Using different dance instructors?


Well-Known Member
How many adults learning to dance for the first time spend a couple hours practicing each day?

One hour of class requires ten hours of practice.
That adds problem to group classes. Some people practice at home and go to practicas and even to milongas.
While others come only to classes.
And the those zealous students suffer.


Active Member
Practice makes perfect!

Practicing a faulty technique will make you perfect … at dancing rubbish, which is very hard to unlearn later. Therefore practicing without reflection is rather destructive and demotivating. Sooner or later the results are usually rubbish. People, who do not have the time, devotion or intellectual capacity, therefore seek support: most often a teacher. If he teaches rubbish, well you know the result.

If he (or she) is a decent teacher he will help them in many regards. For example, should he explain and train all those little finesses (the timing, the frame, the posture, the alignment of feet hand hips, the anticipation of the melody, etc) essential to create that special flow, which can be otherwise only gained dancing 5 days out of 7 for a couple of years.

So let’s look at some typical students, aged somewhere between 30 to 70, both have a day time job or some cause they are committed to. Sometime there is also a family, sometimes there are two families and sometimes things are really complicated. With their various other intellectual interests, honorary posts and a wide circle of friends there is one thing they lack: free time together. Thus they decide do commit themselves to one regular “parhship activity”: Tango lessons. Since they have so little time they expect a special service. They expect didactic well-structured teaching and pleasant entertainment. (OK, they rather say “I want to become a better dancer and have fun”). They don’t have time, space or sometimes money to do additional practice. The practice has to be contained in form of cleverly disguised repetition within the lessons.

I think, only a misanthrope would sneer onto those people and their lack of total devotion toward tango, everybody else will be happy to meet people with even an interesting live outside Argentinean urban folklore dancing.


Active Member
@ Mladenac,

hardly ever there is a class of homogeneous skill-level. In a limited way this can be adjusted by suggesting some students to rather choose a lesson a level up or down. The next best approach is called "internal differentiation" in German didactics, or rather simplified “additional exercises/challenges to keep the advanced occupied”.
...and if you are learning two similar dances that are just different enough to mess up your muscle memory then you will notice the problem pretty soon (usually when each class becomes a comedy of the teachers correcting things that the other teacher corrected one way back to other way...Gssh
You hit the "nail right on the head." I live in a rather small tango community and have tried to improve by going to different group lessons (while still taking private lessons with the same instructor). This past summer I traveled and danced in different communities and was amazed by the difference in teachers and teaching styles.

I "got confused" when I tried to adapt/change my dance to suit a different instructor. I did finally learn to listen to what various instructors said, but not to take it as "gospel."

On a different note, I'm somewhat wary of people who have taken a few lessons, gone to a few festivals and then self proclaim themselves as "teachers." I usually steer clear of those people.


Active Member
Recalling my first tango classes, it always seemed to be “do as I do”. There was no “why” and there were no preparing exercises, alternatives covered or any musicality mentioned. You had to copy your teacher and discover the rest on your own. When visiting a different teacher it all seemed to be wrong, of course. Today I know that they all descripted just different paths up the same mountain, but back then it all seemed to be a tangled mess. (Ok some described dead ends, and it took me years to unlearn the stuff, but generally most got it halfway right). Even when their didactic was very plain, I’m very thankful towards those teachers, because the installed the joy of Tango in me: A fire that kept burning for all those years and still pushes me along.

They taught us how to have fun at a Milongas, especially by using and breaking all those rules. How to entertain yourself and other with relative simple dance moves. Told us tons of tango lore and anecdotes and, when pestered enough, even showed some jumps and sentadas - usually with the stern mention, not to use them before 3 am. After two years I was not a particular overwhelming dancer, but a very happy and enthusiastic one.

Were they great teachers? From a technical point of view; probably not. At that time, however, they were the best for me. Later I discovered I have to move on.

Starting out and not aiming for a special goal again, I would always prefer those teachers who help me to enjoy my dancing.


Well-Known Member
Those who attend classes only become class junkies and step collectors. They do not practice and wonder why no one cares to dance with them.
What a bleak view of human nature!

Some people who attend "only" classes (amongst them, parents ;-) ) are well aware of the limitations and aren't doomed to become step collectors (but slower learners, at their own pace). Whether you become a step collector is all about the attitude, not the time you spend.

I do encourage people with fewer free evenings (and that includes myself!) to take classes on a day where there is _also_ a milonga, because that's where you'll "bake in" (and validate) what you learned in a group class (and possibly throw away the bits that you're still not ready to assimilate, which is a _good_ thing). Even periods where you go _only_ to milongas are actually better than periods in which you only go to group classes (even when there's a practica after class. The problem is the group is more inbred than at a milonga).

Also, if you can't practice, then it's usually better to take classes at a "lower level" (as if that really exists, since even 'beginner' classes can be used to deepen your understanding of so-called 'simple' things). We have one very good couple in these parts who give "level 6" classes that are really only for people who _can_ indeed practice at least three times as much as they take classes (for the talented ones!) If your schedule doesn't allow for it, then you can literally take it down a notch instead of eating more than you can swallow...


Well-Known Member
I used to take lessons from two instructors and their instruction styles are very different from each other, which made me confused.
I don't suggest it at lower levels cause it can confuse you.
But since you meet various type of dancing in milongas it can be beneficial to know different way of dancing.
Differences may be subtle, but as you know "The devil is in the details" :D
Hello, I´m Pablo, from Argentina.

I´ve been dancing for about 4 years. Fortunately we have good instructors here. I learnt for about 2 years with the same instructor a good one with an intermediate style between modern and classic. That was good because I know a bit from every style. Then I moved to another instructor with a style that I noticed with the time I like more (very classic old style). At first for me, this change, was kind of starting to dance again, but later I noticed that lot of the techniques I learnt from my previous teacher were very useful. The "figuras" are different; most of the instructors teach "figuras" and the way to walk with their own style and condiments. Recently I also tried to learn with another teacher with a bit different style and it’s hard again but with the mix I'm trying to improve and define my own style.

So my advice is, if you decide to learn from different instructors, it will be hard because you have to adapt in every class to the different requirements. Try to identify which is the best teacher for you and once you get it, continue taking classes with him\her. And continue in that path until you consider that you have incorporated all the concepts you think are good for you. Then if you want to continue improving you could move to another instructor with a style no so different from the previous.



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