Tango is a very difficult dance to learn. Most of the times, people give the excuse that they do not have a partner to practice. When I was learning from my teacher, Daniel Trenner, he made me very independent. I was taking privates and doing apprenticeship as a Tango teacher. Daniel did not partner me from day one. He told me that I had to learn on my own and then he would dance with me. I was given two sticks. He also had a name for those sticks. They were my partners. I had to lead them and follow them. The drill initially felt so cruel. But today I thank him. It made me self sufficient to practice and dance on my own. It made me confident to face the cruel tango world.
This is how you can and should practice
1. As a warm up, put nice tango music and do your basic exercises- walk forward and back, ochos, etc.
2. Now bring in more technique- Disassociation, contra body movement, pivot, etc.
3. Listen to a song and carefully apply what you have learnt- both the leaders part and the followers- one by one.
4. Watch some videos on the same song and see how someone else ha interpreted the same musicality.
5. Start all over again.
It is very important that you understand both the leader’s and the follower’s role. I just wrote that there is a “cruel tango world”. Why I said that, is because tango is a social dance, you tend to seek other’s approval about your technique. You practice so hard. Invest so much but rarely you are told that you are so good. Specially if you a beginner or a new comer, who is new to this cruel world, you are judged and sometimes pulled down. You come back from a milonga feeling frustrated. But let me tell you, here rarely you will be complimented and told how good you are (specially in your home country amongst the folks you know and dance with). Art of living has taught me- Do not be a football of other people’s opinions. So stop getting demotivated. Yes, you do not have a partner. Yes, tango is very difficult dance. Yes, you are not an Argentine. Yes, the small community never has a word of praise for you. But once you have practiced your technique on your own, worked on your musicality, the foundation is rock solid. You will step on the dance floor with confidence and will shine. Other people’s opinions will stop effecting and bothering you. You will set your own standards of perfection. You will get less hurt. You will have less need for acceptance and approval.
Start thinking and operating like Howard Roark from Fountainhead. Have unshakable belief. Persistence, perseverance and dedication will pay.