What is there to learn?

Making someone comfortable

  • Understanding and respecting someone’s abilities, desires
  • Truly dancing for each other and no one else
  • Going from learning a movement to learning to enjoy doing it

Dealing with different partners

  • Height difference
  • Weight, strength
  • Different skill set, different styles, different opinions
  • Finding out someone’s ‘defaults’, choose to work with or against them
  • Adjusting the position of one’s core(from whence one leads) to fit each partner
  • Find a way to highlight one another’s strengths and work around weaknesses


  • Open: Nuevo, …
  • Close: Salon, Milonguero, Villa Urquiza, V-shaped
  • Knowing when to loosen, when to tighten


  • Where the foot first touches the ground


  • Head
  • Torso, back
  • Outer arm(leader: left, follower: right)
  • Hips
  • Legs, when to straighten and when to bend


  • Theory(Habanera, syncopation, measures, phrases, …)
  • Listening
  • Knowing different orquestas and their styles


  • Quick to react to sudden changes
  • Being able to stop completely, without ‘reverb’, on the spot, anytime
  • Changes of direction


  • Know exactly how much weight to apply
  • Know when to smooth one movement into another
  • Know how much weight/force is required to counter another movement
  • Know where every part of one’s own and the partner’s body is at any given moment, enabling precise Sacadas and avoiding stepping on toes


  • Weight transfer
  • Drawn-out, slow movements


  • Avoiding square movements, sharp ‘edges’
  • Move around a shared axis, shift and tilt it
  • Leaving the shared axis


  • Conservation of space
  • Knowing where there is space, moving into gaps
  • Respecting other dancers around oneself
  • Keeping up the flow of the Ronda
  • Shielding one’s partner from danger


  • Making it ‘pop’, having a cohesive theme throughout a song
  • Avoiding repetition(except maybe to accentuate it in the music)
  • Telling a story, facial expressions, ‘selling the act’


  • Providing clear guidance
  • Knowing when to give space
  • Also reacting to the partner
  • Knowing when to take charge
  • Knowing (and maybe being able to do oneself) the follower’s movements, and limitations


  • Anticipating movements without reacting prematurely
  • Keeping up, staying alert(‘Active following’)
  • Influencing the leader, slowing down or accelerating,


  • Mirada y cabaceo
  • Floorcraft
  • Being respectful of everyone
  • Adjusting to the Argentine culture and way of life

Shaping the community

  • Helping out others
  • Enforcing standards
  • Securing funding
  • Organizing events


(i.e. knowing how to keep improving)

  • Shaping one’s path
  • Being hungry for more
  • Keeping up with what others are doing
  • Knowing what is possible
  • Have an opinion, but be receptive to other people’s
  • Finding the right teachers, know one’s own strengths and weaknesses
  • Being able to articulate one’s aims in taking a lesson

Finding one’s own style

  • Creativity
  • Deciding what one likes, dislikes
  • Maybe: Gimmicks, own ‘moves’, identifying quirks(but also ‘Kill your darlings’, don’t repeat yourself too often)
  • Important: It has to scale, i.e. be adaptable to different environments and partners, and fit with a wide range of music


  • Stability
  • Reaction time
  • Strength, core strength
  • Flexibility
  • Endurance
  • Mental aptitude, being able to learn new information fast and retain it, being able to apply it to new uses
  • Being in a state that teachers do not have to waste time trying to fix one’s coordination and stability issues, see Getting a body that moves well when dancing