A torrent of tango

Here is my idea of how learning a new skill should progress:


Start at the beginning. Do one thing at a time. Progress in a series of logical steps from ignorance to competence.

Here is a photo of what learning tango looks like in real life …


Rather than try to fight this, I’ve decided to embrace it. December into January is going to be a torrent of tango. I’m going to get as many lessons as I can, from a variety of teachers, and trust that what will emerge is new insights, new skills, new levels of comfort, and a deeper understanding of what tango is all about.

That’s not a natural approach for me. In particular, group classes tend to be geared toward those who want to accumulate figures as rapidly as possible, rather than get a thorough grounding in just a few. But everything is connected. The ocho/pivot experience has taught me that trying one figure can give a better feel for a different one.

The approach is not without risks. I could end up getting hopelessly confused in the event that I get actual or seemingly contradictory advice. But my feeling is that I need to get some miles under my shoes. Try things out. Experience different approaches and listen to different perspectives. Be willing to fail. Above all, be living and breathing tango for a month.

So … I have my fortnightly lessons with Mariano. Maeve is giving me ad-hoc lessons when she is in the UK. I’m doing group lessons at Tango Garden. Brigitta is giving me an individual lesson in the practice room immediately after those. And – after trying out a class this evening (Calesita) – I’m getting a one-month all-class pass with Tango Space, with the intention of doing at least two group classes a week with them. Mariano has given his seal of approval to each part of the plan, so I can at least be confident that all involved will be playing their part properly; the rest is down to me.

By early January, I will either have progressed significantly in my tango, or I will be a pool of liquid confusion on some pista somewhere in London. Place your bets …

Photos: Shutterstock

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