Not too long ago, I wrote a blog entry on the importance of being bold and taking “big steps” in order to move our dancing forward.

But in the past, I’ve also made the case for paying attention to “smaller steps,” such as fundamentals and the finer details of body awareness.

I’m sure other tango teachers have given similar advice emphasizing one approach as well as the other. So which is it? Is there a right way? Should we choose one according to our personality, then stick to it?

Perhaps the answer is a little more nuanced. I’ve found that when choosing to go the “bold” route, we definitely accomplish a lot. But at some point, we come to a place where we have to step back and work on fundamentals and finer details.

But I’ve also found that when choosing to focus heavily on basics and small details, we eventually find ourselves pressed to take bigger, bolder leaps. This can include going to a festival for the first time, taking a more challenging class, or attending a milonga in a different city.

The issue isn’t about choosing one path over the other. It’s knowing when to transition from one to the other – and perhaps back again – while motivating ourselves to break the mold each time.

At every turn, it seems that tango won’t let us stay in any comfort zone for long.

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