Category Archives: Private lesson

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever had


I mentioned last time my plan to spend a little time learning to follow in order to help inform my lead. The question was: could I, within say 4-5 hours of private lessons, reach the point where I would get ‘aha!’ moments about my leading?

The initial idea was to devote a two-hour lesson with Maeve to following, then see whether we both felt I might hit that 4-5 hour deadline …

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A breakthrough after an unplanned break


Steph had suggested that there can be value in taking a break from tango every now and then, to allow things to consolidate. I could see sense in that, but the fixed cycle of the Tango Space classes complicated matters. I wanted to wait until I’d completed the full 12-week cycle, and then pick a week with a topic where I felt sufficiently comfortable to skip a week.

As things turned out, I didn’t get any say in the matter …

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The gentle art of dancing in small spaces

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After loving Diego Bado’s teaching in the Follower’s Liberation class, I knew I had to get a private lesson with him before he left London.

It’s amazing how much a good teacher can pack into a one-hour lesson! But let’s start at the beginning …

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Ballet fitness, musicality, and a truly shared dance

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Ballet fitness class

You’ve got the tango bug pretty bad when a friend talks you into doing a ballet fitness class.

Bridgitta’s argument was that ballet training offers a lot of benefits for dancing tango. It was hard to argue against this given that I’d already booked a ballet taster class next month for exactly that reason.

I’d expected the class to be all women. As it turned out, a third of the class was male. But that third was me …

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What goes up …

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That was a long tango high! But what goes up …

Today’s lesson with Mariano wasn’t a full-on tango crash. It wasn’t like I couldn’t do anything any more. But I just wasn’t feeling it. My movement felt clumsy. I was getting mixed up with a simple sequence of steps (a new-to-me form of ocho cortado). My pace was off. And I was really inconsistent …

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Dancing the corrections

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Saturday saw me at Tango Garden for some guided practice with Bridgitta in the practica – plus a floorcraft exercise in the milonga.

Bridgitta started the latter by discussing some scenarios – like someone walking backwards into our space – and different ways to handle them. Then we just walked arm-in-arm so we could focus purely on floorcraft, with Bridgitta having the same view of the ronda as me.

I felt somewhat self-conscious about this strange arm-in-arm thing we were doing in a busy milonga, but it was obvious from quite a few knowing and approving smiles that this was a recognised and appreciated technique …

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Giros, Pugliese and Practice


After last night’s drunk tango, I had the kind of hangover commensurate with the amount of wine consumed. Which made for a somewhat more challenging two-hour lesson this afternoon than would otherwise have been the case.

In principle, we were just working on technique, and I’d asked Maeve to work with me on two things: improving my dissociation in ochos, and aiming for some fluidity in giros. However, in my hungover state, the lesson included some remedial material too …

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Enter the parada (with a glimpse of sacada in the distance)


When I started this blog, I was mostly doing it as a diary for myself. I figured a few tango friends might enjoy reading it, hence making it a blog. It’s much the same reasoning as the Journeys section of my website: mostly I enjoy reliving the experiences, and interested friends effectively view it as a kind of extended Facebook post.

So I’ve been surprised to see from the logs that the blog gets over a thousand visits a month. I think readers fall into one of four categories …

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