What is my Dance level?
One of the most common questions when starting lessons is what is the appropriate class level. You want to find a class where you are challenged, but not so far ahead that you are holding back the other students. Time dancing is often not a very good indicator for two reasons. One, people will learn at very different rates depending on previous dance and body movement experience (sports, martial arts, yoga etc.) and two, frequency (1 lesson/week vs 1 lesson and 2 milongas per week).
At Tuesday Night Tango, all students learn both lead and follow. This is a return to the original style of teaching Argentine tango where the men were taught to follow before they were allowed to lead (women were not taught at all). Even if you only plan on dancing 1 role outside of class, I have found that switching roles is the best way to understand what the other role needs and how to improve your dancing. While we encourage you to switch, if you would prefer to dance only one role, please come with a partner who will be content to dance only the other role.
If you are experienced in one role, but not the other, we encourage you to come to the fundamentals class to review and work on the basics from the other side, before continuing with the intermediate class.
At Tuesday Night Tango, we encourage all students to stay for the practica after the class, and provide a guided practica for beginners during the intermediate class. This is a good chance to work on the fundamentals and we've found that we've been able to develop beginner dancers much more quickly with the extra practice.
Since we are trying to teach people at many levels, if you are having problems with the material in the intermediate class, and unable to perform the movements to allow your partners to practice, we will move you to the fundamentals guided practica. In this class, you will work on the key skills that will allow you to move back into the intermediate class relatively quickly.
Below is a description of the three levels.
The primary three key skills to tango are: walking, ochos, and turns (giros/molinetes). Everything is built on these movements. The secondary three key skills are: the cross, crossed system and changing rhythms (mixing quicks and slows). The two types of embrace are open and close. While we need these basic skills to move into the next level, these are the skills that we constantly develop in all levels.
At Tuesday Night Tango, we cycle through the key skills, including close embrace every 5 or 6 months. We work on walking, connection and musicality in different ways every month.
Students usually follow the beginning series for 3 or 4 months before attempting the intermediate series. Many experienced students use the beginning class to review the fundamentals and warm up before the intermediate class. It is not necessary to have mastered all the basic skills before also taking the intermediate class, but it is necessary to be comfortable with the basic skill that the intermediate series is based on for that month.
Here we begin to work between your partner's feet: sacadas (displacements), barridas (sweeps), enganches (wraps), ganchos (hooks) etc., and start to play with the follow's free foot: linear and rotational boleos. At this level, we assume the follow defaults of walking, ochos and turns (active following). Follows are learning to keep a firm connection at the same time as a relaxed free leg. Leads are refining body position and timing, as well as step preparation and transitions.
Here we start playing wit the axis, and moving everything off-axis: colgadas, volcadas, single-axis movements/turns etc. Usually the int+ class will include one or more advanced moves which are the natural extension of the topic for that month.