Ask Arlene…How do you know your level?

Hi Arlene

I have enjoyed reading these comments very much, and there seems now to be a another subject arising out of this that i would like to address…


Absolute Beginner, Beginners, Improvers, Intermediate, Advanced

Another reason for mentioning this is i attend a class last week and the teacher asked if there were any beginners in the class about eight people came forward…they were asked to wait on the other side of the room while he instructed the improvers/Intermediate on a sequence he would like them to perform while he was busy teaching the beginners the basics…Now while he was on the other side of the room we started to explore this move he had shown us…After a few minutes i noticed the teacher was watching the students doing these movements and he did not look pleased…he then stopped the class and gathered us round…He then explained in no uncertain terms that a lot of the people who considered themselves to be improvers/Intermediate were not and that they were not being true to him or themselves…and that as a teacher it was his job/duty to pass onto us what he knows about dancing and how to dance tango but how can he do this if we are not honest with him or with our tango…

At the start of this class i wanted to step forward as a beginner but i also felt that i was a improver and if i went over to the beginners the teacher would have sent me back or the beginners would have thought i was some kind of showoff because my dancing would have not been at a beginners standard…Anyway the move we were being taught was to lead to the cross then as we step forward with our free leg we do a side step with our free leg in double time and collect then change our weight in double time with our new free leg step forward past our follower while with our chest we lead the follower forward but before she can place her weight on her forward step we step past her and interrupt her forward motion this involves a fair amount of disassociation on the leaders part and then the follower because if done correctly she should have performed a complete turn and we should be facing each other and ready for our next step.

Quite a few people had a problem getting to the cross…….So doe’s our ego or self belief in our ability get in the way of our tango….i’ve been dancing (trying to) for 14 months and at my teachers tango class i still doing beginners classes. Now back to my original question? how do you know what standard of tango you a dancing….just a thought…i still think i’m a beginner even though i’m able to lead a cross now and then….lol

Mr. Walker

Dear Mr. Walker,

I can understand your teacher’s frustration.  I have the same issue when I take an advanced or improver’s class with men who should clearly not be there.  People are always in a hurry.  I can understand that too.  It is only natural to want to be able to get onto the dance floor quickly.  It takes time to dance well.  I still take beginner’s or general level classes on occasion as I feel it is a good idea to go back to the basics and work on my posture and balance.  The way I prefer to dance doesn’t require many tricky moves, if any.   It takes a man a long time to learn to dance Tango well as they have so much to do and think about.  I know beginners that dance better than some so-called ‘advanced’ dancers.  They may not have the fancy footwork, but they have feeling.  I don’t like to put a label on what my level is.  Although I don’t feel as if I am an absolute beginner, I also don’t feel that I belong to any of the other categories either.  I feel as if I am constantly learning.

I would be really interested to hear what the teachers have to say about this subject.

B.A. TANGO – Buenos Aires Tango Nº 46 (April – May – June 2009)


Please find enclosed herewith this month’s publication, the Quarterly Guide B.A. TANGO – Buenos Aires Tango Nº 46 (April – May – June 2009).

I remember you that you can activate the word searcher by pressing the keys Ctrl + F.

We’ll meet again in May when the issue Nº 198 of the color magazine will come out.

Meanwhile I hope the information contained in this Guide will be useful to you and I will be waiting for your comment.

With a tanguero embrace, I remain very truly yours



Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries