Everyone has to learn the fundamentals of tango, one way or another. After a while, you come to realise that at least 80% of what social dancers do when they dance is to combine and recombine the fundamental elements of the dance: its distinctive actions and vocabulary, in a variety of ways. For some, that way is formulaic, rather like a tourist in a foreign land using a phrase book, and for others, the language of the dance is fully assimilated and then spoken fluently. Most people start with a certain amount of structure and move towards a more improvisatory way of dancing, later. This is normal, and for many, it is a necessary path to progress. Others catch on to the idea of freedom, underpinned by the grammar of the dance, more quickly, and for them learning moves and figures is distracting and ultimately unhelpful. We are all different, and have different learning needs and styles.
Only a few will ever become regular social dancers, and a smaller number still, will ever be any good at it. Tango is many different things and has many different faces. The only exception is if you want to dance in a particular place with a particular group of people. There you must conform - it applies to very few of us.