Class Review: The Factory

Class date: Sat afternoons, Thursday and Sunday evenings

Teacher: Steve, Atsuko and Caro

Class Type Varies

Location: The Factory, 407 Hornsey Road, London, N19

Class review and comments:

The Factory enjoys a loyal following, being one of the friendliest and pleasantest tango venues in central London. Steve, Atsuko and Caro are committed and approachable teachers and the Factory has been listed as one of the Top 3 best gyms of Time Out London 2008, with its bright and airy studios, all sprung floors and mirrors.

The teachers give good attention to each dancer and know everyone by name. Steve puts everyone at ease with his self-deprecating humour. I am not a fan of the "Change partners" style of class management, but it must be said that I once witnessed Caro stop the music to ensure that a woman was partnered, having been left out twice in a row. Caro and Atsuko regularly lead or follow unpartnered dancers, showing them what it feels like to be partnered well.

The classes focus on teaching dance sequences, frequently with an emphasis on a particular step. Technique is addressed in context, along the way. Each lesson is a free-standing unit, although occasionally, there is a theme pervading a series of classes: for instance, familiarising dancers with different orchestras. Vals and milonga classes feature monthly. If I were Factory Queen, I might decree a longer, more varied warm-up and more input on technique.

Look out for the monthly beginners' sessions. There are weekly classes for near Beginners with a nice, long practica afterwards, frequented by a few dancers of a slightly higher level, a bonus for the new dancers, who then graduate first to Thursday and then, Sunday evening classes, which are followed by a milonga by the glimmer of fairy lights and tea candles. There is a good mix of traditional and modern music and on Sundays, the tables are laid with fresh flowers and dancers are treated to water with ice and lemon, fruit juice, wine and chocolate.

The seasonal memberships offer outstanding value starting from £24.00 per month, which includes entry to most classes and the Factory offers a wide range of dance and fitness classes and their full programme of dance classes range from Tango, Salsa and Ballroom to Pole and Belly Dancing.

More class details:

- Naznene Sparrow