I Don’t Want to Rotate

Tango Tia: I have trouble connecting with most men in my classes so I found someone who will take lessons with me. We signed up for a series and at the first session the teacher said he would have us change partners so we could learn faster. The result was the same as usual and it made me realize that I don’t want to learn faster. I want to learn better. I’m not interested in trying to follow leaders who are not comfortable to dance with. Is it possible to get around this? Don’t Want to Rotate

Dear Don’t Want to Rotate: Perhaps. Although if everyone objected to changing partners, it would take much longer to learn tango than it already does and we would develop even more bad habits. Nevertheless, I understand your dilemma: followers need to be able connect in order to be comfortable, and we need to be comfortable in order to follow well. It’s a cycle. In addition, we have to adjust to each leader’s embrace and (Men, are you still reading?) some are just not that comfortable. Fortunately, your connection skills and those of your classmates, will improve, and by the time you sign up for your next class, you should feel better about rotating. Dancing with numerous partners at practicas and milongas will help you discover leaders you connect well with. Here’s the “perhaps:” If you ask, and the teacher agrees, to allow you to stay with your partner, he should offer the same option to everyone in the class. By the third week or so, most students, probably, including yourself, will be willing, maybe even eager, to change partners.


  1. Bill Swan says

    In the real world, beginners often find a permanent learning partner and stay paired up for classes. Pairing up in class works in one way—they have someone they are socially and personally comfortable learning with. Few teachers will force complete “rotation,” of partners. However, an unfortunate dynamic develops. Singles find themselves in the “leftover” group, which is composed mostly of the extra leads or follows plus some people with no sense of music or movement. The more promising singles then pair off even with strangers, to avoid spending too much time without a partner or with one of the hopeless. Eventually the only remaining singles are never getting a dance with anyone they can learn with.
    In intermediate classes, this problem goes away. All the dancers in class are good enough, and it pays to rotate and learn from different partners. In intermediate classes, couples who stay together seldom advance as well as those who rotate. Married couples who stay together probably should not. The rule is that divorce leads to tango, not the other way around. But you would hate to be the exception.

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