Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to become an excellent tango dancer:

I am often asked what it takes to become a good Argentine tango dancer or how someone can improve their dancing?. And, my immediate answer is dance as much as you can, with as many dancers as possible and take as many classes, workshops and private lessons as you can.

Alas, it is not as simple as one might think. First of all, it takes time and effort just to get on the Tango dance floor. I know that even after dancing all my life and starting my tango dancing with a series of private lessons, I was too overwhelmed to dance the first time I went to a milonga.

So I understand that it the dance floor can be intimidating. It is easy to forget everything you learned and to end up in the middle of the dance floor because you don’t yet understand how to dance with the rest of the dancers. It also takes time to do more than walk while moving your partner and trying not to step on her or hit anyone else. Forget about connecting with your partner, much less, waiting for your partner to finish her step, or dancing to the music.

Followers are even more anxious about doing the right things and consequently, are prone to overdo it by constantly changing their weight, walking back too fast not to get stepped on, or doing things they see other people do. New followers are famous for dancing on their own such moves as “the runaway ocho (figure eight)” and the automatic front boleo, my favorite the “instant cruzada (cross)” Similarly, forget about connecting with your partner, responding to his lead without hesitating, or having time to focus on adorning your movements.

While everyone has the ability to dance Tango, some find it easier than others and a few find it rather difficult to get their bodies to move on command. Learning Tango is a slow process. You can speed up the process by taking several lessons a week, by taking private lessons as well as group lessons, and by dancing as much as you can. But, it will take you time to dance well, to move with fluidity and elegance, and to be able to hold your own on the dance floor while protecting your partner and making her feel safe and secure in your arms if you are a leader; and responding seemingly effortlessly, musically, and appropriately given the lead, the energy in the move, and the dancers around you if you are the follower.

Don’t expect immediate results. You can not immediately dance like the dancers who have been dancing years. But you can start to learn how to dance well and consistently get better at it.

Next, I will dispel some common myths about learning Tango and becoming a much sought after dancer.


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