MasterCourse Study Suggestions

Enrollment in the MasterCourse includes access to the whole TangoForge Digital School, the Practice Courses, KnowledgeBase, and Exercise Center.  Here are some ideas about how to make best use of these resources.

How to Use the MasterCourse itself
  • We recommend that you do not try to Master every element’s material in a single session, but instead plan to study each Element’s session at least 4x, making circuits through the material.
  • Your goals on the FIRST viewing and practice of each session should be
    • to grasp what is distinct about this element
    • to learn one or two variations and integrate them into your dance
  • When you return in subsequent viewings and practice having used this element in your dance, you will hear and understand more subtle points in the technique, and you will adopt more variations. Each time you watch the session you will have more skills and will be able to use more of the information presented.
  • We also recommend that you review the 5 Biomechanical Tools video periodically, as your understanding of it will deepen as you study.

What Order to Study the MasterCourse Elements?

  • We have found that it does not matter in what order you study the Elements. Every element has insight for all levels of dancers.
  • We do believe it’s important that students track their own progress, to disrupt the usual tango learning situation of following a teacher through a disorganized and infinite number of sequences. This is why we suggest you print a copy of the Lexicon checklist, or use the sidebar checklist (which has a cookie set to retain your clicks over the 18-month enrollment period of the MasterCourse).
  • We recommend that you follow your own interest and curiosity through the Elements.

Optimal Study Plan

Different students have different learning styles which is why we offer the whole Digital School for free-range access. Your optimal plan is unique. If you really want coaching, here it is:

  1. Create a tango-study calendar. Map out 4 circuits through the MasterCourse with one Element per week (4 x 16 weeks). Be sure to note holiday or other unavailable weeks.  (The 18-month enrollment is 78 weeks. 4 circuits makes 64 weeks.)
  2. Make a practice plan with committed weekly times. If you have a practice partner or two, ask them to commit to your training schedule. If you are a Mark without a practice partner, decide when you will practice, for example at a regular weekly practica or a more relaxed milonga. If you are a Revel without a practice partner, use the Practice Course for Revels as the base for a weekly solo practice and add further exercises based on what you learned in the MasterCourse session.
  3. Watch the week’s designated MasterCourse session alone before your practice session. Take notes on things you want to practice and note timecodes on portions of the video you will need to access quickly during the practice session.
  4. At the end of your practice session take notes on what worked and what didn’t work and use the sections above to follow up on missing information and skills.
  5. Before going to a milonga or practica, always make some notes about what you’ll focus on while dancing. For Revels, this means a single priority piece of technique (you can only focus effectively on one self-correction at a time while also giving your best to the Mark, so always have a clear idea of what you are working on and stay on it without moving on until you feel you have fully integrated it as a new habit into your body). For Marks this means one or two elements or variations that you want to integrate into your regular dancing.
  6. Use the Exercise Center to add one tango-related exercise into your daily fitness/exercise regime. If you don’t have a daily fitness regime, then start one by doing one quick exercise from the Exercise Center every day.
Troubleshooting

What if you cannot execute a movement in the MasterCourse?

This means you need to improve your body awareness and control and this is a time to turn to the additional resources of the Digital School.

  1. Navigate to the 2017 version of the MasterCourse. In the 2017 version, each element has two sessions, one on Improvisation and the other on Biomechanics.  Follow along in the Biomechanics class.
  2. Find the most relevant session of the Practice Courses and do this 1x/week for 3 weeks.
  3. By this point you should be clear about which muscles are important to this particular action. Navigate to the Exercise Center, which is the most compact presentation of the muscle control exercises. Find the exercises for the muscle in question and do these 3x/week for a month.

Continue your progress through the MasterCourse. You may find that your body learns skills in another context. When you return to this element on your next circuit, you will have built physical skills.

What if an explanation just does not make sense to you?

  1. Navigate to the 2017 version of the MasterCourse and watch the Improvisation session there. Because the 2017 session was taught to a live class, the explanations are slightly more informal, include student questions, and more visible correction of mistakes.
  2. Read relevant entries in the KnowledgeBase.
  3. Send an email, start a chat, or book a video consultation to ask questions.

What if another teacher says something confusing that doesn’t fit with what you are learning with TangoForge?

Use the KnowledgeBase to explore this topic. You’ll find that we “deprecate” terms we find unhelpful and explain why and we also “disaggregate” confusing terms.

Feel free to send us an email, start a chat, or book a video consultation. We can explain the differences between different teachers’ approaches.

About Partners

Selecting a practice partner

For optimal improvement, you should practice the MasterCourse material regularly.

In choosing a practice partner, eagerness and reliability are more important than level.

Selecting a study partner

Your study partner for the Double Down Deal is someone who dances the same role as you (or both roles), who is ambitious and curious. You do not need to know this person well, but it should be someone you respect because you will be analyzing and learning together.

Tips for Distance Collaboration

Set a regular, weekly or bi-weekly time to meet by video. Give whereby.com a try for video chats. No account, no login, no download, no reservation, no long strings of numbers.

  • This will help you develop a routine of study so you are ready for the meeting.
  • It makes your study a commitment and priority.
  • Saves time and delay making a new appointment each week.

While watching the video, collect ideas to discuss in your meeting and write down the timecode on the video for each.

  • Things you didn’t know before.
  • Connections with other sessions, lessons, or experiences.
  • Things you don’t understand.

After each meeting, add unresolved questions to a list to ask Vio in your next session.

Digital School

Tools

Checklist

Download PDF of Checklist

Variations of Each Element

Demonstrations

We didn’t start online education in March of 2020. We started in 2014. Learn more about our Digital School