I'll respond more to the recent posts later, but I feel I need to clarify an important point. Almost NO ONE who takes from me is a beginner. The couple of absolute beginners I have taught are followers who are not at all afraid of close embrace. They're perfectly willing. In fact they are FAR more open minded than most of the non-beginners I have. Everyone else coming to me has been doing tango for awhile, some for several years. Most of them don't mind being in the close embrace either. They are perfectly comfortable being IN the embrace... what they object to is DANCING in close embrace. They claim they aren't interested in it as a "style". Of course, I'm not teaching a style... I'm teaching proper lead and follow and its not that different regardless of the embrace. But the errors people are making usually become abundantly apparent in the 1st 5 minutes of trying to dance in close. Which is why they don't want to keep doing it. Its frustrating. Their issue has little to do with the closeness or the intimacy. Its about not being able to use their usual methods of forceful shoving leads (leaders) and a legitimate fear of being stepped on (follows). When I talk to them about it in depth I discover that in fact it has almost NOTHING to do with discomfort being close to the other person (and they're perfectly willing to STAND in the embrace while I talk about it), and everything to do with feeling inadequate as a dancer when doing it. Of course, the truth is that they are inadequate for the same reasons in open, but they don't have to recognize it or fix it. I don't require that the entire class be close. I dont' require that ANY of it be close, although I think close is a good TOOL for showing why certain things are problems. What I require is that people lead from the body (and follow actively despite having gotten accustomed to being forced to move). Sometimes the only way to get them to realize that nothing is happening in the body and that they aren't leading well (or following properly) is to eliminate their arms. I have several ways of getting the arms out of the equation that don't place people so close, and the leaders who object to close embrace usually object to all the other ways too. They resist tooth and nail any attempt I make to take them out of what they feel is 'supposed' to be the hold (ie: right hand in leaders left, leaders right around follower, follower left hand somewhere on leader and enough space between them to fit another couple) They resist because they can't lead without their arms. I use different holds as an exercise for class, not a "this is the way to dance at a milonga" concept. But even in class I get resistance to doing anything they feel is "beginner stuff" that they are "beyond" and modified holds seem to fall in that category for almost all the leaders. I have ONE (count 'em, ONE) student who is extremely uncomfortable in close embrace for physical boundery issues and I accept that problem. What I would have trouble accepting is someone coming to a technique class and then refusing any attempts or specific exercises to work on technique. If they are hoping to get more instruction in fancy steps that you need to do open because that's the "style" they want to dance, they're in the wrong class. I don't teach that (and that's made quite clear in the description) and I don't feel I should adapt what I want to teach to satify a prima donna who thinks he is too advanced to work on his technique. Bad technique is not a style, no matter how much they object to certain exercises because its "not their style". The bottom line is that we have a community of leaders who give overly forceful, and sometimes painful, shoving leads. They push and pull the followers all over the place (while not moving their body much at all). We have a growing number of followers who simply drop out of tango because dancing with the majority of the local leaders is unpleasant and sometimes injurious. My friends who travel more for tango tell me that it is a local phenomena and they don't experience this level of rough leading anywhere else in such overwhelming majority. Of course, the followers sometimes don't realize that they contribute to the problem by not actually following and doing their part. Sometimes the experience of getting stepped on is because the follows haven't learned how to keep their weight forward and reach back rather than fall backwards/ lean backwards. And they have gotten used to forceful leads and don't respond to a proper lead, which in turn encourages the guys to use forceful leads. And the leaders and followers have all gotten used to looking at the feet for the ENTIRE dance, which is another thing you can't do in close embrace. Whole tandas of fancy moves with their heads at a 90 angle to their body! When I take away their ability to WATCH where their partner's feet are, they truly have no idea where the other person is! I feel several posts came down on me sorta hard for trying to use close embrace as a teaching tool, when in fact, the lessons learned from close embrace are exactly what many of our local dancers need. I encourage them to try it, I use it as an exercise in class and I sometimes just play with it to demonstrate something and let them go back to what they were doing and see if the lesson "sticks". Its fine if they don't want to be "close embrace dancers" out at the milongas. They can dance whatever style they like. However, I've found that it is VERY difficult to get someone to break a bad habit without CHANGING something about what they are doing. I can tell them til I'm blue in the face to look up, or to use less arm or to turn the body or to go with the man's chest or to reach back instead of fall back. But as long as they simply do a step pattern they learned in another class with the same hold (which is often VERY offset to the side), they aren't going to do it differently than the habit they've developed over several years. I have to CHANGE something they are doing to shake it up or they'll just keep doing what they've always done. They have to be REQUIRED to adjust by something new in order to stop doing what they've always done. If anyone else has good ideas about how to help people break these bad habits developed over years of getting away with them, hey, I'm all ears. I've found that this works for anyone willing to give it a try. As I said, I've gotten good feedback from most everyone who has taken from me. I just can't keep people coming consistently. So since I have a small roster, if they don't ALL come everytime, its more of a semiprivate lesson than a "class". But as I said, I'm beginning to see that as a blessing.