We all learn in different ways and are often shaped by our own history when it comes to assimilating something new. Sometimes during the learning process we hang on to preconceptions and ideas which hinder our own progress. To get the most out of your tango classes there are several things you have to know:
1. Tango is a physical activity
If you have ever done any martial arts and had an outspoken teacher you will remember being told that if you don't have the time to practice at least twice a week you can forget about ever progressing. Sadly, there is some truth in that. If you only dance 1h a week during class and never stay to practice - or never come to practice on another day - you will have a hard time getting better - in fact you will find in most cases that when you come back to class the next week you will have forgotten what happened the week before. The more often you revisit what you have learned the quicker you will be able to do it.
Often, beginners feel that they torture their dance partners when they practice. Maybe you do, maybe you don't. Maybe your dance partner tortures you. Maybe it doesn't matter...we are all not so great when we practice something we cannot yet do, and that's quite alright. Repetition and thoughtful practice will make things better in no time.
2. Taking lots of classes doesn't necessarily mean you get better faster
You only get better faster if you are able to assimilate the material you are being offered in class (and when the teaching is good) - in order to assimilate you need to practice. So, if you can increase your practice time then taking more classes with good teachers might make you better faster. If you can't invest more time to practice, extra classes might just be a waste of money!
3. Taking classes above your level doesn't necessarily mean you learn faster
In recent years some social scientists have attempted to understand why many people greatly overestimate their level of expertise in areas in which they are unskilled. This particular bias has come to be known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Maybe it is this effect which leads many tango beginners to conclude that it is a good idea to do classes which are way beyond their level - or maybe it is because they think that dancing with more experienced dancers makes their learning experience better and makes them progress faster. There are several problems with this theory:
....to be continued