Tango Argentino > Using different dance instructors?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Melody58, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    And perhaps more insiduously, there are facts masquerading as preferences, too


  2. Steven123

    Steven123 Member

    . . . See that is the confusing part. It takes a lot of time to figure out what works and what doesn't . . . what is a fact and what is a preference. It is almost as if these facts need to be discovered rather than taught. The teaching is offering up something that could work. Then we need to try to see if it works through practice.
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  3. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    [quote="Steven123, post: 997792, member: 58037It is almost as if these facts need to be discovered rather than taught. The teaching is offering up something that could work. [/quote]

    I apologize in advance to people who have been here for a while - this will be awfully familiar as it is my go-to story when i want to talk about learing tango...

    What has helped me to (mostly) come to peace with the messy process of learning and re-learning and re-re-learning tango is a concept i learned in indonesian martial arts. There they argue that it is not possible to teach people martial arts/to fight - in a fight what happens is a spontaneous, individual, unique, un-repeatable thing that depends on both opponents, and the circumstances, and a thousand details. It is the flower (kembang) of silat. All we do when learning and practicing is preparing the soil and the seeds in the hope that that flower will bloom when the time is right.

    Similarly i think tango only exists as danced with a partner at a milonga - again a unique, unrepeatable situation. All we do when practicing and learning is preparing ourselves to be able to let tango happen in that moment. And like all gardening there are different soils, and different seeds, and maybe our tango grows in the shade, or the sun. Our teachers are not dancing with our bodies, our partners, in our moments. They don't hear the music the same. They don't experience the same milonga as us.

    We trust them that they are good gardeners, as we can observe the flower of their practice in their dance at the milonga, but we don't have to trust that all their advice and experience with their garden is completely applicable to ours. Like the old ladies with wonderful gardens who swear by planting by the farmers almanac - some things are not for everybody.
    (and just out of curiostiy i looked it up for today: Today (and yesterday): Barren day, no planting. Tomorrow and Sunday: Late Beets, Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, And Other Root Crops. Monday and Tuesday: Barren day, no planting, but good for killing pests)

    bordertangoman and Steven123 like this.
  4. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    IMO, there are various techniques, and since we are all different, some techniques will work better for some of us, than others. Of course we don't all have the same preferences either.

    I would say it takes time to figure out (or discover) what works best for each individual (along with determining what their preferences are).
  5. Melody58

    Melody58 New Member

    Thank you for all your replies...they are very interesting and actually say a lot about what we are both thinking....we are being taught chest to chest or apilado I think it is called? We are enjoying the journey and as for me I amloving the fact that hubby is now able to really take the lead with me and I am starting to feel his lead. It has been quite funny in lessons as I sometimes forget that he has to lead, hehe! I think thats due to 36 years being housewife/cook/nurse/Mum/swife/grandma and everything in between, basically keeping everything running, our instructor keeps laughing and telling me to let myself go!!!!!!!
    Anyways after having a good look around and googling, we have decided to go to weekend workshops on and off and even looking at a beautiful Tango holiday.
  6. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Chest to chest is just that. Apilado means that you move the feet so far apart that in chest to chest contact the centre of gravity of each partner is in front of his° feet (rather than still just above it), i.e. he°'d fall over if not for the partner.

    °Gender neutral pronoun
  7. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    if you want a deeper understanding of how good teachers use 'conditional learning,' look up Ricard Powers; here's a brief quote from his site.

    "The value of doubt and uncertainty

    The key to this better way of teaching is based on an appreciation of the conditional nature of the world and the value of uncertainty. Teaching skills and facts in a conditional way sets the stage for doubt, and an awareness of how different situations may call for subtle differences in what we bring to them.
    Here's a quote from Gilda Radner, as she was dealing with cancer:
    "I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity."

    I've been teaching dance conditionally, not absolutely, for decades. But not because of Langer's research. That's new. It's because conditional uncertainty is the greater truth of social dance"
    LadyLeader and dchester like this.
  8. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    The result of a Yahoo Answers research about conditional learning was the Pavlov dog story. If the teacher uses a certain tango piece when he teaches a certain kind of step, say the boleos, and uses only this piece during the whole class, and never uses this music again during his other classes, then chances are that the pupils will produce boleos later when hearing the given song in milongas.
    But I doubt it's a nice way of teaching tango.
    opendoor likes this.
  9. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I really like your story, newbie! But it makes me wonder at the same time. Sorry Mel it´s a bit off your original topic but the idea that perhaps I should dance like a puppet on an invisible string is indeed a bit awe-inspiring. I have to go through the library of all those saved clips and class résumés. I do know there are pieces I actually haven´t got any access to at a milonga. Perhaps simply some key phrases are missing. And, which is another idea, perhaps this memory of key phrases and pieces may trace back way deep into the very childhood (if not to say...
  10. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    that is "conditioning" someone to respond in a certain way to a certain stimulus
    here is the full article, and not what I am talking about.

  11. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Double ditto to this.

    One thing I did when starting out was apply a little rule. If more than one teacher I took a class (or private) from, made the same comment about something they thought I needed to work on, then to me, that was more than a personal preference issue and more of a "core" problem.

    I do think taking lessons on a regular basis (as opposed to random privates from visiting teachers) from more than one person can be a good thing, just be aware there may be conflicting opinions about some things and you may have spend time figuring out why and decide what applies to you and what doesn't.
    bordertangoman and Subliminal like this.
  12. LadyLeader

    LadyLeader Active Member

    Thanks for posting this! some loose pieces, some ideas I had found earlier, but never put together in this way
  13. Jared21

    Jared21 New Member

    i at one point tried having two different instructors and i did not like it, you have to much to focus on, and in my experience it makes it longer to perfect certain things, thats just me though everybody is different
  14. jfm

    jfm Active Member

    Hi Sixela,
    in uk english we use either 'they/their' or 'one/one's' depending on context as our gender neutral option.
    ...each partner is in front of their feet..i.e. they'd fall over if not...
    very handy when communicating about people whose gender one doesn't know.
  15. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Opinion (and usage) is divided on the subject, and my choice to use 'he' as a gender neutral pronoun is that: a choice (I dislike the epicene 'they' although I'm familiar with it). In fact, I use the footnote exactly to convey the meaning to people who might think the use of epicene 'they' is universal and that therefore I must be referring to a male.

    Now if you'll excuse us, can we return to the topic at hand?
    bordertangoman likes this.
  16. Someday

    Someday Member

    Other factors to consider are the instructor's emphasis in teaching. For example, in my first six months of Tango, the instructor only taught steps and nothing about posture, technique, axis, rotation. Fortunately i realized i did not need to learn new steps and do them poorly. I found an instructor who is all about technique. Her philosophy is that you should be able to walk and pivot smoothly using elelments of posture, axis, rotation, understanding your follower's movements and more. This has helped me a lot. Another instructor i enjoy takes one simple movement and shows how you change it based on musicality. His emphasis s musicality and through him, i learn to listen and interpet the music. Another important factor is whether the class is enjoyable, the people supportive, and whether you get occassional time from the instructor which is informative.

    For me, after two years of tango, i am still all about learning basic technique, but my friends who have the basic skills want to learn new steps. The value you get from instructors will vary over time so it helps to experiment with new ones. However, make sure that you keep your quality standards high.
    Mladenac likes this.
  17. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Welcome to DF, Someday.
  18. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    In my experience It’s a good thing to look for a teacher that is really competent and helpful for you in that particular filed you would like to learn. Once I truly found one, I studied with him (or her) until I had at least understood their approach halfway. Nothing wrong with gaining a little contrasting input at the side or moving on after a while. But if there is no special time limit (like only 4 weeks in Buenos Aires) I think it’s best to focus at one teaching at a time.
  19. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    Conditional learning is very demanding for students when it deals with practical appliance. Knowing that there are several ways to do a thing does not really help to get it done, for one has now the challenge to choose the “best” way. The fact that there is probably no “best” way does not make it any easier. Students don’t like the idea of running into several dead ends and - especially the mature, successful, money paying kind of student with little time one hand.

    They feel helpless when the miss any criteria to base their choice upon. And who can blame them, to really make a thoughtful choice one has to understand all the options. Which usually means, learn each single one “absolute” with the thought of possible alternatives parked deep down in your mind.

    In my experience, for real world teaching (a certain amount of information as to be mastered in a certain amount of time) a little absoluteness is always necessary, along my infamous line “There are many ways to dance this movement, but today I want you to focus on ….”
    Mladenac likes this.
  20. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    How many adults learning to dance for the first time spend a couple hours practicing each day?

    One hour of class requires ten hours of practice.
    Mladenac likes this.

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