Category Archives: Private lesson

Returning to leading lessons as BsAs fast approaches

Three things to me are clear from my following adventure: I’m really enjoying it; it’s helping my lead too; it’s going to be several months before I get anywhere close to being able to follow competently in a milonga.

That being the case, and with my month-long return to Buenos Aires rapidly approaching, I decided it was time to use my last few privates before March to tune-up my lead …

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Pugliese helping out with my latest following lesson

A busy work trip to Vegas followed by a bout of COVID brought home as a souvenir meant that I hadn’t done as much solo practice as I’d hoped – and it showed! Though Emma seemed more impressed by my following than I was, with rather more ‘Esa!’s than I felt were merited.

But despite me still feeling I was 70% clumsiness to 30% flow, Señor Pugliese joined Emma as co-teacher to deliver one hugely important lesson …

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It’s all in the smallest of things, as I battle with following back ochos

We all know tango is never a straight line. Some days, you feel like Gavito, other days like a baby elephant taking its first steps. Tonight was one of the latter days.

But despite the fact that I felt I wasn’t remotely on form, Emma still delivered another ocho revelation

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Emma’s forward ocho miracles, and following a less industrial-sized lead

This evening was my first following lesson with Emma, and it was an amazing one!

So far, I’ve felt that the act of following itself is really starting to fall into place, but that I had a zillion technique issues to address with my pivots. That’s absolutely still the case, of course, but I felt like in the course of a single lesson my forward pivots went from 20% to 60% (where my current standard for 100% is “could pass for a halfway-competent beginner follower, given a sufficiently dark room”) …

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Following is really starting to click, thanks to a lesson I learned in motorsports

I’m really amazed at how well following is really starting to click now! And it’s all down to an approach I learned in my pre-tango obsession: motorsports.

The biggest problem I had when I started this latest tango adventure was anticipating the lead. I was listening to the music and knew how I would interpret it. At best, I would be expecting to move in one way and then have to quickly switch gears in my head to follow what was actually led; at worst, I was doing completely unled movements …

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I’ve made surprising progress in my following: I now feel like a beginner

Perhaps it’s an odd way to express it, but after three more privates, I now feel like I’ve reached the stage of being a beginner follower.

What I mean by that is that, previously, I very much felt like a leader trying to make the very difficult transition to following. Some tango concepts learned as a leader were helpful, of course, but in other ways my experience as a leader was actually hindering my attempts to follow. Now, though, I feel like I’ve (mostly!) succeeded in letting go of the internal struggle between the two, and can actually fully focus on the follower role …

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Following … a leader, and my tango heart

I had my third private as a follower, and while I missed plenty of things, I for the first time had an experience of Just Dancing from the follower side.

I also decided to follow my tango heart when it comes to when, where and how I dance …

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An amazing leading dividend from just two lessons as a follower

While leading and following are two very different mindsets, the technique is the same – just that followers need more of it at any given level.

I knew from past experience that following is a very powerful tool for improving my lead, but I really couldn’t believe the extent to which this paid off after just two (new) following lessons …

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A time to lead, a time to follow

Six weeks ago, I said I was pausing my privates while I figured out my next step. A few days after that, I mulled over the possibility of learning to follow – at least, to some degree.

Sure, I’ve taken a few lessons as a follower, but those have always been geared to helping my lead, rather than actually focusing on following. But I’ve decided it’s now time to have a real go at the opposite (and, I suspect, more challenging) role …

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Time for double-time: A very delayed post

Despite working independently, Laura and Diego somehow ganged up on me while I was in BsAs back in March. There have been two things I’ve always viewed with terror in tango: cross-system, and double-time.

I’d dipped a toe in the cross-system waters, though always aimed to return to the safety of parallel system at the earliest opportunity. But the occasional rebound aside, I’d still mostly kept double-time at a safe distance …

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