A Good Tango Teacher

Just because you can do something well, doesn't mean you can teach it well. The ability to teach is a very special gift, and not necessarily one that can be taught. I for one, turned down a Teacher's Scholarship to university when I left school!! (in those days many of us did) then I tried to teach  (not dancing, my profession) many, many years ago when I was a young, inexperienced mother in need of part time work. Big Mistake! I wasn't self-confident, I doubted my knowledge and I was easily intimidated by the students.
I have never tried again. Partly because of this experience and partly because I am older and wiser.
It is quite easy to be a tango teacher - all you need to do is hang up your shingle. There are no qualifications you need to have, and no associations you need to belong to. It has been suggested that you need to be a 'perfect' dancer in order to be a tango teacher - I fail to understand why.
Recently I discovered this blog about tango teachers and tango stars - and about whether it is important for the teachers to be stars. Just because you can dance beautifully, does not mean you can teach well ... and after being round the tango scene for some years I can say I have experienced this. Similarly just because you can teach well, does not mean you have to be a beautiful dancer! Everyone makes mistakes in tango - and frequently the mistakes lead to a new understanding, provided that those involved do not take it so seriously. In fact some say there are no mistakes in tango and no such thing as sorry - that if things don't go according to plan, there is miscommunication. Javier Rodriguez, one of the most talked about dancers and teachers these days (I hesitate to use the word celebrity, and I think maestro is inappropriate in tango) is credited with saying "Tango should NOT be perfect and it is during those times of “imperfection” that Tango can enter your dance".
If you are looking for a tango teacher it is important to find someone on your wave length. Someone whose teaching you find rewarding and with whom you have a rapport. Someone who's style you admire - not necessarily the 'best dancer, or the greatest Tango Dancer. 
Read what others have to say here.


Anonymous said…
I agree. I can distinctly remember the Ahah! moment only 18 months ago when after umpteen lessons with established teachers, for whom I have great respect, i discovered on my own how to use my feet to position my body for a simple turn.

But my teachers, on the other hand, seemed to have forgotten what is - to them - an ultra basic manoeuvre. Consequently they don't seem to know how to pass it on. But I find I can now explain this quite easily to others having the same two-left-feet problem that i had.

So no, a top dancer doesn't always make a great teacher.

But ... every top dancer CAN teach you something - all you need to do is watch them closely. Find a dancer you love to watch ... and watch, and watch, and watch.

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