Tango Argentino > Teachers who have been to Buenos Aires

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Lois Donnay, Sep 15, 2015.

  1. Lois Donnay

    Lois Donnay Member

    I am glad to report that I did not have to tell a student that the lessons that he had been taking, or the teacher he had been going to, is not good for him. A teacher should never do that, no matter how obvious it is. The student must figure it out on his own. And this student did. He told me he wasn't going to that studio anymore, or if he did, he was going to spend more time walking in the embrace (Yayyy!!). Part of it was videos I sent him, and also trying to dance here in the bigger community with women not from his class.
  2. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    You know, I am always puzzled when a student goes "but the other teacher told me otherwise..." Firstly, I am not the one who made you go to that teacher, you made that decision without asking my opinion. Secondly, since you want a lesson from me, I assume you wish to find out what I (obviously, having experience and expertise you agreed to recognize by willing to pay me) think or know of the matter. If I wish to know what you or the said other teacher believes, I will go take a lesson from you/him/her. /rant mode off. :)
    Zoopsia59 likes this.
  3. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    Culture is a big part of AT. (I don't think culture is a big part in ballroom or Latin dancing.) My teacher didn't just teach steps and how to lead, he spoke about the culture and codes. AT is the ONLY dance I know where you dance a tanda.

    I think a lot of people get their impressions of the dance from tango shows and expect to be taught what they see on the stage. They don't understand show tango is choreographed and it's practiced in rehearsals. There are no rehearsals at a milonga.

    My teacher gave me a new pair of glasses so I could see the difference between show and social tangos. I see idiots attempting show tango at milongas, causing collisions because they take up too much room. One man lunged backward into me (without looking.) I just shoved him off me. Another fool led a woman to close to where I was sitting on a bench along the wall. Not only did he grab the woman's leg, he grabbed mine as well and couldn't figure out what to do with the extra leg.

    Going to BA gives a window on social tango and it isn't necessary to dance convoluted figures. All that glitters is NOT gold.

    It also helped to read the great tango book Men are from Mars; Women are from Buenos Aires. It helped reinforce what's really important. In all the years I've danced, there was only ONE woman who complained my vocabulary was too limited for her. I sent her to the resident hot shot for the next tanda who wore her out after two tangos.
    Lois Donnay likes this.
  4. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    A good teacher doesn't thell what to look for, but where to look for.

    So in that perspective you did marvelous job.

    And there is another saying:
    "When student is ready, master will come"

    And we cannot push people more that can handle.
    I would do the same way you did. :cool:
    Lois Donnay likes this.
  5. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Tango happens where you find a suitable dancing partner.
    We live in various parts of the world and places/events where we can find our dancing partners can be surprising.

    I wouldn't place my bet on a local milongas for that.
    Since there are a lot of tango dancers in Europe where I live, people go the international events such as festivals, marathons, encuentros.
  6. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    A situation in Europe is a bit different, yes. Many rely on festivals to be able to dance more or at all.
  7. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member


    If this person is seeking lessons from someone beyond his previous instructors, it's because he's already figured out that what he was taught isn't serving him well.

    So I don't understand the problem. He wants your instruction. Give him the best instruction you can, like you would to anyone else. There's not much more to it than that.

    If he doesn't like what you have to say, he can go back to his previous instructors and have a miserable time in BA. If he wants to argue with you as you try to correct him, ask him why he's coming to you if he won't hear what you have to say.

    If he gets dejected about the time and money he's wasted on bad instruction, tell him that it's all too common, and that many, if not most, people had to be in tango for awhile before getting the best instruction or understanding what comprises quality instruction. Tell him that going "back" to fundamentals is almost to be expected and that even the best dancers frequently "backtrack" to basics. Tell him the adage "Its takes 10 minutes to learn a step; it takes 10 years to learn to walk" and that he's reached a point where refining his technique is where his focus should be.

    Frankly, every 1/2 way decent teacher has to do this with a significant portion of their students. It's part of NOT being the guy's previous teacher or of that ilk.
    Mladenac likes this.
  8. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I think that may be the stupidest thing I've ever heard in tango.. and I've heard some pretty stupid stuff.
    Mladenac and Bailamosdance like this.
  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    My 1st teacher used to say "There are as many bad dancers in BA as there are anywhere else"

    Maybe an exaggeration, but the truth is that there are bad dancers everywhere and that even being a GOOD dancer doesn't automatically translate into being a good teacher. They are 2 different skills.

    To some extent, it's going to be trial and error finding a teacher that really improves your dancing. Even with the teachers I got the MOST from in a private, I didn't necessarily get much out of the group class with the same person. Recommendations from others didn't always pan out either. Sometimes it's just because the way the person has of explaining things may or may not resonate with different students. And of course, the right teacher at one stage of your development is not always the right one at another.

    It's an expensive hobby and you just have to figure that a certain amount of wasted investment is inevitable.
    Mladenac likes this.
  10. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    You're one of the people who has danced/lived in DC right? I found that the leaders there gave me much more room to contribute than I get in my local scene, but they didn't do so by just pausing and doing nothing while I embellished. They felt my musicality and impulses and gave me time to use them, and then responded to them.
  11. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    Yes, I lived and danced in DC but now live in New York. Compared to New York, I found very little close embrace in Washington, which coincides with figures being more important than connection.
  12. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Wow... I don't know when you left, but my experience of DC was that everyone danced CE and that OE was almost non-existent. (on the other hand, I ignored anyone who was dancing OE, so ALL my tandas were CE and quite well done CE at that)

    However, I had also heard from people who danced there as recently as a year and 1/2 ago that the community was quite snobby, and I didn't find that to be the case either. I had no trouble getting tandas with the leaders I "picked".
  13. koinzell

    koinzell Active Member

    Can confirm.
  14. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    As with any city, each milonga has a different "feel." My favorite milonga (which has disappeared from the Capital Tangueros calendar) was at the Wesley United Methodist Church on Friday nights.

    I don't rate every milonga in New York equally.
  15. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Pretty much this - independent of what one thinks about the commercialization of tango, and that there is as much(or even more) "bad" tango in BA as anywhere else, there is a lot of tango in BA, and a lot of dancing.
    I can understand that one would believe that it is not neccessary for someone to go to BA, but considering it to be detrimental is somewhat weird. If i read an interview with a classical musician and they claimed they would never want to play carnegie hall because it would ruin their skills, or an interview with a chef who said that they would never want to eat at a french bistro in paris because it would ruin their french cooking i would be dubious, too.
    Lilly_of_the_valley likes this.
  16. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Yeah...I know a couple of teachers FROM BsAs, and I have no respect for their dance or their teaching. But if someone thinks going there would ruin their tango...very suspect.
  17. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    I wonder if the OP really meant ruin as "in to destroy." I understand that the way people dance may not be compatible with how the Argentines dance. They dance in close embrace. During my two weeks, I didn't see any couple dance in open position.

    It's quite possible that the OP would have to change the embrace to accommodate how the Argentines dance. Some people may see changing their style of dancing as ruining their style. Also, because of limited space, vocabulary is limited and the dancer may feel constrained.

    Is "ruined" and its connotation the correct word?
    Lois Donnay likes this.
  18. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    A professional dancer can try another style, take from it in a positive way, and go back to his own, now enriched by the new experience.
    Lois Donnay and Zoopsia59 like this.
  19. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Same is true for us non professionals!
    Zoopsia59 likes this.
  20. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    Of course, it may be true for everyone, but if someone calls himself a professional in dancing, I would certainly expect it to be the case.

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