This is the story of how my Argentine friend Hernan successfully learnt how to dance tango.

Reflection: he was sitting at a milonga (tango dancing venue) where he was intrigued by a girl who was dancing. The creative part of his brain (associated with the right hand side) was working and of course, he realised that he had no chance unless he learnt how to dance.

Theory: he started taking lessons going through the theory of all the dynamics, and thus was engaging with the rational side of his brain (associated with the left hand side).

Practice: the teacher then made him practice all the movements, making Hernan lead all the steps he had learnt in theory, which engaged Hernan with the creative side of brain once again.

Experience: remembering all that he had learnt, he progressively built up the courage to ask the girl to dance with him. When they danced, he tried to ensure that he did not miss any of the instructions, and hence was engaging the rational side of the brain once again. The dance went well, although he did at one point step on her toe.

Reflection: after their dance, Hernan sat down again and started to think about how he could improve.

He worked it out and decided to continue learning by progressing through the steps of Reflection – Theory – Practice – Experience – etc. In fact, we all learn like this and learning is most effective when we engage all of these stages. Today, Hernan is a confident, popular, brilliant social dancer. I have also found that the process of (experiencing) dancing, reflecting, taking lessons and practicing tango is the most effective and enjoyable learning method.

Robert Tozer offers training through DCPro. Bring a partner!