Lesson 7 of 11
In Progress

Boost your Tango creativity

How can you dance tango more creatively?

We all have seen the smile on some women’s faces when the leader does an unexpected, well timed, funny step.

And who doesn’t want to be beautifully surprised?

I know I wanted to create that smile on my partners’ faces, so I looked for different ways to dance more creatively.

I took a private class on that topic with Ines Gomes, a teacher from Portugal.

I learned a looooot of things.

Ines gave me one advice that is incredibly simple, and yet it made practising creativity and improvisation so much easier.

And the coolest part?

I could practice that advice anywhere, even in the milonga.

Before you raise your beautiful, all-knowing eyebrow about that last bit, yes:
The milonga is not generally a place to practice.
It’s a place to bring forward your best qualities so that your partner can enjoy the dance.
BUT… stay with me 🙂

Before I give you that advice let’s deal with a common misconception:

Most people think creativity is all about doing a different step.
And yes, that’s part of it.
But creativity can also involve changing dynamics, or what percentage of time you spend on her right side vs left side, or how often you do a sequence.
For example, most dancers have the tendency to follow a sandwichito always with the same movement.
Or they have the tendency to do a forward step after almost every cross.
These are patterns built in your nervous system after countless repetitions.
And creativity is about breaking patterns.

So, how do you break patterns?

Here it comes:

Remove one element and dance the whole song without that element.

For example, you can dance a full song without doing:
1. A right side step.
2. A left pivot.
3. A straight-back step.
4. Two consequent forward steps.
5. …Fill the blank.

Try that even if you are alone.

I did.
Suddenly, when I was going for that cross that I had done a thousand times (you know the one: side step, forward, forward, cross, forward), I decided I was no longer allowed to do two forward steps in a row.
To keep her closer while I was frozen in space, I had to lead my partner to a smaller and more circular second step backwards, and I had to give the cross a more ‘rotating/circular’ nature.
Just like that, a linear pattern (for the follower: side step, long straight back, long straight back, cross, back) became a circular one (for the follower: side step, long straight back, small diagonal back to the left, cross with a bit of pivot, forward).

Even if you can’t visualise the pattern I just described, stand up and try to do it, even if you are alone.

Remove one element the next time you dance.
It’s frustrating, your brain will be on fire, your creativity will skyrocket.

P.S. Getting back to the ‘practise it in a milonga’ bit:
Most people are afraid that practising something at a milonga is a terrible mistake since you will create a bad experience for your partner and maybe even other dancers around.
I agree with that 99% opinion of the time.
But, if there is an element that I can remove relatively easily from my dance without creating a bad experience for my partner, I do it. I found out that the benefits of a more creative dance far outweigh the small mistakes that might happen.
But that’s just me. Judge for yourself.

P.S.2 If you want to explore how to make your dance more enjoyable for you and your partners, I would recommend checking the Curious Tanguero Advanced. Give it a try.

Stay curious,
The Curious Tanguero