I want to master tango NOW!

4th December 2008

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"What's with all this "7 years to learn to walk" nonsense?!

Introduction: The Two Ways

OK, there's two ways to get really good at tango quickly.

Way 1: Walking

Talk to teachers who are really good at tango and they say the same thing; "Tango is about walking". All you need to learn to do is to lead a step forward, a step to the side and rebounds. The rest is musicality which you've already got from MJ, right? Here's the thing. Tango is remarkably forgiving. It may well take 7 years to master walking, but if you just focus on walking you can get up to a passable level reasonably quickly. And because frankly so few people do this, you end up ahead of the crowd.

Pitfalls

Some women hate walking. Such is life.

Solutions

In reality you'll actually pick up a few other things like barridas and sacadas. Teachers seem almost unable to resist slipping these into classes on walking...

Who's doing it currently

Way 2: Sequences

Pretty much everyone teaches sequences. Learn a few. Remember the old MJ adage "you're leading the same moves over and over, but the follow spends the night dancing with different leads and so it's fresh to her". Plus by leading the same few sequences over and over, you get good at them faster.

You can also drastically speed up your "mastery" by only dancing with certain people. Chose a venue you like, that doesn't have a high turnover of students, only dance the sequences they teach and you'll find it much easier to lead them on a lot of the followers there.

Pitfalls

A lot of sequences don't take into account floorcraft (or even basic conventions!) and will seriously annoy the other dancers.

Solutions

Extend your arm out in front of you. Imagine a circle with that radius. Avoid any sequence that goes outside that area.

Avoid any sequence that involves you stepping backwards.

Avoid any sequence that involves "trapping" the women's free leg.

Who's doing it currently

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 - Christopher O'Shea, 3rd December 2008