judgement by You Tube

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by tangobro, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    In a previous post I admitted to using YouTube videos to help in the decision to take or avoid a workshop with a visiting instructor. I recently realized however that I was judging based on their performance videos and that what they actually worked on with students might be very different. For example, when Andres Amarilla was in town I saw from his performance vids that he danced nuevo in an open hold, not my interest - so I made other plans. I did, however, go to a premilonga class that he gave. He and his partner focused on technique, adding a little extra bouncy feeling of energy to an Ocho Cortado, taught in a salon style close embrace. Glad I went, I gained from it.

    Other visiting performers do spectacular choreographed performances, but stress technique, lead & follow in their workshops.

    To what extent do you feel you can rely on performance videos to judge what you can expect from a workshop?

    Can you judge what performers teach to social dancers by You Tube performances?
  2. li

    li New Member

    I've experienced the same thing with Julio Mendez - but the other way around! First I saw him (not knowing that he was a teacher/ performer) at a milonga and was really inspired by his dancing. It was the first time that I saw someone dance exactly how I wanted to express my tango. Just beautiful social dancing. A week later I attended a class that he was running and enjoyed it. Later he performed - and I was disappointed! Not because of the quality of performance, since it was certainly a good one. But it was showy all the way through - which is no doubt the point of performance tango, just not what I was hoping to be able to admire.

    On the other hand, from my limited experience, Adrian and Amanda Costa seem to dance, teach and perform in fundamentally the same way (a few flashy additions in some performances), so their performances would for me give a fairly good indication of what to expect from them generally.

    So I guess my answer to your final question would be yes and no!
  3. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Active Member

    I do not rely solely on videos while making a decision, but look at the whole resume, often look at them dancing in a milonga, and ask for recommendations.
    However there were times when I just looked at videos and decided "no way".
  4. Angel HI

    Angel HI Active Member

    It has undoubtedly hurt in terms of getting gigs, but I refuse to put stuff on YT for just that reason. My rep, thank God, is very good, and I get alot from referrals, but when persons want to know what I dance and/or what I teach and/or what I perform (which are not always the same thing), they ask, and I send them a vid. Not all of my dances show effectively all of my strengths/weaknesses, not even the good ones.

    YT is a good source for getting ideas, but should not be used as a defining source (a la wikipedia).
  5. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    What's the average cost of a workshop? (I mean roughly, by order of magnitude: $1, $10, $100, $1000?)

    ETA
    Or, is the primary cost time out of one's day to travel to and attend the event?
  6. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    In Seattle, a workshop from a visiting and reputable visiting tango professional costs in and around $25/class

    If you take into account your time, food, expenses, travel, additional classes, it would be safe to say that you'd spend ~$100/day
  7. Angel HI

    Angel HI Active Member

    Too many variables to even consider an 'average'.....

    1. Personal stipend of teacher/s
    2. Percentage of overhead (teacher/s') travel, lodging (almost always included in the w/s cost)
    3. Level/Type of w/s (single classes vs packages)
    4. Time of w/s (how many/how long)
    ...then...
    5. your cost/s; travel, lodging, food, w/s cost/s, entertainment/relaxation, incidentals (vids, cds, etc).

    If one is local, the average cost is much lower than if one is not, obviously.
  8. ant

    ant Member

    Firstly I would agree that the instructor is more important than the subject matter being taught.

    I attend workshops of teachers I like and add the odd additional instructor based upon recommendation. I never look at them on You Tube. With the teachers I like I keep their web diaries in favourites so they are easy to track. It is surprising how far in advance they get booked for a weekender of workshops (quite often 6 months+) and how late organisers announce them (sometimes less than a month).

    I do have a problem with visiting Argentinian teachers because they come to London so infrequently so I am not sure about them but my DP has an Argentinian teacher who she asks regarding them and so deals with there workshops for us.

    The best use of You Tube I have come across to consider instructors is where you study particular teachers in order to work out how to do new moves or sequences. The chap I have in mind, only studies a short list of instructors, he builds up a list of questions and waits for that instructor to come to Europe and then attends his workshops and has a private in order to resolve his issues.
  9. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Not at all. With the exceptions of videos from people like Homer Ladas, of course, as he puts actual tutorials online.

    Mind you, I almost never take classes from visiting teachers anyway. If I think they'll be good for me, I'll take a private with them - and I make judgements purely based on word-of-mouth recommendations from people I know and respect.
  10. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Agreed; personal experience is always what I would base a lesson on. with the exception of Homer Ladas..but he is a good teacher too and Christina of course.....some teachers are better in classes than in private lessons and I take a view that working with a couple is better than solo in some instances; as you have an observer who can see what you are doing, posture, balance etc.
  11. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    It never factors into my decision making. I don't spend hours combing through You Tube to try and find cool videos--I'll look at ones posted here on DF, but that's about it. If there's something special going on (festival or something), and I can go, I go and decide on which workshop to take based on what looks interesting at the times I'm available. That's all.

    I have never run across a class that was bad. Regardless of dance style, regardless of teaching style, regarless of anything at all...there is always something I can learn and get out of a workshop to make it worthwhile. It might not be what I went in thinking I'd get out of a class, but I'll always come out with something.

    After that I'll go looking around on You Tube sometimes.
  12. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    Here in New York City the typical price range is between $25 - $50, with the usual charge per workshop being about $30. Most promoters book instructors for a series of workshops over a couple of days & reduce the price for each successive workshop.

    A recent example, Oscar Mandagaran & Georgina Vargas $40 for 1 workshop, $160 for 6.

    http://www.newgenerationdc.com/DardoGallettoStudios/OscarWorkshops.pdf

    There are a few local teachers that sometimes do workshops but most are visitors.
  13. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    The visiting teachers don't stay around long. They take the money and run. The local teachers are around for continuity and charge less.

    YouTube is a useful tool if someone doesn't know the teachers. What you see in the videos is usually what you get in classes. If you want to improve as a social dancer, avoid classes with teachers who want to perform more than teach.

    Oscar and Georgina upload their performances and classes on YouTube. They do not dance social tango. That is evident in their performances. They teach choreographed sequences in classes and things that are inappropriate for the milonga. When I search the word "milonguero" in YouTube for new videos, theirs always appear in the search results because they use the tag. They have even included a teaching video of "ocho cortado" -- something they never use in their dancing. They talk about "dancing on one tile" and don't do it.

    The best place to look for a teacher is in the milonga. Most teachers don't dance socially because they are too busy teaching. Many have had stage careers and only teach. Those who really love to dance never leave the milonga. Dancers are spending lots of money taking too many classes and not learning how to dance. There is more money to be made in teaching tango than performing it on stage. That's why there are so many who teach in Buenos Aires.
  14. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    "inappropriate for the milonga"

    perhaps what is inappropriate varies according to time & place, but the elements taught in their NYC workshops are not inappropriate here.

    Question for the forum; are the elements demonstrated in these workshop vids inappropriate where you dance?

    if so, specifically which elements of which video?

    Adornments. phrasing:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zWLEqu222E

    Vals:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-xRw9udFfc

    turns:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MShvLp44igk

    boleos, sacadas milongueros:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiWcOYpVeTQ

    Aside from the sequences they also taught concepts of cushioning, elasticity, density & phrasing to make the dance comfortable & musical. I don't want to sound like an advertisement for them, but after classes with them I've had several women I regularly dance with remark about an improvement in my dancing.

    "They do not dance social tango"

    I'm more concerned in this thread about what instructors teach, than in what they dance.

    This is what they taught about the roles of figures & sequences of steps on the social dance floor -

    Georgina dismissed the role of figures in dance by saying that in BsAs people may dance all night & maybe do 5 figures, or do 5 figures for their whole lives, but the embrace, the walk, the musicality made each dance special. Oscar dismissed the role of figures in dance by saying that in BsAs, as well as some of the milongas he attended here in NYC, you can't dance figures & patterns because there is no room - so men must provide a comfortable embrace with balance & stability & move with musicality. They both taught that maintaining good posture & quality of movement was more important than "moves".

    These are not things that I feel are "inappropriate for the milonga", but if they are judged by their performance vids on You Tube one might have a different conclusion.
  15. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    This is a key point you made, that I think some people may be misunderstanding. You can't make the assumption that traveling teachers don't know the different between a performance and social dancing. A lot of the traveling teachers do know the difference and will teach social dancing when given the opportunity.

    I don't blame the teachers for giving the customers what they are willing to pay for. Some people will pay to get classes on the flashy moves, but there actually are others who are genuinely interested in refining their more basic skills. A performance video simply shows what their performances are like (and does tell you how ell they can dance), while a class video (which far too many teachers are unwilling to do), shows what they are teaching.

    Until more teachers are willing to put out videos of their classes (like Homer & Christina do), people really don't know what to expect until they attend the class, and may (or may not) find out that the class isn't what they weren't expecting (or looking for).
  16. Mladenac

    Mladenac Active Member

    Usually outside the BsAs there are AT schools with a certain style of dancing and the teachers of that schools are also organizers of the festivals. Local teacher normally call visiting teacher in which style they prefer and teach. So it's common that local teacher learn "basic" technique and visiting teacher improve that basic technique and add something of their own or present interesting ways how to use that technique in various combinations.
    Also those local teacher have their schools and organize milongas and practicas.

    Students knowing local teachers could know what to expect from visiting teacher if they know the organizers i.e. local teachers.

    I agree with about taking to many lessons and not learning how to use everything cause a lots of that material is forgotten or not danced during practicas and milongas.

    I am just saying how it is tango communities outside BsAs
  17. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Very nicely said.

    Furthermore, at least around here it is pretty standard practice to give visiting teachers (or sometimes accomplished friends) the opportunity during a milonga to do a performance. It is unreasonable to expect that they'll dance nothing but standard social style during a performance. A performance is, after all, an opportunity to showcase and to show off a bit, and possibly also to push boundaries that normally you couldn't because of floorcraft, etc. That's normal and there's nothing wrong with it.

    So of course a video of a performance doesn't really show them as teachers.
  18. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Vals seems okay;

    the Turns vid would depend on the density of people on the dance floor; but its showing things other than turns..

    the sacadas and boleos arent advisable on your average milonga IMO
  19. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Same here.
  20. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Same here.. I really don't get much thrill out of watching other people dance tango anymore except at an actual milonga. The demos are all starting to look alike to me.

    It's like the difference between a competitive figure skating short program which has so many required elements that the skater can barely fit them all in to any unique choreography and a performance in a skating show where they have no restrictions or requirements.

    Oddly enough, in Tango, the you tube demos start to look alike even though you'd think there would be more freedom and the social dancing, which you'd expect to be full of limitations based on conditions, has far more variation and nuance when you sit back and watch everyone.

    For some reason it seems that when doing a demo, the dancers figure they've got a bunch of fancy "required moves" that they must include to be interesting to an audience, and as such, they all start to blur together for me the same way the short program can in skating unless a skater is really a standout.

    But basically, I'd rather dance that watch no matter WHO I'm watching.

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