The standard tango class is designed to do a little bit of three things: Move through a sequence to become familiar with the sensations of transition between one move and another. Provide a little brainfood for the leaders about how things can be combined. Have a nice social experience.
Each week students show up and get a small view of tango. Classes can be inspiring and fun, but without a comprehensive view of the technical and improvisational systems of tango, students don’t improve rapidly.
Moreover, many world-class dancers do not have the skills to analyze and explain what they are doing.
Many teachers purposely withhold information to increase students’ study time.
Common teaching practices such as memorized sequences and oversimplified techniques slow students’ learning.
Tango classes are not designed to ensure you are mastering tango. They are not systematic and there is not enough physical training or practice. Good teachers offer a “warm-up”. But for this to be effective, you need to do it several times a week!
The social setting of tango classes is nice because we meet new people and we have a sense of community. While partner changes help us develop friends and sympathy for a range of dancers, this is not effective, concentrated practice.
Many students stop going to classes because it seems like a waste of money. They’d like to improve and dance with better partners, but classes aren’t helping.
If you want to dance with more confidence, make your dance more interesting, get better partners, and recover the sense of discovery and excitement you had when you first started dancing, it’s time to take responsibility for your own learning.
Instead of waiting for you local teacher to put it all together for you, you can gain a Mastery perspective on tango which will make sense of all the tidbits you’ve learned in class and seen on dance floors and videos.
Our MasterCourse is a comprehensive curriculum for students ready to take responsibility for their learning.
In order to understand our tango education to date, we need to understand that teachers in the tango industry usually believe that they need to hold on to their secrets to maintain their position, and that they need to sell what they know in small drips to ensure that students keep coming back week after week for years.
The reason we’re not learning is not because tango has to be “in your blood” or “you have to understand the Lunfardo lyrics” or “you have to go to Buenos Aires” or “it takes ten years” or because “foreigners just don’t understand the soul of tango”…
The reason we’re not learning is because the teachers are not teaching. Mostly they are showing off, making jokes, being adorable, telling us to watch them again, covering up their leg joints with baggy pants, and keeping secrets.
Several Argentine pros have admitted that when they were young and just starting to teach, their seniors pressured them “don’t teach so much, you’re telling too much information.”
There is money to be made in mystification.
Tango is actually not that difficult. There are only 25 Elements. At a very slow rate of learning, you could learn one every month, mastering tango in two years. You can definitely learn one new thing per month, right?
Each movement has from 8-72 variations. But that’s ok, there’s no memorization needed because all of those variations can be found by systematically examining the different ways those four legs can do that movement. You don’t need a teacher for this at all!
We teach Argentine Tango technique in a way that everyone can understand and implement, so that teaching is not a cult of personality and metaphor, but a toolbox that students can use on their own to diagnose their own errors, assist partners, and learn faster from any teachers.
The Lexicon of Tango is the repertoire of 25 Elements and their variations inherited from the 1940s. Until the mid-1990s, tango was understood in groups of steps, or sequences. The Cochabamba Investigation Group analyzed tango and identified the basic elements, from which dancers can compose. Dancing from the elements empowers dancers to to express every music, challenge partners to maintain intense concentration, and use space skillfully for better floorcraft.
The MasterCourse is a complete documentation of TangoForge Pedagogy, covering every Element in the Tango Lexicon.
It shows exactly the technique you need to Master the element, using consistent technique and anatomically-accurate terminology.
It shows how to find all the variations of each element, without memorizing.
The MasterCourse is 10 hours of video, covering the 25 elements in 16 sessions.
Upon enrollment, you receive access to the complete contents, for a period of 18 months.
The MasterCourse also includes our Home Solo and Pair Practice Courses, our Exercise Center to learn about your tango muscles and muscle chains, and our KnowledgeBase Encyclopedia. We guarantee the quality of our education by answering any further questions you have online or in person at no additional charge.
We teach the 25 Elements of Tango are presented in 16 videos and you can purchase them for €29 each on this page. This gives one month of access.
You are welcome to upgrade anytime to the full MasterCourse only by paying the difference between what you’ve already spent and the full price of the MasterCourse, €479. You will immediately receive access to the whole MasterCourse for a period of 18 months.
Most tango students are spending roughly €15 on their weekly class. If you’re getting there 40 weeks a year, that’s €600. And most students also spend about the same on visiting teachers and special workshops, totaling about €1200 per year.
Do you feel you are receiving a structured education?
Of course there are lots of other reasons to take classes and watch visiting teachers, but what about taking 1/2 that budget and investing in a real curriculum as the base of your learning.
YouTube has shown the world that you can learn nearly anything by video. And this means people can learn new skills from home on their own schedule from teachers all over the world. And teachers are learning to be more effective with this medium.
Yes, of course there are aspects of dancing that you can only learn by feeling them. But that’s only about 20% of learning tango.
Here are just a few examples of things dancers need to learn that can easily be communicated over video:
- Exercises to improve your balance and hold your projection.
- Training to ingrain tango’s special patterns: molinete, ochos, voleos.
- Understanding systems for finding variations.
The way people talk about “those guys” with perfect connection and “those girls” with amazing embraces can be so demoralizing when you’re working hard to improve your tango. Like “nice eyes” or “great legs”, connection and embrace are glorified as personal traits.
But balance, embrace, and connection are not aspects of unique personality, they are physical skills that we can train.
The problem is that most teachers have not been committed to finding effective ways of teaching, and they tend to blame the students who don’t “get it”.
Regardless of which “style” of tango you prefer, all Argentine Tango relies on the same skills.
In fact, balance, embrace, and connection are created by understanding and controlling joint actions and muscle contractions. And these are remarkably straightforward and easy to learn when explained properly.
We have studied anatomy and biomechanics to be able to give direct and clear instructions for sublime connection, balance, clear communication, and fluid movement.
Vio is a retired Professor of Economics, independent tango teacher, artist, and blogger. I fell in love with tango in 2006, and struggled to learn and improve despite the lack of clear information from my sweet and beautiful teachers in California and Buenos Aires.I was trained to find structures amidst piles of data, to distill knowledge, and to find effective ways of teaching.
When students aren’t learning, it’s usually not their fault. The problem is weak teaching, lacking clear actionable instructions.
Roberto was a pedagogic and fell in love with tango about the same time.
Before we analyzed tango for ourselves, we were going to classes desperate for any information about how to improve.
When we were asked to teach, we were both determined that our students would learn faster and better than we did.
When we met in 2014, we realized that our dreams of what tango could be, and what tango education could be, were true.
Our goal is students who learn much faster than we did and become better dancers than us so we have great dance partners all over the world for the rest of our lives.
Dancers are told it takes 10 years to learn tango.
We think that's unethical.
So we've explained it in 10 hours of video.
The rest is up to you.
The MasterCourse Curriculum
25 Elements in 16 Sessions
01 02 04
We walk together in systems, on tracks, and we can change feet in different combinations.
Side steps and Ochos
An ocho is a step beginning with a pivot of 90-270 degrees
Molinete lineal is tango's custom for walking sidewards.
In a sacada the partners step perpendicular to one another, with one partner displacing the other.
08 09 10
There are Three Giros. Double-giro and two Single-Giros, the Mark’s Single Giro and the Revel’s Single Giro (also known as Calesita).
The free leg crosses in front or behind the base leg.
A stop, during any point of a step or pivot.
A barrida moves the Revel's free leg by direct contact with the Mark's free leg.
These are the off-balance elements. In Volcada the partners lean on one another. In Colgada the partners hang.
Adornos are unmarked embellishments. Both partners can do almost anything they want, as long as they remain reliable and predictable.
A soltada goes out of the standard embrace.
A rebote is an elastic step which returns to the origin. Alteración is a rebote which pivots and releases at a different point than the origin.
Voleo Circular maximize front and back projections during a pivot. Voleo Linear maximize front, back, and side projections.
Ganchos hook a voleo through the partner's leg or around the body.
Contra block to Revel's Pivot. Patada is a kick, usually between the partner's legs, marked with a contra block.
A salta is a situation in which the Revel's weight is off of both of her feet. This could be a jump, lift, drag, or sostenida.