Some time ago, I asked a question on Ask Arlene’s page asking how, having learnt for about 18 months, I could improve my tango (and especially my follower technique). There were lots of helpful suggestions and ideas (several of which I implemented) but the one that has made the most impact on me and my dancing has been taking a regular technique class. Sophie (who had suggested this idea) had said that some people shied away from technique classes as it highlighted faults and for me, this has been the lynchpin.
The classes I have been attending have been for women only and while I think they are very good, they are also not the most ‘enjoyable’ of classes. Surrounded by mirrors and other followers, all of my steps and technique are magnified and I find myself looking aghast as I perform another wonky boleo or realise how clunky and ungainly my walk is. Practising alone on the spot (most of the time without support) really emphasises the importance of staying on one’s own axis and points out how most followers (sneakily) lean on the leader for support. The first month was not fun but since then I’ve noticed a definite improvement in my dancing and have had several comments, especially about my walk which I have been particularly working on. I've become an avid reader of Tango and Chaos which has some useful pages on milonguero style and techniques and although I’m still nowhere near to walking as smoothly as my technique teacher, this subtle improvement has hopefully started me on the right path!
The only problem with this new development, is that not that many leaders just want to walk – even in a practica. Many of them, keep throwing in 'pesky little steps' and so I’ve actually had to ask certain leaders if they don’t mind just walking with me during a whole song. A few don’t mind but others get quite uncomfortable (I think they feel it makes it appear as if they don’t know any steps?!) and still throw in a quick boleo just to liven things up. I feel like saying that sometimes we honestly don’t need all those extra steps; sometimes we just want to move with the music and ignore all the other delightful tangents that distract us. Let’s just walk; simply.
I really like this video as they both walk very elegantly and precisely, but also in a relaxed manner.