The Road Ahead

8th June 2009

(Part of the Tango Fusion collection of articles.)

"Where are you going?" - Kosh

Consider the ways MJ and Tango are taught in the norm.

  1. You go to a class or a special workshop as a beginner and learn several "moves" be they ochos or yo-yos.
  2. The teacher's sneak in some conventions, possibly actually declaring them out loud, possibly not.... e.g. "don't transfer your weight unless led to", or "keep transferring your weight with the beat".
  3. You stay for the class and consider whether or not to stay for the dancing afterwards.
  4. Then you graduate to "Intermediate / Improver". Now you learn sequences usually taught as a set of sequential "moves". Most will contain a classic move like the boleo or the Wurlitzer.
  5. You stay for the dancing afterwards to practice your moves. You discover that half of them don't work...
  6. You start attending the milonga / freestyles run by your venue.
  7. Intermediate Workshops become available to you but are mainly based around sequences. Some will focus on musicality and styling however...
  8. You branch out to other venues and attend other milonga / freestyles.
  9. Advanced workshops and weekenders beckon; they seem to be largely focused on doing difficult moves or fusing with other dances.
  10. You realize that what you really want to learn was hidden in the basics all along. You go back to the beginning and focus on technique.
  11. You give up going to workshops, except for a few exceptions which focus on technique or musicality. You notice they're all "suitable for all levels including beginners".
  12. You give up classes and either turn up after them or quietly chat to your friends during them.
  13. Private tuitions start to seem like a good idea after all.

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 - Christopher O'Shea, 8th June 2009