to help a budding DJ get up to speed by answering questions and reviewing their playlists.

I’m incredibly proud of the many wonderful dancer-DJs who started their DJing journey at Oxygen, including Amy Zhou, Vincent Wong, Dong Sung An, Derek Tang, Shane Crosby, Alexandra Mason, Jane Liu, Kristen McCown, Gary Love, Paul Mejasich, Magan Wiles, and many many others! I love to dance to their music and my heart swells with all they bring to the community.

Mitra Martin has been exploring tango since 1998. She is the co-founder of Oxygen Tango.