Dear Tango Tia: In the past year and a half I’ve learned a lot of neat moves that work okay in class, but when I try leading them at milongas, I have trouble remembering how they even start. My brain seems to be on overload and I’m not progressing like I’d like to. Do you have any suggestions? Need Advice
Dear Need Advice: Seems to be on overload? This is a serious case of it and you have described exactly what happens to 99% of the men learning tango. The other 1% are fortunate enough or wise enough to find instructors who spend considerable time on the basics and fundamentals along with steps and figures. Suggestions:
#1: Find one or more teachers for group (or even better, private) lessons who will help you develop skills and technique in embrace, posture, axis, walking, pauses and musicality. These will improve your dance exponentially.
#2: Find one or more partners who agree to practice the basics with you on a regular basis. (Include time for playing with fun moves to help make practice time, well, fun.)
#3: Choose one “neat” move to practice until it is set in your residual vocabulary and you can call on it at anytime. (In addition to the basics, of course.)
#4: Before taking any classes, find out what will be presented and back away from learning more steps. Attend practicas instead. Film your progress.
#5: Spend a month fine-tuning what you already know plus the move you’ve worked on.
#6: Take your new, improved, highly upgraded dance to the floor, and don’t be surprised at the number of compliments you receive from happy followers. You can thank me later.
#7: Let me know how you’re doing in a few months.