WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO LEARN HOW TO DANCE TANGO?
By Lidia Ferrari
Based on the results my students have achieved I have been able to observe which
are the most productive ways to learn tango, both in the quality of learning and in the time
it takes. A subject as flexible and non-academic as dancing tango admits many possible
ways of learning and teaching. We should never lose the unique experience of transmission
from teacher to student.
Consistency with a Teacher
First, the variable of consistency is precious, even when it is not necessary.
Consistency with a teacher over time allows the teaching to be more fruitful, since one
methodically acquires the tools with growing complexity (if the teacher’s didactic style is
Since each teacher has their own method, personality, way of teaching, and their
own desire to transmit things, staying with one teacher avoids the chaotic confusion of
learning from several at once.
Of course, this requires that you find the appropriate teacher. Perhaps beforehand
you should search. Since students and teachers are different, there are certain didactic
methods that work better for certain students. Some students may prefer more
authoritative teachers, and some may need a teacher who observes and corrects their
mistakes, but there are also students who do not like to be corrected because this wounds
their pride. Once one has found a teacher, whether through references, trial and error, or
through good luck, it is advisable to stick with them for a while.
Consistency Over Time
Consistency over times allows the student to constantly and gradually improve.
This can take weeks or months. But a certain consistency is necessary for a gradual,
progressive evolution. Once one has acquired a certain level of dance, one can try other
teachers and experiences.
Suggestions for Learning Tango at Different Levels
Beginners need the most help from a teacher, since acquiring a good foundation is
the best way to begin dancing tango well. At first everything is important, since we have to
understand the structure of the dance, acquire good posture, work on the embrace, and
begin to learn this physical language (like a foreign language), so that we can begin to
communicate with our partner and make a connection with the music. This is the most
difficult moment, where we mostly clearly need concentration and hard work, since we do
not yet possess the necessary tools to allow the dance to carry us away.
Another reason we need a teacher’s guidance is because when we practice without
help, we run the risk of repeating mistakes, which are difficult to correct once they become
habits. This is the moment where the guidance of a good teacher is most important.
(fragment of book: Lead & Follow: Tips & Secrets for Dancing TANGO by Lidia Ferrari)