Those 3 weeks in another city, dancing just about every night, whether it was a different area with a different teacher just once, or going to a milonga and just watching. By the end of my time, I was on the dance floor most of the night at each milonga I attended that last week. Just took investing my evenings, just going out, and being open. Around 20 nights straight of going out for tango, that was about as many total I had even done up to that point. I had nothing else to do with my evenings, so it was a great opportunity.
IT PAID OFF!
That time and repetition investment made my dance go place that would have taken me most likely a half a year or longer to get to. If I put in this effort sooner, I’m sure it would have helped even more. Ever since coming back home from the trip, I’ve made it a point, for 3.5 years, of dancing a minimum of 3 nights a week.
You put in the time to learn and improve, you will see rewards, put in a few extra hours and stick to it. I’m not saying throw yourself in at 20 hours a week, if you’re just starting, increase your time by an hour or two a week.
Take a Private Lesson
You don’t need a private lesson every week or multiple times a week. I find a single private lesson from a good teacher should give you plenty to work on for the next two weeks minimum, if not for a month. You will need to practice what was taught, otherwise your next private you wont get much new. Having private lessons gave me direct insight into what important to work on during my additional hours tango dancing.
The Right Equipment Helps
Having proper tango shoes is a great motivator, but is a pretty big investment. Once you do get a proper pair of Tango shoes, you never want anything else. Until then, great thing is you don’t need top of the line shoes right away. Dancing in socks can work for practicing, yet having smooth soled shoes is going to give you the right feeling. Heels that strap over and stick to your foot and allow pivoting and shape your foot and don’t stick out a few inches passed your toes is great. You can sometimes find good options even at thrift store. My first dance/dress/practice shoes I got were from a second hand store. For men, light, comfortable dress shoes that also don’t stick inches passed your toes is needed.
Finding my own tango after these years, I’ve noticed there is such a high pressure to improve and get better, be the best, and more. One thing that is missed in my opinion, especially when it comes to new dancers, is actually dancing and having fun. This isn’t really a problem down in Buenos Aires, but became evident here in the states. You need to enjoy the movements, music, partners, energy, and not take it so seriously. You do need confidence, but if you are trying for perfection, you lose the dance. You want to dance, you want to move, and you need to do that in Tango.