When do you stop being a beginner?

#61
I have a tendon/ligament/joint problem that prevents me from dancing at all these days. (and often prevents me from walking except with a crutch or cane)

The doctor wasn't very encouraging - told me that he'd advise me to give up dancing for good, except that he knew I wouldn't. (except that pain has prevented me anyway) He felt it wasn't going to improve much and would probably get worse because it was a "degenerative" problem, not an injury. Even just reading about tango was too depressing when I felt I might never dance again. :(

However, I am now hoping that I will be able to dance again soon (at least slow gentle stuff) because I am getting some better, more optimistic, help from another (different type) of doctor. He cautions me that it may never be what it was, but that there is some hope of near normal function.

It's been a hard time for the last 4 months trying to deal with this and figure out how to recover.
I wish the best for you, Zoops.
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
#62
Actually, dancing with an inexperienced partner requires more skills, not less. So the partner who makes you feel and look bad is not "too advanced for you". He/she is not "advanced" enough.
Ricardo Bellozo, a tango instructor and a milonguero, advices in his " Milonga etiquette" article:
"First observe the quality of dancing of potential partners, to avoid bad experience or inconveniencing a beginner who is doing his or her first steps, and needs a partner of a higher level than yours."
that is really interesting. I experience fluffs and fumbles on the dance floor since I dance with dancers at all levels. Some want to know what they did wrong - so they can improve their technique; (and i say it was my fault) but for most of the time i carry on dancing. one friend said she thought it was why I was the best dancer around because I wasnt stuck back at the mistake, but I would have picked up and flowed on.

(Of course you have to sweep the dojo, I mean milonga floor, Then you're not a beginner.)
 

bastet

Active Member
#63
I have a tendon/ligament/joint problem that prevents me from dancing at all these days. (and often prevents me from walking except with a crutch or cane)

The doctor wasn't very encouraging - told me that he'd advise me to give up dancing for good, except that he knew I wouldn't. (except that pain has prevented me anyway) He felt it wasn't going to improve much and would probably get worse because it was a "degenerative" problem, not an injury. Even just reading about tango was too depressing when I felt I might never dance again. :(

However, I am now hoping that I will be able to dance again soon (at least slow gentle stuff) because I am getting some better, more optimistic, help from another (different type) of doctor. He cautions me that it may never be what it was, but that there is some hope of near normal function.

It's been a hard time for the last 4 months trying to deal with this and figure out how to recover.
I'm really sorry to hear that Zoops and hope you can start doing some dancing again soon. You've been missed here.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#64
I have a tendon/ligament/joint problem that prevents me from dancing at all these days. (and often prevents me from walking except with a crutch or cane)

The doctor wasn't very encouraging - told me that he'd advise me to give up dancing for good, except that he knew I wouldn't. (except that pain has prevented me anyway) He felt it wasn't going to improve much and would probably get worse because it was a "degenerative" problem, not an injury. Even just reading about tango was too depressing when I felt I might never dance again. :(

However, I am now hoping that I will be able to dance again soon (at least slow gentle stuff) because I am getting some better, more optimistic, help from another (different type) of doctor. He cautions me that it may never be what it was, but that there is some hope of near normal function.

It's been a hard time for the last 4 months trying to deal with this and figure out how to recover.
Sorry to hear about this. Try to get as many consults with different specialists, as your health plan will allow. If they haven't done an MRI, try to finagle a way to get one. It's the best diagnostic out there.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#65
that is really interesting. I experience fluffs and fumbles on the dance floor since I dance with dancers at all levels. Some want to know what they did wrong - so they can improve their technique; (and i say it was my fault) but for most of the time i carry on dancing. one friend said she thought it was why I was the best dancer around because I wasnt stuck back at the mistake, but I would have picked up and flowed on.

(Of course you have to sweep the dojo, I mean milonga floor, Then you're not a beginner.)
If it's a practica and I miss a lead, I will sometimes ask what I did wrong and ask them to do it again, but at a milonga I definitely prefer they just move on. There is a leader here who just loves to do tons of moves (I had him specifically in mind when I talked about my tastes changing). He's a decent enough leader if that's what you're in the mood for and know his moves, but I can't always figure them out, especially if they're new to him. What drives me crazy is he'll do the move over and over, maybe even saying "no..." each time, until I either get it right or he gives up. But he can't always tell me what I'm doing wrong or what's supposed to happen. This is another thing I'm learning to not let it get to me.
 
#67
Based on that criterion, I will never stop being a beginner, since I am ridiculously bad at recognizing music and attaching names, and matching things to composers is even worse.

I stopped considering myself a beginner when I really started to own my tango, when I no longer forgave myself my mistakes because "I was a beginner." T'is a very squishy concept, but I remember it quite clearly and it was a definite turning point for me.
That's interesting Peaches, that you so clearly noticed your inner definition of beginner status and the shift! I have tried to find if I had one but came out empty handed.

On the contrary I can remember the moment when I realized that the social transition had happened for me. During my first months/years as follower the leaders were complaining my skill in different ways, the guilty was always on me! But one day one leader started to apologize for his mistake. It was a clear cut situation, a turning point, I remember the feeling and I was totally aware that a transition to a new phase has taken place.

Last August I put up a list of levels and corresponding explanations.... ;)

You can't lead the steps at all - I am not interested about that figure ...
You can fix it with the teacher - It is your partners mistake if it is not working
You can perform it with peers - Everyone can do this! It's simple!
You can lead the steps with a beginner. - Wow she is a really good follower!

The level two is an unfair and painful one for the followers :(
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#68
There is a West Coast Swing dancers named Carlito Rafoli. He has been dancing for about 150 years and is a well-respected judge and a great dancer. His catch phrase is "I'm just a beginner!" He's famous for it.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#70
you just can't beat false modesty can you..:D
That was sortof my knee jerk reaction too. I think it's reassuring for people starting out to hear from a more advanced person that the more advanced person still occasionally feels like a beginner or that they are still struggling with certain aspects of the endeavor and that they experience lapses in their confidence.

But for someone who is at the top of the pyramid to just generically say "I'm still a beginner" is sorta insulting to someone who really IS a beginner and the struggles and doubts they experience. If I were taking a lesson from the top ranking whatever (Tiger Woods, YoYo Ma, Michelle Kwan, etc) it wouldn't make me feel better for them to say "I'm still a beginner".

It would feel patronizing.

However, it would probably help me a lot to have them talk about some specific area of the skill that always gave them trouble and still occasionally does, and more importantly, how they deal with it. It would help me to hear about who inspires them and how they work to continually improve, and WHAT they feel they have to still work hard at because, even for them, it doesn't come easily.

I know I am not a beginner. I still have trouble with certain aspects of Tango that I've struggled with from the start. I still make colossally stupid mistakes on the dance floor sometimes. I definitely have off nights where, at the very least, I am aware of things not being smooth and easy, and at worst, my partner and anyone watching can tell.

But I don't think it helps the newbies one iota for me to simply say "I am still just a beginner". If they don't know me, they might think they are completely hopeless because if I'm still a beginner too, then they ought to be dancing as I do.
 
#71
He says he is a beginner but the payment seems to be as for an advanced teacher!
....could this be used to beat?

On the other hand Kelly and Facundo used this kind of beginner phrase, but that time I felt it had focus on learning and I felt ok. The things they had learned so far they wanted to teach to us but still they had a lot of things to learn themselves; so they were beginners too.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#72
That was sortof my knee jerk reaction too. I think it's reassuring for people starting out to hear from a more advanced person that the more advanced person still occasionally feels like a beginner or that they are still struggling with certain aspects of the endeavor and that they experience lapses in their confidence.

But for someone who is at the top of the pyramid to just generically say "I'm still a beginner" is sorta insulting to someone who really IS a beginner and the struggles and doubts they experience. If I were taking a lesson from the top ranking whatever (Tiger Woods, YoYo Ma, Michelle Kwan, etc) it wouldn't make me feel better for them to say "I'm still a beginner".

It would feel patronizing.

However, it would probably help me a lot to have them talk about some specific area of the skill that always gave them trouble and still occasionally does, and more importantly, how they deal with it. It would help me to hear about who inspires them and how they work to continually improve, and WHAT they feel they have to still work hard at because, even for them, it doesn't come easily.

I know I am not a beginner. I still have trouble with certain aspects of Tango that I've struggled with from the start. I still make colossally stupid mistakes on the dance floor sometimes. I definitely have off nights where, at the very least, I am aware of things not being smooth and easy, and at worst, my partner and anyone watching can tell.

But I don't think it helps the newbies one iota for me to simply say "I am still just a beginner". If they don't know me, they might think they are completely hopeless because if I'm still a beginner too, then they ought to be dancing as I do.
His point is that no matter how much you know and how good you are, there is always more to learn and you should never stop seeking to improve. He is one of the most beloved people in the community--very endearing.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#73
His point is that no matter how much you know and how good you are, there is always more to learn and you should never stop seeking to improve. He is one of the most beloved people in the community--very endearing.
I totally agree with his point. I imagine that his actual presentation of the idea loses something in the oversimplified posting of it.
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
#75
I totally agree with his point. I imagine that his actual presentation of the idea loses something in the oversimplified posting of it.
True. Doesn't mean you're not spot-on when it comes to how demoralizing it can feel to a(n actual) beginner to hear an advanced dancer say they are still "a beginner." Seems to me, that just-starting-out phase is somewhat of an emotionally-precarious time, particularly if you've just gotten to the point of realizing just how much you don't know. That's a hell of a low-point to be in, when you feel like you've learned so much, but are just starting to realize how much further you have to go. To hear someone you respect saying (what you can hear as) they're still at Square One...well, how are you ever going to get anywhere?! Might as well just quit now!
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
#77
That was sortof my knee jerk reaction too. I think it's reassuring for people starting out to hear from a more advanced person that the more advanced person still occasionally feels like a beginner or that they are still struggling with certain aspects of the endeavor and that they experience lapses in their confidence.

But for someone who is at the top of the pyramid to just generically say "I'm still a beginner" is sorta insulting to someone who really IS a beginner and the struggles and doubts they experience. If I were taking a lesson from the top ranking whatever (Tiger Woods, YoYo Ma, Michelle Kwan, etc) it wouldn't make me feel better for them to say "I'm still a beginner".

It would feel patronizing.

However, it would probably help me a lot to have them talk about some specific area of the skill that always gave them trouble and still occasionally does, and more importantly, how they deal with it. It would help me to hear about who inspires them and how they work to continually improve, and WHAT they feel they have to still work hard at because, even for them, it doesn't come easily.

I know I am not a beginner. I still have trouble with certain aspects of Tango that I've struggled with from the start. I still make colossally stupid mistakes on the dance floor sometimes. I definitely have off nights where, at the very least, I am aware of things not being smooth and easy, and at worst, my partner and anyone watching can tell.

But I don't think it helps the newbies one iota for me to simply say "I am still just a beginner". If they don't know me, they might think they are completely hopeless because if I'm still a beginner too, then they ought to be dancing as I do.
i endorse that..I still make mistakes, and i encourage people not to get hung up on making mistakes and keep dancing, or work on them.

i dont have off nights, unless i'm actually unwell.

your third point reminds me of a heckler Marshall Rosenberg had, and through empathic questioning, he found out the man wanted to hear that Marshall had worked hard at it and had experienced difficulties in applying it.
 

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