In China, most Tai Chi schools do not teach the real art publicly. Rather they have what is known as outdoor or public students and indoor students. This causes tremendous confusion here in the West, as there are a number of problems that can arise from this.
When people think of Tai Chi they usually picture a group of people doing a series of slow movements in a quaint park somewhere. People have a tendency to think that Tai Chi IS the form. This is especially true of people in the West. Real Tai Chi is NOT the form; it is the Internal Work.
There are many different forms, and there are many ways to do the form that can look very different, but they can all be correct depending on the Internal Skill that is being worked on. The form is not the Art; it is merely a teaching aid for practicing and troubleshooting Internal Skills.
Tai Chi is famous for its many health benefits, but those do not come from doing the form. There is no magic combination of movements performed in the right order that will lower your blood pressure. There is no special method of waving your arms and legs in the air that will give you better balance, or relief from arthritis. To get these benefits, you must have the Internal Principles of Tai Chi. It is about the quality and expression of movement, not the movements themselves.
It is these qualities of motion and internal principles that really make Tai Chi, not the choreography.
The beauty of Tai Chi is that when you understand the Internal Principles, you can practice all day long, even in public, and no one will be the wiser.