Monday, 17 August 2009


Tango forces you to be brave. If you are lucky enough to have a regular partner, then you can monitor each other’s developments and weaknesses. People with private teachers are paying for commentary but if you use group classes as your main learning tool (the most usual way) then it can be hard to judge how you are dancing. Have you improved or have you picked up new, bad habits?

For me, I have found that tangueros tend to critique rather more than praise. I am frequently told when I have done a step wrong with a new partner. Is this good criticism or the self arrogance of the leader who assumes that his longer learning period gives him the edge? Sometimes they are right but as I have learnt more, I have realised that sometimes they are also wrong. It takes courage to realise this and accept that I have correctly followed the lead but it has been poorly executed; that I have danced well that night and they have not.


  1. I have been reading your blog since you have asked me a question. You make a fair point about criticism. Remember, the man is the leader, and it is his fault if you didn't do something he wanted you to do. As a friend of mine said, 'I danced it as you lead it.' End of.
    Trust me, there are a lot of men who think they know better than you and will either try and teach you or give you a critique. I've written about this on my blog.
    I have been offered 3 'suggestions' in the last 5 years that I have taken any notice of.
    1) My first Milonga at Corrientes when it was at Tavistock place - my dance partner, very experienced, kindly asked if he could offer a suggestion and I said yes: 'keep your knees closer together'
    2) By a teacher at a milonga - 'Arlene, you are a queen, stand up straight and NEVER bend forward even if the man is short.':)
    3) More recently at Corrientes when dancing a milonga with a teacher - keep your weight down, like this, as he placed his hands on my hips and pushed me in towards the floor :0 I can't do it any other way now that I know how it feels.
    Hope this works for you and forget about what these men tell you. Also, slow is better than fast ;)

  2. Thanks for telling me about your 3 incidents - I will certainly remember the 'Queen Imagery'!