We’ve heard our tango teachers give the following corrective feedback:

“You’re not stepping far enough,” or “You’re stepping too far.”

This often happens because we’ve formed a mental picture of how the figure is supposed to look. And instead of actually paying attention to what our partners are doing or how they’re moving, we’re too busy recreating that mental image. But with new steps (and sometimes with familiar ones), the picture in our heads doesn’t usually correspond with reality.

So the problem in this case isn’t because we’re being indecisive or tentative with our movements. And it isn’t because we’re being unclear with our partners.

It’s that we’re trying to overrule them.

We can’t trust our mental perception of how a step should look, and our movements alone won’t make tango work. Whatever we want to create must involve cooperation with the unique leader or follower in front of us.


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