We teach private tango lessons in London and Paris: students come to us for regular training, to choreograph a first dance or to prepare a show or competition. Most of the quality of a private lesson depends on the teacher, so we always to adapt to our students needs, and provide the best possible training for them.
There are, however, some things that a student can do to ‘boost’ their training, savour their time with us and make the most of their private lessons. Here are a series of tips we advise students to follow when taking private tango lessons – with us or any teacher.
Arrive a bit early
We know that this is a bit difficult because most of you come directly from work, but if you can give yourself a bit of time to relax before the lesson, it’s great – it helps your body and your mind into a ‘tango zone’ – and as you know if you’ve been taking lessons with us, a quiet and relaxed mind, ready to connect, is important in tango dancing.
Tell us about any injury you might have
We want to know every thing before we start: knees, back, neck, feet, tension in the shoulders…. It’s important for us because we can adapt some exercises to gentler variations. But mainly, it will help us tell you how you can dance with your body as it is now… a weak right knee? We’ll tell you to avoid most of the giros and give you options to turn with your weight on your left leg… And we’ll give you options to do circular movements without using the giro.
Think about what you’d like to work on
We always start by discussing with you what you’d like to work on. It can be as varied as connection, giros, musicality, posture, technique…. Often, students don’t know, and it’s ok. We guide them towards what is most beneficial for them now. However, we find that students who spent the time to define what they feel they could improve usually get sicker results than those who don’t.
Make sure you know why you are doing this or that exercise
Once we know what you need to work on, we structure our lesson and move you from one exercise to the next with clear goals in mind. We know where we are taking you. So, if at any time you are not sure what the point of one exercise is, ask us! We’ll explain how it falls into ‘the big picture’.
Tell us about why you dance, and who your Tango heroes are
If we don’t know you from group classes or social dancing, it is helpful for us to know more about your dancing habits: do you love dancing in milongas, or are you attracted by tango shows? Do you mainly walk, or do you like doing wide movements?
Also, if there is a famous tanguero whose dancing you really enjoy, let us know. We can discuss about their style with you, which helps us understand what you are looking for in the dance (power, elegance, connection, musicality, fun…). We can adapt the class accordingly.
Focus on connection
When you take private classes, the person dancing with you a very experienced and is not thinking about their own technique: they are focused 100% on you. So, take the opportunity to feel that connection.
Ask plenty of questions
This one is obvious but we put it there because some people are shy. It’s like when you go to the doctor: they have seen and heard it all. Well, it’s the same here, at a tango-level: we want to help and are happy to answer any question.
Pay special attention to the tango music
Contrarily to a class or a practica/milonga, a private tango lesson is a great opportunity to ask more about the music you are dancing on. So, don’t hesitate to take a few moments during the class to ask about the orchestra, the instruments, the period, etc…. – especially as Pablo is a Dj and is passionate about tango music.
You can take notes
This is a private decision, depending on how you prefer to work. Some students take notes, others don’t. We’ve experimented with both in our learning years and find that notes can be helpful.
You can choose to remember 3 things
We’ll likely give plenty of corrections during the lesson. Some students find it helpful to recap what we discussed, and decide on the three corrections that will make the most impact on their tango until their next lesson. It could be, for example “focus on connection, relax the shoulders and practice balance exercises at home”.
You can use your camera
As long as it is for private use only, we have no problem with you recording some or all of the lesson if it helps you for your own practice in-between classes.
Practice in-between classes
We can only do so much during a private class… dancing is all about muscle memory, and the corrections we give will stick if you practice regularly in-between classes. You can find the way to practice that suits you best: you can go to group classes, a relaxed milonga, a practica, or practice in your living room…