Tango Argentino > who's really qualified to teach

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by hbboogie1, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    As a mod, let me quickly say this. I, too, have issue w/ a policy that says it is ok to say whatever you want about a teacher if it's good, but not ok to say something negative. It's passed off as being tactful, respectful, etc., but, to me, it's plainly hypocritical.

    However, having said that, DB's points are well made. But, note that the main reason why we can not do it in a public forum, save for legal things, etc. that are already public knowledge, is b/c it is an unfound matter of opinion applicable only to the poster. A teacher who might be horrid to one, might be the enlightening savior to another. As ETP posted, the decision as to whether a teacher is a bad teacher or not is relevant only to the student in question, not the teacher in question.
  2. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I agree with this. There are teachers whose workshops I havnt got a lot from but I am aware that others have enjoyed or benefited from what they have offered. So I still respect what they do even if it isnt something I would go to myself. Sometimes its down to personality, approach. Horses for courses.
  3. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    And whether we like the rule or not, it is the rule here. People whine and whine about rules on forums (not just this particular rule, and not just here, but on a few that I visit), but the ones who whine the most are rarely the ones who would be willing to go and put the time and money into creating a forum of their own. And on the rare occasion that they do, they often find out that the rules that they disliked really were there for a reason, and not just to persecute them.
  4. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    I often think the best teachers are not the best do-ers. You see it in sports all the time. Hitting coaches that were never in the majors or only in for a short time, as an example. I think that the best do-ers usually have a talent that makes it all a bit too easy for them. They don't know what it is that makes it possible to do the magical things they do, so they can't teach it to others.
  5. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    IMHO, this is one of the best posts I have read in a while. I have blued the parts that I beleive of particular note, and w/i that, highlighted the greatest points ever.

    I do wish to add to this part, however, "...I came to AT with a solid dance background, and I wouldn't credit my AT teachers with giving me the necessary balance, musicality, and so on that have helped me become a fairly good dancer..." Many have coem to me, as such, and I have had to, completely in some cases, retrain that individual b/c the kinesthetics, rhythms, timings, etc. of AT are different from the muscle training/execution, and musics that they are accustomed to.
  6. hbboogie1

    hbboogie1 New Member

    On this Forum would it be appropriate to say something very positive about a teacher ?

    “If you really want to learn how to tango watch everything teacher X does…………..And don’t do that”
  7. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I don't agree because I've had private lessons with several teachers that I really loved, whose group classes I found to be a complete waste of time and money.

    Some people work better one on one than they do with a group. Some people are better with a group. Some teachers are good with both. I've had some group classes that were every bit as useful as that teacher's private lessons.

    Also, if the class is very large, there is a limit to how much individual attention can be given regardless of how much the teacher may wish to do so.
  8. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Why do we expect that tango instruction can be any different than other forms of consumerism?

    Some people buy a car for flash, some for reliability, some for hauling cargo/kid capacity (or the opposite), some strictly for price. (etc) If the industry was regulated so that only one of the reasons for car buying was available, that would be considered a BAD thing. Whatever your priority in buying, you do research for that thing.

    And sometimes you get a lemon.

    People also usually want to work their way up the financial investment food chain. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic 110. Now I have a DSLR and a bag full of stuff.

    I have probably spent as much on SHOES that didn't work out as I have on truly bad tango instruction, and I could try them on! :doh:
    I have wasted money on milongas and practicas where I didn't get asked to dance.

    Yes it would be great if people didn't learn things they have to unlearn. But its not going to happen. Dont forget that students often MISINTERPRET what they are taught and then go around saying "This teacher told me x"

    One of the things that makes tango more interesting to many of its adherents is that it is NOT standardized in any way. Why try to make it like Ballroom? If people want ballroom, they can take ballroom. (where, as has been pointed out, you can still get a bad teacher)

    Besides, just as not every car is the perfect car for everybody, there is NO teacher who is the right teacher for every student. My partner told me something over and over and over and I never got it. Then another teacher told me the same thing in a different way and a light bulb went off in my head. (and I went home and apologized to my partner for always responding that he was insane ;))
  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

  10. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Very interesting insight

    See my post about skating coaches, not to mention the life story of Tiger woods and his father or the Williams sisters and theirs.
  11. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    LOL on the shoes...point well taken...I still screw up and I can try those on before buying!!!

    Which brings me to the original post.

    I honestly don't think it possible to establish fail safe "credentials" for tango teaching.

    As you said, a good dancer does not immediately imply a good teacher.

    I think students need to ask themselves what they are after in a class. Some people truly may be going after "looking perfect" and flashy moves. Some people want to work the connection side of things and don't care about a lot of moves. For soemone taking lessons from anyone besides a master, learning both probably isn't going to come from a single teacher. Just like shoes (which I can at leat try before I buy and still get it wrong), you're going to get a few lemons now and then, and I seriously doubt there's any habit you learn that can't be "undone" when you find the right "fit" with a teacher who does differently. It's not rocket science or brain surgery.

    There's things I've learned that I've had to unlearn later. I've certianly had my share of classes where I learned nothing, and felt my money was wasted. And you know, some of these people were "renowned masters" or "the real deal" because they are Argentine who couldn't teach worth a flip.
    If you can't organize and convey information, how on earth can you teach? Just because you are good at exhibitions, that makes people qualified? Just because you are Argentine, you automatically are a master?

    Some of the most valubale classes I have had, from people who really could convey information about body movment and musicality, in meaningful ways, didn't even dance in the particular style that I usually do and aren't Argentine, but the general concepts were applicable.

    One major problem, at least when dealing with opinions of teachers in local tango scenes moreso than "famous" teachers, is the local politicking invariably involved. The local teachers who are on the "accepted" llist by the local elite are touted, those who are on the fringe, for lack of a better word, welll... you can imagine.

    And I can think of at least 3 times this has been the case in my own lovely political tango scene in my area. Once, with a local teacher who had been teaching years, they lost so many students due to the "elite" of the community bad-mouthing, that they closed their studio and 2 other times with people who taught privately or at a local studio for free that the local "elite" "decided" weren't good enough, or to their taste, without even having experienced or trying to find out what they were teaching, bad-mouth to the point where they stopped teaching.

    So I for one, am not particularly fond of these so called "lists" or attempts at list threads that keep popping up now and then.
  12. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Also, it could be that they've been doing it for so long, that they don't have to think about it anymore, and thus don't really even remember everything that it took to acquire the specific skill.

    (the unconscious competence level)
  13. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I think there's a case for allowing criticism. But it has to be done right - that is, you have to state very clearly that something is your personal opinion, and you have to phrase it in a non-subjective way.

    And as it's difficult to ensure people can do that, short of reading each post in detail, I can completely understand why posting criticism generally is not encouraged.

    Unfortunately not true.

    From here:
  14. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Sort-of agree.

    I think that the people who are "natural dancers" - either through genetic talent or, more often, through being immersed in the relevant music / dance culture literally from birth - often can't communicate how they do what they do, simply because it comes naturally to them.

    I mean, just because someone's a great Spanish orator, doesn't mean they'd be a great teacher of Spanish. In fact, they'd probably be worse, because they'd find it more difficult to go back to basics.

    EDIT: Just read Dchaster's post. What he said.
  15. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I think I'm reaching that sort of stage;
    plus having been brought up on beefheart and intoxicating substances my musicality is quite unique.
    as an exercise in listening just pick on one of the rhythm guitars and follow what its doing
  16. taylor1990

    taylor1990 New Member

    My take on the matter is that you should do your research on your teachers, or go with a well known studio. Arthur Murray is the largest dance franchise, so they must be doing something right, right? And Fred Astaire Studios is supposedly very good as well, though this is just hearsay. Either way, you'd be surprised to see how much information you could find about a person on the internet. So that's it, if anything look at the level or amount of students a teacher already has. Those stats should be able to give you some sort of information.
  17. hbboogie1

    hbboogie1 New Member

    For ballroom instructors Arthur and Fred might be the way to go but not for Argentine Tango.
  18. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Except that that's a generalization that doesn't necessarily hold true. There are a LOT of franchise pros that have a lot of experience and credentials behind their names outside of the styles (mostly american rhythm/smooth in franchise studios) that are regularly taught in their studios. You can't define a teacher by where they are
  19. hbboogie1

    hbboogie1 New Member

    Arthur Murray has very strict rules on teaching the “Arthur Murray Way” all over the world and I think that’s what makes them so successful. I’m not saying they don’t have talented instructors but if you go to AM you get taught AM and Arthur Murray wouldn’t be my first choice when looking for a AT instructor. Would it be yours?
  20. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I figure if someone wants the other side of the story, they can always say:

    "I'm thinking of taking a lesson/class/ whatever with teacher X. Anyone have any views of this instructor? Feel free to PM me with stuff that you dont' want to/ can't post here..."

    Or if you see someone is about to make what you feel strongly is a bad choice, you can always take the initiative and send them a PM with your criticisms.

    Its not that negative comments aren't allowed at DF. Its that they aren't allowed on the public threads. You can email or PM as much harsh language as you like, unless the recipient requests you to cease and desist.

    Tango instructors aren't undercover CIA agents... we can still reveal their identities in private conversations....

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