Tango Argentino > Adventures with an IDTA syllabus... :)

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Dave Bailey, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    This isn't really an answer to your question, but a couple of observations.

    Some people are naturally gifted teachers. We must hope that many of them gravitate to teaching in one form or another, working either with children in schools and colleges, or with young adults in further and higher education or with adults in what, in the UK, is euphemistically known as the Lifelong Learning Sector. In the widest sense, dance teachers can fall into any of those groups, but many are self-employed and work in a commercial setting, but some do it just for fun or as a paying hobby.

    In most areas of teaching, training and certification is mandatory. You cannot teach children in the UK at all unless you have a suitable degree and post-graduate teacher training certification. You cannot even teach hobby photography to an evening class in a public sector college without at least an entry-level teaching qualification (PTTLLS), and if you have responsibility for curriculum development and management, higher-level qualification is required, even for flower arranging.

    I'm not wholly convinced that all this certification is strictly necessary, but I can't think of any compelling reason to hold teaching tango as being intrinsically different from teaching anything else. If I wanted to teach photography, I would hope to have enough confidence in the course of study I had undertaken to believe that it would help me to become a competent photography teacher.

    Dance teaching qualification is by no means limited to the BR fraternity. My society offers teaching qualifications in Ballroom, Latin, Classical Sequence, Salsa, Freestyle, Rock 'n Roll, Line Dancing, Cheerleading, Dance Exercise and Argentine Tango. Other societies do Ballet, Tap, Latin Club Dances, Belly Dancing, and goodness knows what else. In my society, candidate numbers for Freestyle outnumber those for Ballroom severalfold. As far as I can tell, the only members of the wider dance community with hangups about BR are tango dancers. I've never been able to work out why.

    No one could stop me from setting up a dance studio offering all or any of these styles, without certification. And to the best of my recollection, no student has ever asked me about my dance qualifications. They are of value to me, and only indirectly to my students. By and large, trained teachers teach better than untrained teachers.

    Would it trouble you to have open heart surgery from a self-taught medic?
  2. salthepal

    salthepal New Member

    I was with you until that last sentence. That was not only moving the goalposts, but transplanting them to the outer reaches of the solar system.

    If you honestly can't see the difference between something done as a hobby and a complex, highly technical specialty that people's lives depend on, then my friend, I can only quote Hector Maure at you:

    Para qué seguir mintiendo?
    Andá y buscate, mi hijita,
    quién te saque la tierrita
    que tenés en la cabeza..

  3. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Ah, but you have made an assumption about my meaning, but even if you had not, I would say that dancing is very much more than a hobby for lots of people, and they take their dancing very seriously indeed. But no, the reason I mentioned medics is that at the hospital your starting position is that you trust that the doctor is properly qualified for his work. You don't think to doubt that he knows what he's doing. You know he is, well, a doctor.

    Now, when you come along to a dance school, as a beginning dancer, you don't know anything very much about the dance you want to learn. Lots of students take for granted that the staff are properly trained for their work. If their lives depended on the outcome of the class, they might actually check, but by-and-large they trust that the teacher knows what he is doing.

    My own rather modest ambition for the certification of dance teachers is that they actually do. That's all.
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I'd have to add that, as someone who learned to dance amost exclusively in truck stops, bars, country western dance halls, etc, where there is not an ATer to be seen for a country mile, you might think that I have "hangups" about BR.

    It's the wanna be regulatory nature of "societies" that is most off putting.
    The other thing that I really don't like is the redefining, and "ballrooming" of dances that has happened repeatedly whenever a "society" is created.

    That said, my own experience with honky tonk West Coast Swing vs certified teacher / studio WCS tells me that teacher training can be very worthwhile. HOW that training is applied, and what philosophy goes along with it is crucial, however, to how it is perceived by "non ballroomers".
  5. salthepal

    salthepal New Member

    Do all certified ballroom teachers know what they're doing?
  6. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    At face value, yes they do (although not all certifications are of equal value or rigour). I see no reason to think that the percentage of bad-uns is any higher than, say, teachers of WCS?

    However, I seriously doubt that the holders of any of the currently available AT certifications know what they are doing directly through the certification that they hold. I learned nothing from mine.
  7. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I'm wondering if Ballroom has as many traveling teachers as AT does.

    Also wondering how many traveling AT teachers would feel inclined to get "certified".

    Also wondering how the AT community would respond to knowledge that an AT teacher was certified. I imagine that most AT dancers would be rather bemused by the idea that one of their teachers had been qualified by some organization.
  8. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I'm no expert on the world of dancesport, but I would guess that it has rather more (which I'm sure is not what you would expect me to say). Dancesport is a big industry, and those that travel widely to compete at a high level are frequently in great demand as competitive coaches. Not many of them are certified teachers, probably.

    I'm wondering why you seem to be obsessed by ballroom. It's very odd.

    Very few, at a guess: why would they care?

    Well, if by community you mean the members of the dominant clique in a particular area, I would neither know, nor care. As for beginners, I doubt it would occur to them to ask.
  9. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    My obsessions are not with ballroom. I thought the topic here is about certifying AT teachers for the ballroom community.
  10. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Is it? What need has the ballroom community of certified AT teachers?
  11. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Well-Known Member

    No. :)

    I'm fairly certain that most (probably all) of the best/very good ballroom teachers in my area are not certified (BTW, many of them are unfamiliar with the syllabus, some with little to no exposure ;)). We have good teachers with certifications and 15-20 years of experience. We also have certified teachers with barely a year of dance experience. IMO, a certification is only one of a number of things that increase the likelihood of someone being a good ballroom teacher. :)
  12. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Some members of the ballroom community have been trying to include AT in ballroom since at least 15 years ago. I thought the whole syllabus idea was for the sake of ballroom teachers.

    If the syllabus is for the sake of certifying AT teachers to the AT community, I find it even more, um, counterproductive.
  13. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    That seems daft, AT isn't a ballroom dance - have they not noticed? You could tell them, gently.

    You've made no case for certifying AT teachers being counter-productive. If you have, I'm sorry, but I missed it.
  14. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    As a certified ballroom teacher, myself, I'm glad we agree that certification is one of the things that increases the likelihood of someone being a good ballroom teacher. It seems a lot of effort, otherwise. ;)

    Wasn't this discussion about tango, though?
  15. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Let's say I was the supreme ruler of tango responsible for certifying tango teachers. This is how I would do it.

    1. "I'm going to play a rhythmic tango. Lead me through it. You may only walk or use rocksteps."
    2. "Same song. I am leading."
    3. "Now a melodic tango. You lead. Walking and rocksteps."
    4. "Same song, I lead."
    5. "I am a beginning leader. Teach me ochos."
    6. "I am a beginning follower. Teach me ochos."
    7. "Pick a song. You may lead or follow as you choose. You can use anything you know. Tell me 10 mistakes that I made or areas for improvement when the song is over."

    That's it. No levels. Just a flat bar. You do good enough? Congrats, you're a tango teacher. Completely subjective.

    Can you come up with an objective test that approximates that?
  16. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I think they got the message, none too gently.

    I expect AT dancers would regard the non-standardized nature of AT more highly than Ballroom dancers would.
  17. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    That's a bit thin as a 'case'. Why should ballroom dancers have any opinion about tango (and why should the tango community care either way)? Surely, any decent certification that might be available in tango should reflect the character of the dance (which I happen to believe to be largely standardised, already).

    If your view is that certification is, intrinsically, a bad thing, then fair enough, but I'm not sure you've said why, or made the case.
  18. Temza

    Temza Member

    In AT there is an easier way. Look at teachers' students. If you like the way they (or large part of them) dance, if you like the classes' atmosphere, you can join their lessons without much hesitation. And if your taste changes later you can repeat the process
  19. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    btw, I think I've made it clear before, I'm not anti-figure teaching, quite the opposite. But I would not rate an AT teacher on how many figures they know.
  20. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Errr, no.

    It's discussion of the AT syllabus provided by the IDTA.

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