I want to learn lots of cool moves

19th November 2008

Back to Fusion

"What do you mean I can't do a flying linear boleo on a social dance floor?!"


Firstly, Tango teachers use a different model to MJ teachers.

In MJ you can expect to learn 3 intermediate moves in a 45 minute intermediate class. Likewise certain "core moves" will be repeated reasonably often.

The tango intermediate moves are different - they contain several "keys" - the more keys you've got the more likely you can freestyle the move. But you'll probably only learn one "key" per move per evening. And it can be months till you cover that move again. Which means years to pick up all the keys and that assumes you don't forget them.

Secondly - beware YouTube. A friend jokingly listed the three worst things a leader can say to a follow. No. 3 was "Don't worry I can lead this - I've seen it on YouTube". You've been warned. There is a fair amount of technical info available though, especially if you can't manage to do Homer's lessons in person.

Thirdly, a lot of the cooler moves are inherently more dangerous. Either heels are flying around all over the place or the follow is effectively stuck in place and can't take evasive action if necessary. And yes, I have unfortunately had the cartoon moment of a rather excessive gancho landing exactly where you don't want it to... (though truthfully a gancho in the knee will do far more harm).


Workshops and private lessons will get you more than one key at a time. You can be a tart and go to several teachers' lessons to get keys faster too. Just be careful - different teachers have different styles and the key may be dependent on using their style.

Sequences are a good solution too. Find one that seems to work most of the time and use it in freestyle. What's happening is that you are putting your left foot in the right place, not because you understand the relevant key, but because if you don't you'll fall over. Simple, effective. As you pick up keys, you start doing things with understanding. You're still putting your left foot in exactly the same place, but now you know why. The more keys you collect the more you'll find you can shorten the sequence - eg you can skip the first step because the sole point was to get you in a position where you had to put your left foot in the correct place or fall over.

Finally - get very good at floorcraft fast. Get someone to explain axis to you; you really need to lead this on a very good follow to understand it properly.

Who's doing it currently

Pretty much everyone, but including:

Recommended reading

 - Christopher O'Shea