Tango Topics | Exploring Your Dance


Giving (and Receiving) Feedback

We would like to believe that we are perfect that everything that we do functions to what we believe is ‘right’ or ‘good’ or to our ideals of these things. They don’t have to be perfect, but things have to work. The problem with this line of reasoning is that a good portion of the time, this is essentially operating in a vacuum without external input, or external query, or oversight. This way of operating (anything really) can be desirable and it can also be less than desirable. A good portion of the time it’s less than desirable, but you don’t know that because you live in a bubble of information that is self deluding and self created. Think election 2016 and you’ll sort of get the idea of where this is going. 

Related to Tango ? Yes. This is entirely related to Tango. Without clear, clean, and honest feedback from the people that we dance with we can never change what we’re doing, or even know that change is required. And that’s the kicker right there, for a lot of you reading this and watching the video above, change is required, the problem is that you don’t know it. And furthermore, rightfully so, you’re afraid to ask for feedback because it means change, which means work You’re fearful of the work involved, that it will be hard, difficult, work. Further still that work will, or so you believe, uncover your ignorance around X, Y, and Z. And no one, absolutely no one wants to look like they’re ignorant of the facts. And when you really get down to it, you just don’t want to do that kind of work for something that is supposed to be ‘fun’. Right ? But here’s the kicker, you absolutely need to do that work. And you absolutely need to start from a place of ignorance. Why ? Think of it as if you were going to do your taxes for the year. And you forget a few things that are the difference between paying no taxes (cool) and paying hundreds of dollars/euros/rubles/etc in taxes. And all because you left out a few very important details. It’s the details that matter. Get those details right, and you pay no taxes. Get them wrong, or don’t supply them, and there goes your tango budget for the year! How is this related to Tango ? The details matter in Tango, everywhere, everywhere.

free registration ? practical tango advice. free music. tango thoughts. free videos & more.

Have you seen our Full Musical Course ? It covers the Beat, On Beat, Off Beat, The 5 Musical Pauses, Tango Music History, What to Listen for, How to Listen, and includes 14 Days of Tango Music, then 30 Days of Intensive Music, and more! For Leads & Followers! Take Your Musical Understanding To A Whole Other Level!

Try > Our Tango Music Course

bob was mr. boleo. he subscribed. now he walks & his partners love him.

Qualified Feedback. The fact is that good portion of people are 1.) not comfortable giving feedback. 2.) don’t feel qualified (because they’re not a teacher) to give feedback. and/or 3.) that they could be of any help to you because they don’t want to feel responsible or give you false information. At the same time we want to give qualified feedback, and receive qualified feedback, from a qualified source or a source of information that has a track record of teaching. The fact is that most people do have qualified feedback, they just don’t know how to put into a form that is useful to anyone. At the same time, we also have to give feedback that is useful and helpful to someone else. The fact is most people can’t do this, they feel overwhelmed as to what to say to someone without hurting their feelings, while at the same time providing useful information that could help someone.

So here’s how to give constructive feedback. Use “I” statements. Example ? “I feel pressure from your right arm and shoulder” or “I see that you’re watching my feet” or “I know that we’re not on the beat”. And so on. However those statements don’t go far enough, you must be specific in exactly what isn’t working in your opinion. Note the very last words there -“in your opinion”. Understand that you are not the sole of all wisdom and as such you have an opinion about how things operate, so you must state things as such. Saying anything more than that, unless you teach professionally, makes you seem arrogant and out of touch with reality. Further you must keep whatever feedback you do offer limited to you and what you are experiencing and not extend that to what your teachers have said, or what others have said. Example: “I am feeling pressure from your right arm and shoulder, and it’s causing me pain to have to resist you like that”. And not,“My teacher said that you have to resist me” or “Chicho said…” Got it? What this boils down to is that we want the feedback to be authentic and real. 

registration is free, costs nothing, and takes 2 minutes. 

Have you seen any of our Foundation Series ? It’s over an hr (8 videos) of Foundation Technique covering your Extensions, Feet, Posture, Embrace, and the beginnings of your Walk, and much more….

See > Foundations Bundle

milonga madness and a gold subscription together = 🙂

Where to give Feedback ? There is really only one appropriate place to give someone feedback, and that is at a practica (as defined in the video above). Never while dancing with someone, even if they ask for it and make it ‘ok’ for you to do so. Never while on a social dance floor at a Milonga. Ever. Again, not even if they ask for it.

When to give Feedback ? When someone has specifically asked for it, and/or when you have cleared with them first if they would like to hear some feedback about their dance. But only under those conditions. Any other time, it is not appropriate to do so.

Asking For Feedback ? There’s a desirable way to ask for feedback and dare I say it, an effective one. And there is an ineffective method of doing so. Lots of them actually. By example a very desirable method would be to say directly to someone at a practica, “I would love some feedback about my embrace from you, if you feel comfortable giving it ?”. Notice that it was specific and not nebulous. The questioner asked specifically what they wanted feedback on and didn’t just leave it at “Feedback”. Also notice that the questioner gave them the opportunity to not participate at all, “if you feel comfortable giving it”. This part is absolutely critical to getting direct feedback and making someone feel ok with giving you feedback.

Asking To Give Feedback ? It’s important to recognize even though you may have tons of information to hand someone about their dance, that they quite honestly don’t want to know about it, especially from the likes of you! So how do figure out if someone wants feedback ? Ask them. “Would you like some feedback about your embrace ?” or their walk, or their ochos. And so on. If they don’t want any, and no coaxing either, then you must, absolutely must let it go. 

registration is free, gets you some cool toy, tools, & takes 2 minutes.

Have you seen our Ocho Cortado series? We cover a wide variety of Ocho Cortados Including: The Linear Ocho Cortado, Circular Ocho Cortado, Ocho Cortado Options, Rock Step + Ocho Cortado, Ocho Cortado Wraps.

See > All The Ocho Cortados

dave prepared for buenos aires by subscribing!

What To Feedback ? This one is difficult but there are generally four areas that we want to talk about when giving feedback, and really 5 if we’re being detailed. And of course we’re being detailed.

1.) The Embrace (yours and theirs)

2.) Posture (yours and theirs)

3.) Compression, Pressure, Force, Rigidity, and Resistance.

4.) Walking – The stability and equilibrium of the walk.

and 5.) Applied Disassociation. (Pivots! Oy!)

Most times your feedback will be limited to item #1, the Embrace. Relating that something isn’t working. But really the rest of it comes into play when you start to think about it. And again, we’re using “I” statements to reference this stuff. “I am feeling a lot of _____________ (pressure, tension, force, lightness, softness) from your right arm along my back. It feels _________ (nice, not nice, painful, hurtful, etc).” The more detailed you are with this stuff the more helpful it is.

Too Much Feedback ? Yes. You can in fact overwhelm people with too much feedback and this happens a lot especially with beginner teachers, they suffer from this problem as well. So here’s a good rule of thumb. No more than 3 things to feedback in one dance. And really just the one. So you can mention the 3 things that are going on. But focus on just the most prominent one and stay with it until they get what you’re on about.

see tango topics free practical tango advice on how to make your dance better

Have you seen some of our Popular Posts ? On the topics of Asking A Woman To Dance ? Asking a Man To Dance ? The Follower’s Rescue Plan ? La MarcaTango RigidityI Move Me ? Resistance ? Connection ? The Active Follower ? The Seven Basic Moves of Tango ? These topics and more are some of our more popular items, go look. You won’t be disappointed! 

See > Popular Posts

see tango topics tango thoughts, over 100+ reminders, codigos, histories, and more…

The Last Word. The fact is that just because you gave someone feedback, does not mean that they’re going to change magically. Recognize and understand that people like what they’re doing. They don’t see anything wrong with it, or right with it for that matter. A good portion of the time what they’re doing is unconscious behavior and because it is that, you may have to remind them every few steps that they’re doing X, Y, and Z. Which is to say that most people will revert to what’s comfortable for them and instead of doing what’s right for the dance, they’ll revert to what’s comfortable for them to do. And more frequently than you would imagine. Like as in, every 2 or 3 steps! So reminders are kinda helpful here, and lots of them. At the same time, you have to remember something, that too many reminders and you’ll drive someone crazy. So it’s important to let a few go by and then remind someone, let 10 more screw ups go by and then gently remind them and so on. Oh and by the way, if you like this website, and the resulting videos, and want to actually, oh I don’t know…become a better dancer ? you might want to hit that annoying button in between the paragraphs…just saying. 😉

Have you seen the Milonga Madness series ? Over 2.5 hrs of pure Milonga Instruction GOLD with one of the best Social Milonga Teaching couples alive: Detlef Engel & Melina Sedó! It covers everything you need to know to get you up and running today with Milonga. Don’t delay, subscribe today!

Milonga Madness with Detlef Engel & Melina Sedo

explore your dance with a subscription! 😉

Why should you subscribe instead ?  Several reasons.  1.) Probably the biggest reason is to save a boatload of money. Buying these things outright isn’t cheap. Besides when you buy you only have access to the one video. Subscribing, on the other hand, gives you access to everything else so you can see the foundational material that goes with this stuff. 2.) Even if you’re a Free User, you’ll get access to free tips that aren’t available to anyone just reading the post like this one. 3.) Sometimes there are slightly different versions of the videos, that add a bit more content for the free user vs. an unregistered user. 4.) Because the Dancing Perspectives (Lead, Follow, and Dancing) are hidden to the open user. And that’s where all the information is at, unless you actually subscribe. Until you do, those very important textual descriptions of what’s going on for both Lead and Follow you want to read. 5.) And the real reason you should subscribe ? If you’re used to YouTube videos where you’ll see a performance, those Youtube videos don’t explain or walk you through how these ideas work! That is why! What you’re seeing is a presentation, a performance. Not how things work! And what you really need to see is how things work, and more importantly why they work! This website shows you that and more! 

Remember that what you’re seeing is a couple that is performing for the 15th row for a room full of people, they’re not social dancing. Whereas this website is all about ‘Social Dancing’  or how to make things function on a social dance floor. Social Dance floor ? Your local milonga! They’re showing flashy moves as a presentation! But not stopping and talking about how this works, why you’d want to put that piece of vocabulary there, or how to make things fit. This website is all about those things and more!

You could watch those videos and thereby spend your time, trying to infer, and figure out how things may work in that particular situation. Bend your body this way or that, twist and force this position or that. Place your foot here or there and figure it out. This is known as Tango Twister.  Which can be a lot of fun, but more than likely it won’t help you, because you’re missing something: The explanation from an experienced teacher showing you how to properly excute this stuff from a Leading Perspective as well as from a Following Perspective!

The goal of YouTube videos is to get you to study with those teachers in person. The goal of Tango Topics videos allows you to work at your own pace, in the comfort of your own space, so that you can play them over and over again to improve your understanding of the vocabulary or technique being described to therefore better your dancing experience. The goal of classes and workshops is to get you to come back over and over and over again, thereby spending more money with that teacher. This website and the videos under it are here to act as a resource for you to help you to improve your dance. Pay once and you’re done.

Eventually, one way or another you’re going to pay for this lesson, either here and now, or with them. TANSTAAFL! The difference between that lesson and this ? Is that you get to play this lesson over and over and over again. Further still, there are supporting materials (other videos) that help to explain the language and the underlying technique of how and why things work, so you can easily reference those things in the corresponding articles that go with the material, and or any language in the Tango Topics Dictionary. 


register for the site at no cost & get more great, and detailed content from tango topics!


Scroll to top


on Dec 31, 2020 at 12:01 Tango Topics will cease operation

The site will go dark, and ALL of its content will disappear in short order right after that.

What will happen to all of the content I’ve built over the last 5 years ?
It will get stored on a hard drive and it will not see the light of day after that.

What about all the content aside from the videos ? I will retain a working copy of the site, but the site will get deleted.

If you want more information, please visit this link.

If you would like to purchase the entire tangotopics library, the fee is $2500 US for a personal license. Please send a message to: sales@tangotopics.com 

Otherwise, thanks for reading.  

%d bloggers like this:
Hide picture