Ultimately it's women who have the most direct interest in men dancing well...
All of which is a preamble to saying that Monica Paz, in addition to building up an oral history of tango through the excellent Practimilongueros videos, leads a weekly 'practimilonga' at El Beso, run by herself and a couple of women friends, which concentrates on the details of lead, follow and embrace, with some simple but useful material, and which works through social dancing; even the choice of practice partners operates through the cabeceo. It seems to be a well thought-out and useful system. She's one of a number of women teaching (among them Enriqueta Kleinman, Ana Maria Schapira and to a large extent Myriam Pincen too) who learned by following and watching. Sadly, not many people go, so it's like a private dance session with some very experienced friends.
Monica says that one of her interviewees said that in the old days, if you wanted to know how good a dancer was you watched the shoulders, whereas these days people watch the feet. To me this is the clearest indication of the difference between the London and the Buenos Aires close dance. In Buenos Aires it's not only the rotation of the shoulders about the axis, essential for a comfortable close dance of course, but it's also the lateral movement of the shoulders and torso through space and up and down, as if following the lines of the melody, in much the way an opera singer might sway while singing an aria. That's what I've understood from Pedro, and what I've seen in milongas. It's a very complete physical response to the music.
The Cachirulo milonga follows immediately after practica, but if you need to go to the practimilonga as a lead you might not have too much success at the subsequent milonga, as you'll be measured against some of the most practiced tangueros there are. If you're a follow, you might just have to hang in there and wait your turn.
The most recent Practimilongueros video features interviews during Monica's recent visit to Europe, with four teachers and organisers in Europe who accept the practimilonga model. Elisabetta Cavallari of RovigoTango, Dobri Gjurkov in Hamburg and N. Germany of Tangonido, Jessica Bijvoet in Leiden of Libertango and Tina Riccardi of Tangoquerido in Brussels. All maintain close contact with the social tango of Buenos Aires, and their comments are very interesting.