What we get told and what we get teached

#1
My SO, who is quite a seismograph, feels that most of the leaders around here are physically stressed while dancing.
I think to some extent is this normal as we can't separate us from our body while dancing.
But on the other hand did I experience most teachers to teach target divergent like
* talk about connection but teach sequences
* talk about close embrace but teach in open embrace
* talk about cabeceo (sporadically) but without any effect in their milongas
What do you think, is that just a teaching challenge or finally driven by the expectations of the students?
 
#3
But if - than I see the goals not attained in the advanced classes.
The stress of ochos got only replaced by the stress of ganchos.
And half of the attendees there did not really learn to dance.
 
#4
There are quite a few ambitious dancers and after a couple of years decide to teach. A prospective student must be judicious in searching for a real, qualified teacher. The best teachers, from my experience, are those that grew up with Tango or at least started dancing early on and are doing it for many years.
Of course, there are always exceptions. Asking friends for recommendations helps.
 
#5
My SO, who is quite a seismograph, feels that most of the leaders around here are physically stressed while dancing.
I think to some extent is this normal as we can't separate us from our body while dancing.
But on the other hand did I experience most teachers to teach target divergent like
* talk about connection but teach sequences
* talk about close embrace but teach in open embrace
* talk about cabeceo (sporadically) but without any effect in their milongas
What do you think, is that just a teaching challenge or finally driven by the expectations of the students?
My teacher concentrated on (wait for it) TECHNIQUE. He drilled the fundamentals (which I wrote about in another thread) axis, frame, posture and balance. Until I had the fundamentals I couldn't do ANYTHING well. He was consistent through the eight years of private lessons.

Progress was slow and frustrating. After one year I asked "When are we going to get to the good stuff?" He said, "You're not ready for the good stuff." He also said "The easy things are hard and the hard things are easy." My head exploded from not understanding the diamonds he gave me. It took years to finally understand what he meant.

Joe gave me what I needed, NOT what I wanted. It became obvious I didn't know what I needed.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#7
There are quite a few ambitious dancers and after a couple of years decide to teach. A prospective student must be judicious in searching for a real, qualified teacher. The best teachers, from my experience, are those that grew up with Tango or at least started dancing early on and are doing it for many years.
Of course, there are always exceptions. Asking friends for recommendations helps.
I think almost everyone starts teaching too soon. I know I did, and I've seen it happen with others as well. Even now sometimes when I realize something about my own dancing that really needs improvement, my first thought is "Why am I TEACHING this dance??? I can't even do it right myself yet!" (and then a student will clearly get something out of a lesson, and I'll feel sorta reassured until the next time I'm struggling with either my own dancing, or a student's difficulty with something that I can't seem to break through)

I disagree that one needs to have grown up with tango to be able to teach it however. Sometimes people who didn't learn as adults or who don't have lots of dance background/training are unaware of how they are doing certain things. They use their body a certain way and don't even realize what they are doing. They might not have analyzed it enough to explain it to someone who's having to struggle with it.

A student brought a video to his lesson from a popular series (that I actually like and recommend sometimes) to work out a move (that I hadn't learned to lead myself yet, although I had been led in it a number of times). The couple demonstrated it, broke it down, then demonstrated it again. Three times the video shows it and the leader did it differently each time. He's got so many ways HE can do it, he couldn't be consistent with how he was showing it. It would be one thing if he was intentionally illustrating possible variations, but they were clearly trying to show the set up and and didn't repeat any of the variations for us to break it down watching the video. I've seen that happen in classes too.

Teaching and dancing are 2 different skills. No one teacher is the right teacher for everyone just like no one therapist is the right counselor for everyone. There are so many variables to consider. It isn't just about ability or knowledge. Another local teacher and I might have the same knowledge and even focus on the same things with the same method or style of dancing. But we might use different analogies and words. We might create different atmospheres in our learning environment.

But I agree that often, someone who has been a social AT dancer in Argentina for their whole life has a different perspective that is sadly lacking in a lot of instruction. I think you and I know the same one (I've seen your event posts on FB), and I'll rave about him until I no longer have breath!
 
#8
Progress was slow and frustrating. After one year I asked "When are we going to get to the good stuff?" He said, "You're not ready for the good stuff."
My goal was to dance proficient at milongas after one year. I manged that somehow with massive effort. But finally I think it could have been easier by a reduction to core technique and the consciousness that the row of ladies in my arms was good stuff itself.
 
#9
The couple demonstrated it, broke it down, then demonstrated it again. Three times the video shows it and the leader did it differently each time. He's got so many ways HE can do it, he couldn't be consistent with how he was showing it. It would be one thing if he was intentionally illustrating possible variations, but they were clearly trying to show the set up and and didn't repeat any of the variations for us to break it down watching the video. I've seen that happen in classes too.
In privates, on the other hand, can this be quite valuable, at least for quick learners. Our teacher explains it different each lesson and moreover contradicts himself without concerns. He's only interested in the here and now, telling what is needed to achieve the desired result.
(But he is consistent in what he is telling and what he is teaching in the sense of my entry post.)
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#10
In privates, on the other hand, can this be quite valuable, at least for quick learners. Our teacher explains it different each lesson and moreover contradicts himself without concerns. He's only interested in the here and now, telling what is needed to achieve the desired result.
(But he is consistent in what he is telling and what he is teaching in the sense of my entry post.)
I agree that in a private (or even a group class, sometimes) presenting variations is useful and also helps the students learn to improvise. However, it is usually better to show it a certain way, let people get comfortable with that, and then deliberately show a possible variation with full awareness on everyone's part that it's different from what was shown before, and HOW it is different. Then you can also talk about what stays the same, which is also quite vital.

Trying to teach a move and not being consistent with the way your're demonstrating it because you didn't pay close attention to how you did it, which foot you stepped on, where your weight was, at what point you shifted or led a shift, etc, isn't helpful to students... it's just confusing. Especially on a video where students can't get any clarification (and they may rewind and rewatch a number of times, getting more and more confused before they realize that it's not them failing to see it; its that it keeps changing!
 
#11
FWIW, most people find another teacher, if they're not getting what they wanted
I think that's the way it should be.
But what a teacher wants and what his/her students want can get agreed on in the first lesson.

I rate a teacher by his students success, whether these are decent dancer and joyful at a milonga.
(To get an eternal class attendee or a glorious stage performer is not in my focus.)
And if he organizes a milonga also, whether he can influence people to get his milonga to be a pleasure.

The outcome is a serious amount of travel and accomodation cost for me. :)
 
#12
Everybody doesn't want the SAME thing in tango. You can see that at a milonga.

There are men who only want to lead intricate figures they can't lead (or are beyond the skill level of their partner but that doesn't make any difference.)

There are a few women who want to do adornments regardless of the music and the lead. Their boleos are horrible because their frame and balance are awful. They think I'm supposed to keep them on balance. (I'm not supposed to knock them off their balance instead.)
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#13
But on the other hand did I experience most teachers to teach target divergent like
* talk about connection but teach sequences
* talk about close embrace but teach in open embrace
* talk about cabeceo (sporadically) but without any effect in their milongas
What do you think, is that just a teaching challenge or finally driven by the expectations of the students?
I think this is to some extent a function of people teaching too early, and that the criteria that select people into teaching are not actually skill/aptitude/interest in teaching.

I find that in a lot of workshops there are three often substantially different tangos going on - the tango the teachers dance, the tango the teachers teach, and the tango the teachers talk about. And i suspect that most of them are not really aware how different these three are. I sometimes think that the tango they talk is mostly an echo of the things their teachers told them, and the tango they teach is what they think they are doing in their dance, even if their actual technique is quite different.

It is often quite instructive to look at peoples students when trying to figure out what they are actually teaching. For example i have come to think of tango nuevo as something that does not seem to be really teachable - it works very well and is fertile for people with a salon background, but i don't know any 3rd generation nuevo dancers that had much impact (where the first generation trained in salon and "switched" to nuevo, the second studied only nuevo (but their teachers were able to draw upon their "traditional" knowledge), and the third works solely from a nuevo knowledge base). Similarly it is interesting now that we have people with reasonably pure "estilo mundial" backgrounds starting teaching - i am wondering how far and in what direction their students are going to go.
 
#14
In my eyes is "nuevo" really difficult and would pin many resources to learn. I don't see that at the moment. Here around does it come back only in a freestyle disco version as "neo" in workshops before a "neolonga". We should not blame teachers for that, it's somehow attractive for some beginner to intermediate dancer.

My reversal point in tango was a workshop where the teacher told us, that we as men will dance tango now at in the most stress-free way to make women happy. Take them close, move carefully to the music, don't bump into other couples. And that he is strong-willed to enforce that (together with mirada/cabeceo) at the subsequent milonga. That was convincing because it had immediately the promised impact.
 
#15
As many people said above, it has to do with the type of class--group or private. On the level of the class. On the balance between what people want and what they need and of course on the abilities and experience of the teacher.
I know from experience, there are beautiful teachers who can only really reveal themselves in a private setting because they get to talk to you and they figure out how they can match your needs and your wishes.
There are also some teacher who shine in a group class. They are just so good at reading the people in the class, connect to each and everyone and at the same bringing forth things that make Tango, tango.
So at first I think someone needs to identify where he/she is, whether they need to work 1-on-1 or in a group setting or both and then to find the suitable teacher/s for that in relation to their level and their understanding of the dance.

My best example is when I took a private class with Pablo Veron. I went in after someone who was mainly looking for fancy moves and crazy ganchos--I am not making a comment, just stating the facts.
I went in asking for ways to become a more active follower.
When that person and I talked we had an extremely different idea of whether Pablo Veron was a good teacher. He said he wasn't really impressed and I was blown away by how many things I learned and I revisited. Pablo Veron opened up a new path for me, but for the other person it was just fancy information.

Was it Pablo Veron's fault...? Maybe... Was the student's fault..? Definitely! Why? Because he wasn't even close to a level where he could understand what Pablo Veron was saying expect for gancho-gancho-gancho.
Maybe Pablo Veron could have made it more fancy...I don't know...what I know id that what I got from that one classes gave me things to work on for a year later, plus a refreshed perspective over movement.

Now as teacher myself... I have been a great supporter of teaching only technique based classes because I know that it is what people need. I have also been a supporter of doing sequence based classes because I know that it is what people want... hahaha
NOW, I just put my hands together. I do both... You can learn technique through sequences and sequencing through technique... It is more work for the teacher but it is a more balanced, interesting class for the participants and feel more creative putting together because it makes me think the same element under different lights..!
People love it so far... Who knows I might follow a different path in the future but so far, working on both at the same time, was worked wonders without taking ages..! :)
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#16
Now as teacher myself... I have been a great supporter of teaching only technique based classes because I know that it is what people need. I have also been a supporter of doing sequence based classes because I know that it is what people want... hahaha
NOW, I just put my hands together. I do both... You can learn technique through sequences and sequencing through technique... It is more work for the teacher but it is a more balanced, interesting class for the participants and feel more creative putting together because it makes me think the same element under different lights..!
:)
In privates with leaders, I almost always focus on technique and breaking down any sequences that people want to do into their smallest components so that they can learn to improvise. With followers I focus on technique.

In group classes, I try to find short sequences that simply won't work without proper technique. People get to think they are learning a sequence and I get to focus on fundamentals that will also translate to other moves. Even then, working on technique in a group class can be challenging, because everyone has different fundamental errors or body quirks that are getting in the way. I can't just say "More X" because someone might need to do LESS. I have to look for the error that seems to be the most common, work on that, then go to the next one.

In the end, I find teaching group classes to be a FAR bigger challenge and more exhausting. However, they can also be the most fun... as long as I keep it lighthearted and remember that to some extent, that's more important than for everyone to get it correct that day. I can't just give them "lots to think about".. I have to give them a reason to want to bother thinking about it and doing the hard work of learning over time.

I was in a workshop awhile back with a couple that should have been very good at teaching a group of beginners (I was just there because they didn't have enough leaders). The atmosphere was SO tense! Almost everyone in the class had taken at least a couple of tango classes, so it wasn't just because they were new and didn't know what to expect. The teachers didn't seem relaxed or connected to the participants. It was all very matter of fact, but not very engaging. The organizer even commented on it afterwards to me. I didn't know what to say, because I didn't want to badmouth the teachers, but I wouldn't recommend them to anyone after that, for sure!
 
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ArbeeNYC

Active Member
#19
My SO, who is quite a seismograph, feels that most of the leaders around here are physically stressed while dancing.
I think to some extent is this normal as we can't separate us from our body while dancing.
But on the other hand did I experience most teachers to teach target divergent like
* talk about connection but teach sequences
* talk about close embrace but teach in open embrace
* talk about cabeceo (sporadically) but without any effect in their milongas
What do you think, is that just a teaching challenge or finally driven by the expectations of the students?
Hmm. What's this got to do with physical stress on the dance floor? Open embrace is useful for learning new things and figuring out the dynamics of a few steps. Even to practice walking.
 
#20
Words of wisdom. Of course, eight years of private lessons is something of a luxury but it sounds like you found someone who knew what he was doing.
Joe knew EXACTLY what he was doing even though I didn't understand what he was doing. He taught biomechanics, understanding how the body moves.
I was terrible until I fixed my frame. IMHO, bad frame is the #1 reason there are so many terrible dancers.

Learning from Joe inspired me to write this thread:
https://www.dance-forums.com/threads/the-karate-kid-learns-tango.47822/#post-1107382
 

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