LET BEGINNERS MAKE MISTAKES

A lot of novice tango dancers are understandably timid. Although they've mustered the courage to show up to a milonga, it's a new environment and can be intimidating at first. Many experienced dancers try to help by taking them out on the dance floor, and that's great.

And once out on the dance floor, we experienced dancers make an effort to keep things simple for the novices. But we have to be careful not to make things too easy. If we spoon-feed them by making up for their mistakes or compromising our own form, we'll tacitly encourage bad habits. 

We should definitely get a feel for what our partners can or can't keep up with, and challenge them just enough. At the same time, we have to allow beginners to make mistakes. It's hard to let someone feel the full brunt of an error, because we remember how uncomfortable it can be. The purpose, of course, is not to shame beginners or scare them away. Instead, we're helping them build the fortitude to keep going on their tango journey.

If we made it through our bumpy beginner phase without being coddled too much, they can too.

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