Sadly, we hear it all the time: ”I’ve wanted to dance tango all my life but I never had a partner.”
It’s hard to imagine how many people have secretly dreamed of taking up tango only to fall at the first hurdle: a partner.
And had we told them: “Actually you don’t need a partner!”, would they have believed us?
We put it all over our website in huge bold captials , but still we get asked the question. So entrenched it is for some people that they need a partner, that it is difficult for them to take in that it might not be true.
But how about we go one step further than “no partner necessary” and drop this bombeshell:
You might be better off with no partner at all!
Who just fell off their chair?
”Hang on a second!” I can almost hear you say “doesn’t it take two to tango?”
Well, let me tell you how tango works.
Tango is a dance of improvisation. Tango – at it’s very best – is when two complete strangers step out onto the dance floor and are able to communicate through the medium of dance without any pre-planned steps at all.
Dancing with a stranger or with someone you don’t know very well is one of the best things about tango. It is an indescribably exhilarating feeling that cannot be compared to anything else in life. Well, that’s how avid tango dancers feel!
In our classes, we teach our students the art of improvisation – of leading and of following – so if they want to, they can take their skills to a “milonga” (tango club) on the other side of the world and dance with someone they have never met before.
Students who only dance with one partner quickly grow accustomed to their partner’s way of doing things: their signals, their favourite steps and their idiosyncrasies. Even their height and build. When suddenly the opportunity arises to dance with somebody new, they feel completely at sea.
Although in our beginners classes, couples can and often do stay together, this rarely happens in our other classes. By the time our students have been dancing for a while, they understand the importance of regular partner changes to becoming more rounded and versatile dancers. Plus, they are keen to experience the feeling of other partners. It is one of the great things about tango that every dancer feels unique to dance with.
When we go to the milonga, we dance with total strangers. We dance with fellow tango dancers who we’ve met and danced with before. We dance with friends. And some of us also dance with a special someone who we love dancing with most of all. But most people will have several dance partners in any one evening. And this is precisely what we go to the milonga to do!
Often students are keen to find a practice partner so that they can work on the detail of their dance outside the structure of the class and the milonga. There is no doubt that this is useful but we always advise them to ensure that they keep dancing with other people too. Especially early on in your journey, you can get over-used to that partner in just a few weeks.
There you have it! No partner needed. Yes, really! So now there is nothing stopping you, what are you waiting for?!