How to learn Tango online – an easy guide
If you choose to learn tango online, can you really boost your progress? Not all online classes are born equal, and not every course is for everyone. Join us to discover what is best for you.
Are online tango classes for you?
Online tango classes can be great for some and bad for others. Let’s answer a few questions together to find out if the path of online tango learning is for you.
What are the different types of online tango learning?
When studying tango online you have different options. Some of them are:
- Live online classes or recorded videos
- Private classes or group classes
- Taking the class alone or taking it with a partner
- Purchasing lifetime access to online courses or subscribing to a continuity program
Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks. You’ll understand more soon.
Why would someone want to learn tango online?
There are many reasons you might choose to study your favourite dance online:
Reason 1: A powerful supplement
You might choose to accelerate your learning by taking some classes of tango online on top of your regular presential classes. This allows you to practice more and develop your skills from the comfort of your home.
Reason 2: Exploring different approaches
Each teacher approaches tango differently. Taking a few online tango classes with different teachers is easy, and allows you to understand how different teachers approach the same topics. By understanding the differences in the approaches of different teachers you can find what works best for you.
Reason 3: Covid and Tango
Covid forced a lot of dancers to start taking classes from home. Although in the beginning this felt as a forced solution, many of them found out that they enjoyed learning tango online from the comfort of their living room. In some cases it even saved them plenty of transportation expenses and time.
Reason 4: Unique teachers that you wouldn’t normally meet otherwise
Online tango classes allow you to learn from teachers that you might never be able to have classes with in person. During the pandemic I took online tango classes with teachers from Chile, UK, Argentina, Belgium, Greece, etc. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars to travel abroad and meet them, I was able to learn directly from them much easier.
Reason 5: Learning from the experts
Not all tango teachers are experts in musicality, as not all teachers are experts in technique, embrace, connection, stability, etc. When you learn tango online you can choose to learn from the teachers that are experts in the aspect of your tango you most want to improve.
Reason 6: Controlling the pace
When watching a pre-recorded tango course, you can click pause, rewind, watch again and again, play in slow motion, etc. If you are a fast learner, you can skip the basics and go straight to the interesting stuff. If you are a slow learner, no worries, you can watch and try everything at your own pace.
What are the differences between online classes and presential classes?
Online classes cannot replace 100% presential classes. Let’s explore this together:
Tango information and concepts
When learning tango, you need to understand different concepts. Some of those concepts can be explained very well verbally. In this case, an online class can be as good or even better than a presential class.
But, if there is a concept that your teacher needs to be able to touch you in order to explain it, then there are limitations.
If you are an advanced dancer, you will easily understand the concepts you learn during an online class and apply them. Your experience and self awareness allows you to analyze the information you receive during the class and embody it.
On the other hand, if you are a beginner, this might not be so easy. Learning tango online often requires a higher level of self understanding and awareness. Having said that, there are remarkable teachers out there that are great in teaching beginners online. Make sure to check the “How to choose the right online tango classes for you?” section below.
When you try a new step while dancing with your teachers or partners, they can give you their feedback on the spot, and can tell you how your embrace feels, if there is something that you might want to change in the way you lead or follow, etc.
When you try a new step during an online class, a lot of this feedback might not be available. Some teachers are good at identifying your mistakes just by looking at you, and they can overcome this difficulty to a great extent. But in case you are watching a pre-recorded video, then you will need to be able to analyze your own movement and figure out if you are doing it as intended.
A presencial class is a social activity. You get to interact with different people, observe how they dance, and dance with them as well. This is not usually possible during an online class (or it is quite limited).
How to choose the right online tango classes for you?
When choosing to learn tango online you have many options. Here are a few questions that can help you decide which tango classes are the right ones for you.
The teacher matters
Not all teachers are created equal when it comes to online learning. Some teachers are great in explaining a concept by simply touching you, but terrible in using words to explain the exact same concept.
When I was putting together Tango Tips by the Maestros, I found out that if you can find a teacher who can explain a tango concept in writing, then this teacher is usually great in teaching online too. You need to have a very deep understanding of the concept and of how to communicate it if you want a student to read a few lines of text and understand what you want them to do.
The student matters
Not all students learn the same way. You might learn by touch, or by observing, or by listening. If you are in the first case, online tango might be hard for you. If you are in the second, you’ll need to find teachers that demonstrate often the steps they want to teach you. If you are in the third, it’s better if you find teachers who enjoy sitting down and explaining the concept in detail.
It’s not about the brand, it is about the fit
We tend to assume that the most famous tango dancers are also the best tango teachers. Don’t fall for that. I’ve had classes with people that everyone in the tango community knows and learned less than what I learned from local teachers.
It is not about the brand, it is about the fit. A well known teacher that cannot teach you in the way you can best learn is probably not the right choice for you.
Live vs recorded
Do you want to have a live class where the teacher can see you and give you feedback, or do you prefer to have access to recorded videos that you can always revisit?
Beginner dancers usually prefer live classes since the feedback at these stages is critical. Advanced dancers might choose recorded videos since their bodies and minds are already trained in embodying and understanding information.
Having said that, many tango teachers record their classes and the students have access to them.
Private classes vs group classes
A private class is a great tool to boost your tango, but especially when it comes to online learning, you need to be prepared. In a presencial, private tango class you might get away with not knowing what you want to learn, but when you go online this might be a waste of money.
Before booking an online private class ask yourself: do I know exactly what I want to learn? And is this something I believe I can learn online?
If you are not certain, I would recommend taking some group classes and when the questions and doubts are clear, then request a private class of tango online.
One time or continuity
There are online courses that I love watching again and again. In this case I prefer to buy them once and for all, instead of subscribing on a monthly basis. On the long term, it pays back.
But, there are some teachers that are incredible in understanding your current stage and helping you with exactly what you need at this moment to grow. When I am considering those teachers, I usually go for continuity programs.
Let’s explore different online tango options
Below, I’ll give some examples of different options when studying tango online and explain what I liked about each. I hope this will help you better understand your own criteria.
Leandro Palou & Maria Tsiatsiani
Type: monthly subscription that allows me to participate in live classes and watch recordings of past classes and workshops.
What I liked:
Leandro and Maria have created a vast collection of more than 200 recorded classes that will give you enough food for thought (and dance) for years.
Their classes are fun, make you feel as if you were in a presencial class, and their topics are quite interesting. I loved their classes on “Balance vs Stability”, “Stability vs Mobility”, “Interpretation and Improvisation”, and “Change of dynamics”.
And at the moment of this writing, they offer a two weeks free trial so that you can learn tango online and see if it is the right choice for you.
Liz & Yannick
Type: monthly subscription that allows me to participate in live classes and watch recordings of past classes
What I liked:
Liz & Yannick will help you learn and laugh. They have created a wonderful resource that will allow you to explore from simple to advanced combinations and concepts. Everytime you feel confused by an advanced combination, you can simply click on the supporting links and watch each element explained in detail.
You can study tango online with Liz & Yannick here.
Niko Carambas & Belen Martinez
Type: monthly subscription that allows me access to recorded classes and to one online private class per month
What I liked:
Niko & Belen have investigated both tango salon and tango escenario. With an open mind they kept asking “Why?” and this gave a depth in their explanations that I loved. If you want to understand confusing concepts, I recommend writing your questions down and scheduling the private class. Niko will get a bit philosophical, Belen will get a bit practical, and you will get a holistic answer.
You can study tango online with Niko and Belen here.
Type: pay-per-class live classes
What I liked:
Alejandra has defined what tango is today. It is an incredible privilege to be able to learn from her. Her classes focus less on steps and more on understanding how your body works. Instead of having a strict class plan, she allowed our questions to shape each class. Alejandra is unique in her ability to watch you move and understand what you need to change, even if this change is as small as the way you are using a specific finger of your feet.
You can join Alejandra’s classes here.
What about you? Did you already take tango online classes that you loved? If yes, please let me know why you loved them here.