WHAT is the MOST PRODUCTIVE WAY to STUDY and GET BETTER?
You want to improve and become a great dancer. You have options: continue taking group classes with various teachers, taking privates, dancing socially.
What is the best?
We highly recommend the following formula for the best result:
1) DO TAKE REGULAR GROUP CLASSES. Most important! No matter what your level is, regular group classes is where you get your "checkpoints", as I call them. It's a weekly portion of something useful. If you want advice on schools dependent on your level, feel free to ask me. DO find the tango school and teachers that fit YOU. I will write a separate post about it because it is important.
2) DO DANCE SOCIALLY, don't postpone it till you've taken 5 million classes. You NEED to get yourself to feel the music, to discover new people, to start enjoying, otherwise what's the point? Dance socially at least once a week.
3) TAKE PRIVATE CLASSES for working on YOUR TECHNIQUE and POLISHING what you know. It doesn't have to be many classes. There is really not enough benefit in substituting group classes with just privates, plus it gets really expensive. But privates are GREAT for improving what you already know. Again, FIND YOUR TEACHER! Try a few, local and visiting. Everyone is different and you need to find the one who suits you. With a great teacher you might need just one private, while with someone not so good even 50 are not enough.
4) PRACTICE! Practice practice. Practicas are cheaper than milongas and are the BEST way to try things! THIS is where you try, experiment, make mistakes and laugh about it easily! Please do not ignore practicas and try to use them for practicing, not for just dancing :)
5) TAKE WORKSHOPS with SPECIAL VISITING TEACHERS, but do not rely on those workshops to be the only source of your knowledge. They are an ADDITION and a new door, a new perspective, not a substitute!
If you are on a REALLY tight budget and still want to learn tango, here is what I recommend: 1) Regular group classes of HIGH QUALITY. The kind where you make use of every minute. 2) PRACTICAS! They are cheap and a great way to ask questions and polish things. 3) SOCIAL DANCING. Otherwise, what's the point? :) And once in a while, invest into a private with well recommended teachers. When on a tight budget, LOOK for personal RECOMMENDATIONS to be sure what you get!
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have comments or questions, and I'll be happy to help!
With Love for Tango, Olga Metzner