Ask Arlene…More Teachers or Practicas?

With the latest running debate going on between Chris, Danny, Tango Totty and VOR, it got me thinking about Technique.  Totty seems to think it is necessary in order dance a Tango justice and Chris seems to think that it will develop by dancing in the Milongas.

Here is a definition of technique of which I always thought to have meant a way of doing something.  As far as I am concerned, a way of doing something can be taught to another person, or it can develop from within.

tech·nique

tɛkˈnik/  Spelled[tek-neek]   –noun 1. the manner and ability with which an artist, writer, dancer, athlete, or the like employs the technical skills of a particular art or field of endeavor. 2. the body of specialized procedures and methods used in any specific field, esp. in an area of applied science. 3. method of performance; way of accomplishing. 4. technical skill; ability to apply procedures or methods so as to effect a desired result. 5. Informal . method of projecting personal charm, appeal, etc.: He has the greatest technique with customers.


Origin:
1810–20;  < F: technical (adj.), technic (n.) < Gk technikós, techniká

I think that they are both right up to a point and I will say it here only once as I don’t really want to get dragged into a debate about how I feel about things.  So, I will say it how it was for me.  When I started to learn, I went to the nearest person that taught it where I lived.  I didn’t have access to people who danced it.  Interestingly, although my first teacher didn’t teach it the way I really like to dance, he did teach technique, of sorts.  He taught the walk.  He was very precise about this and also how the follower should follow.  The rest of it was too much fancy footwork, but he did teach the walk and explained how the follower should pay attention to her leader in order to move with him.  I have to give him credit for that!  The rest of it was just show moves I learned later.

My second teacher taught the walk.  He is Argentine, taught by his father, and he gave me a bit more.  He told me and showed me how to place my feet.  It was not only the walk, but also how to walk and how to embrace.  He liked the ladies to place our arms up high around the man’s neck.  That is how I first saw Tango danced.  The walk and the embrace.  That was the focus.  We would have a whole lesson just walking to the music.  We would be corrected if our feet were not right.  We would be corrected if we were not in the right hold.  If we got that right, we would be taught how to turn in a corner!  All the woman had to do was follow.  The trickiest thing we did was giros and ochos.  I can’t remember him teaching us anything else.  Perhaps that is because I never went to any other class except the beginner’s class.

I went to the milongas early in my learning development.  I wanted to put into practice what I had been taught.  I wanted to know if I could listen to the man and do what he asked of me.  I worked out after the first dance how my partner would lead.  I learned by feeling and listening.  I was familiar with all the songs as I had acquired many and listened to them all of the time.  I listened to Tango radio at work.  I was able to move to the music with my partner.  Sometimes, I was able to move to the music better than my partner!  The only time I really got into trouble on the dance floor was when someone tried tricky moves with me!

And that is how I really learned to dance, in the Milongas.  In London.  How’s my technique?  There are a few things that I have learned to do better because of a private lesson or from a comment on the dancefloor (from a teacher I respect) or from doing a basics class.  I won’t go to classes anymore unless it is a basics class, for any kind of dancing.  I don’t try to copy anyone else’s fancy foot moves.  I find I actually move my feet less, but feel more grounded.  But I haven’t been to a class for ages.  The only  regular classes I am going to right now is Belly Dancing, but that is more like an aerobic workout.  I needed a private lesson in order to understand how to do the moves properly as I started late.  It was just the basics.  Interestingly, my bellydancing class has helped me with my Salsa and my Tango and Ceroc!  Although I need some instruction, the rest is down to me to get into it and really feel the music and dance to it.  It is the same for Tango and the other dances that I do.  If I really don’t like the music, I can’t dance to it!  Last week when I went to Ceroc, one of the guys asked me why I don’t do the classes.  I asked him if he uses the moves taught in the class and he said no.  That is why I don’t do the classes, I said.  He still didn’t get it!

So, I am wondering if Totty is being a bit semantic with her wording.  Is she really talking about technique or instruction.  Is she even talking about style?  How much technique do we really need?  Do we need to be taught anything more than the basics?  Do we need to learn how to do an ocho cortado?  I don’t even know what that is to talk about, but I believe I have done it.  Do I need to know the names of moves?  Do I really need to know what a secada is?  If the man can lead it, I can follow it.  What else to I really need to know?  If the move can’t be done in a closed embrace, I really don’t want to know about it.

Maybe instead of all these teachers teaching really tricky moves, perhaps we need more practicas?  To improve, we need to practice.  If we are not going to learn in the milongas, maybe we could learn in a practica.  Instead of people teaching us all of these tricky moves, perhaps they could teach the basics and let us work out a few things for ourselves and stay on the sidelines to give advice?  If they see that our feet are not in the right place when we walk, perhaps they can show us how it should be?  Unless we are all going to turn into show dancers, do we really need to know more than the basics? I wonder what would really happen if the teachers just stuck to the basics.  Would they really lose customers?  What would happen if more practicas appeared?

Just a thought!

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107 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tango Totty
    Jun 29, 2010 @ 10:48:40

    Hi Arlene

    I agree with much of what you have said above. I am actually talking about technique AND instruction being necessary.

    The correct technique is needed for expressing the music in the most effective way.

    I believe that some form of instruction is necessary to be able do the technique properly. We are not born fully competent tango dancers. Its a stylised dance with some movements that are definately quite unnatural!!

    You then need to practise this technique on your own so that its automatically part of your dance. You also need to dance with good partners to practise. ~All of it is important if you want to improve.

    Style and looking good when you dance is really a byproduct of good technique – form follows function and generally when something works well it looks good.

    I would like to ask Chris to give some examples of technique that you can learn just by dancing with a good dancer. Eg Good ochos have a very specific technique. For most people they are not easy and definately dont come automatically.

  2. Jessica
    Jun 29, 2010 @ 13:04:08

    As a follower I do steer clear of steps classes as much as I can. But that doesn’t mean there’s no place for technique.

    I think the single biggest leap forward in my dancing was the result of intensive technical work on balance and the axis in women’s technique classes. This made a huge difference to my ability to respond to the lead and the music.

    So I combine women’s technique classes with going to practicas and milongas… works for me.

  3. The Voice of reason
    Jun 29, 2010 @ 18:26:11

    Jessica and Totty

    You are both on it!

    Technique clearly assists the correct execution of movement. This could easilly be the focus of many lessons. However, it may seem tedious in its learning with the end product arrived at only after considerable practise and understanding. It may not make your enjoyment any better. After all, ignorance sometimes really can be Bliss.

    I think we all do what we can and we can not do more, even if we are told we must do so by the tango guru’s on this and other pages.

    VOR xx

  4. Tango Totty
    Jun 29, 2010 @ 18:32:43

    To answer your latest question Arlene, I definitely think that the London classes should abandon ‘steps’ model and spend much more time in lessons focusing on the most important elements of tango:

    • The correct embrace and the connection (sorry Chris but that may include adjustments to body positioning)
    • Basic sequences – but just as a vehicle for the basic tango movements – walking, ochos, giros
    • Drills and Exercises for improving technique – again this may require body positioning
    • Understanding the music

    There should be practicas afterwards where you would dance incorporating the above. Only when it is clear to the teachers that your technique is sound should you be able to move on to the intermediate and advanced classes. I know this may sound a little crazy but perhaps there should be some sort of tango council set up here consisting of some of the recognised good tango teachers. People could take some sort of tango technique exam where the teachers would dance with you and issue you with a certificate if you have achieved a good enough level. I know this may sound a little serious but I really think that this is a way forward for improving the overall standard here for those people who genuinely want to improve.

  5. Tango Totty
    Jun 29, 2010 @ 19:52:04

    VOR

    BULLSHIT!!!!!
    Some people are just content with doing what they can cos they cant be bothered to do anything else. And some people WANT to do more. Its not always just about pure enjoyment; sometimes its about trying to raise standards.

    Totty

  6. Chris, UK
    Jul 01, 2010 @ 13:52:55

    Totty, instruction may be necessary for YOU to learn to dance but just because you have apparently never met anyone who cannot dance without, please do not project your limitations on to everyone else.

  7. Chris, UK
    Jul 01, 2010 @ 13:58:15

    Totty, may I ask: on how much experience of leading do you base your claim that basic sequences are “one of the most important elements of tango”?

  8. The Voice of reason
    Jul 01, 2010 @ 20:34:46

    Totty

    So harsh ouch! Why? I think you might have got me slightly off guard.
    I didn’t say that tango is always about pure enjoyment. It can be if you get the right dancer as I am confident you will be aware.
    Yes by all means get better! Practice! Take lessons, become good and keep improving. TO a POINT! Then what? You keep going or stop now you know your limits? Perhaps you get frustrated and lose sight of why you dance in the first place and then blame everyone else for not keeping up? Of course you keep going at it doggidly, all the time the tangopath keeps going feeding their tango addiction, one more fix at a time.
    Every person is different as are their circumstances and their willingness or even their zealousness in pursuit of their tango goals. Just like in Marathon running some people hit a wall and you know full well that some people can attend every lesson, do privates, practica’s and practice till they are knackered and will still be a hazard on the floor.
    So why should people bother spending all that money unless there is payback? It might be improved technique or confidence on the floor It might be that you just enjoy dancing more. I would not dare tell you or anyone what you should be getting out of tango. I am only one voice albeit the voice of reason.
    I remember one bloke who after a couple of years and some considerable expense I might add, still deserved his (secret) nickname of “the plank”. So don’t give me that bullshit jibe. Everyone has their limitations and sometimes its difficult to know. Sure go on and do whatever you can to get better and improve your standard but don’t expect everyone else to keep pushing water up the hill in the pursuit of some marginal improvement that may never come. Accept the fact that Tango is social first and foremost and for some people the best they can get is a competent and safe passage around the floor. Some may have brilliant potential but not the time or even the inclinationto exploit this. It is their choice and they can still enjoy tango blissfully ignorant that they are really still quite shit at dancing. But you know what; I think they know and are happy with what they do. How many of us really are or can be when what we want keeps rising away as we go forward?

    Kisses

    VORxx

  9. The Voice of reason
    Jul 02, 2010 @ 00:02:22

    Chris
    I dont know anyone who can dance tango who has not had lessons. You may think that Totty is projecting limitations on to others, I must disagree. If anything I think she is simply calling for higher standards from all of us.

    VOR

  10. Chris, UK
    Jul 02, 2010 @ 10:01:39

    > I dont know anyone who can dance
    > tango who has not had lessons.

    I am amazed. I dance frequently with such girls. Have you never danced in BsAs?

  11. Tango Totty
    Jul 02, 2010 @ 11:49:47

    Chris UK

    Where ARE all these good leaders then that the followers can learn from on the dancefloor ? Unfortunately as tango is not part of our national culture we really havent got the infrasture to learn in this particular way. So give us a more practical suggestion.

    PS You still have not given any concrete examples of technique that can be learnt on the job.

    I am also very interested to know how the leaders learn without instruction. Most of you havent had the 30 or 40 years of dancing experience necessary to have developed these skills yourself.

    VOR

    Its common sense that everyone has different capacities. Yes Some people may be limited by time or money. Others are limited by character because they are lazy and complacent. But Some people want the stimulus and challenge of continued improvement. “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp”.

  12. Deby Novitz
    Jul 02, 2010 @ 19:37:38

    I just got back from the USA and cities that are touted to have excellent tango. They do for North America. I have not danced tango outside of Buenos Aires for almost 6 years. With few exceptions what I saw danced was rarely what I see danced here in Buenos Aires.

    These kinds of questions and debates are particular to tango dancers outside of Buenos Aires. They are almost never talked about here. At least not in the groups of people I know.

    People here are not frantic about tango. It is a social dance. Some people learn because they like the music. Some people learn because their grandparents danced and they thought it was cool.

    There are few people today that do not take lessons. Almost everyone does. But they do not take 1oos of them along with millions of private lessons from name brands. They learn to dance and then go to some practicas and milongas. Many people go to watch before they go out on the dance floor.

    People go to the milongas. They dance. Maybe at some point they may go and take another lesson or two but not always. They dance.

    There are some people like myself who had some lessons and did learn on the floor, the styles from here. I was lucky to be mentored by some excellent dancers. My current partner is the best and has taught me a lot. Mostly by dancing with him and listening when we teach together.

    Unless your ambition is to be a show dancer, then I think people should relax and enjoy tango. It is a dance that is driven by the music. Not music driven by the dance. It is not important if your foot is 2 degrees off.

    I see too many people outside of Buenos Aires concentrating on what they call technique when they have no idea what it really is. They have been sold a lot of marketing hype – technique for dancers, women’s technique, men’s technique, etc. None of this existed before tango became big business.

    The idea of perfection is a little crazy. I see couples who practice, practice, practice, to get I assume their technique correct. I suppose to the untrained they look great. To me they look boring dancing the same step over and over again to whatever music is being played.

    Most dancers have no idea that the way you dance to Pugliese is not the same as the way you dance to DiSarli, or Tanturi, and yet they are so fixated on technique.

    My recommendation is “tranquila” and dance socially. Accept that some people dance better than others, some will never dance well and really don’t care. The idea is to enjoy your tango.

    In one of the cities I was in, the tango was not at all like Buenos Aires, but the people were so nice and they were having a great time. That is what milongas are for.

  13. Tango Totty
    Jul 03, 2010 @ 14:26:25

    Deby

    I agree that tango is not about fixation on technique or about having perfectly placed feet but its is all a question of balance – Tango maybe driven by the music and the feeling, but it needs some technique. This is not for show dancing or just too look good on the dance floor, but to control the movement and improve the connection in the dance. Otherwise its just really a free for all and not tango at all in the traditional sense.

  14. Voice of Reason
    Jul 03, 2010 @ 19:05:07

    Deby

    You are completely in synch with my opinions here. Thank you for saving me time putting these points so eloquently.
    Totty I believe I know what you mean when you says it needs some technique in order to control movement and improve the connection in the dance. I agree here as well. I think the disparity in these views is how to aquire the technique, skill or experience.
    I love dancing tango. I love dancing with my friends, even when they are technically more proficient (or better) than me. I know I am not the best dancer in the world. However, I still feel I know enough to control my movement and I am respectful of other dancers. I come to enjoy tango and I believe that is or at least, should be, the philosophy of the dance.

    VOR xx

  15. Tango Totty
    Jul 03, 2010 @ 19:19:52

    Also enjoying tango is obviously the primary reason for doing it. But working at it shows that you recognise its a difficult dance and that you have respect for an integral part of Argentine culture.

  16. Tango Totty
    Jul 04, 2010 @ 12:43:06

    VOR you have made everything clear. What more is there to say – The oracle has spoken.

  17. Mr Milonga
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 00:08:26

    There are too many bad dancers out there and I think it’s because they’ve fooled themselves into thinking that they can dance.

    What you need to ask yourself is do you want to be good or do you want to get by? I’m fed up wasting my time hauling around women who are under to illusion that they can learn on the floor and that it’s acceptable for them to do so. What a selfish approach. Why should leaders spend hours and hours learning to lead if followers are not going to put in the same amount of effort to be better followers?

    I’ve heard the steps are a waste of time, what’s important is good technique. That’s not entirely true. Having good technique is like knowing the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, generally you’re going to be okay. Knowing what happens at the beginning and at the end of the day is okay, but so much more happens between sunrise and sunset.

    If the advocates of learning the basics and then going out and learning in the milongas are to be listened to then it’s akin to saying once a child can read send them out into the world to complete their education. But we don’t do that, do we? And for good reason.

    I don’t go to milongas to dance with lazy dancers, but that’s what we’ve got here in London. We’ve also got some shocking teachers, which is the real issue.

    There are too many teachers out there who either can’t communicate or are limited dancers without the tools to do the job properly. It’s like having an English teacher who doesn’t understand punctuation. Every time I hear about a new ‘teacher’ hilarity and uncontrollable laughter often ensues. And just in case you’re wondering, I haven’t stopped laughing since I heard that Danny Israel is now a tango teacher. The list of people who I think are fooling themselves and legions of pupils, by calling themselves teachers can be extended to amongst others to Ivan at Negracha, Louis at Tango South London, Alex and Silvia at 33 Portland Place and Tango Fandango’s Leonardo.

    I appreciate that by naming these people I might upset the teachers and some of their pupils who might read this entry, but I would suggest that it is because the pupils don’t know any better. Sadly you can name the decent teachers in London on one hand, without having to use your thumb.

    Technique and steps do not inhabit two separate worlds where neither meet. You can get by with one or the other, but when you have both together something special can happen.

  18. Arlene
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 07:33:31

    @ Mr. Milonga
    🙂
    Would you please be so kind as to list the teachers on one hand, not including your thumb, that you think are worthy?
    Thanks.

  19. Mr Milonga
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 12:10:18

    Hi Arlene,

    Of course I’d be happy to list the teachers I think are worthy – not in any particular order. Although I would hasten to add that I’ve not done classes with every Argentine Tango teacher in London, so there are some people I can’t and won’t volunteer an opinion on.

    Leandro and Romina @ Tango Soul, Kim and David @ Tango Movement, Alex @ Tango in Action are all good. They all pay attention to technique and musicality, as well as teaching steps designed to solidify the techniques taught, while offering differing possibilities to how the steps may be used during social dancing.

    The jury is out for me with the open-embrace/nuevo teachers. I’ve danced with a high-profile nuevo teacher who is a terrible milonga dancer, which suggests that she dances nuevo because it’s much easier to throw poses and kick out your legs than it is to learn how to dance Argentine Tango properly.

    I’ve never done a class with Hiba and Rene at the Dome or Tangology’s Eleonora, I’ve but taken part in both their practicas in the past. Even though I have no idea how well either of them teach I am impressed by the enthusiasm they put into trying to help the people who attend their classes.

    That said, enthusiasm is no replacement for poor technique.

    I hope this answers your queston Arlene.

  20. Tango Totty
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 22:26:56

    Mr Milonga

    I dont think anybody really disputes the fact that some form of sequences of steps and technique are not important components of the dance. The problem is when one is over-emphasised at the expense of another – it becomes untrue to the roots of traditional tango – a hybrid. If anyone wants to go down that hybrid version that is ok, but dont confuse this with the true spirit of the social dance of Buenos Aires where the steps are just a means to an end. The steps are a servant of the dance, not the master.

    In this country steps are concrete and taught as a crutch because the feeling and emotional response to a piece of music cannot be taught. Neither can fluidity of movement although this can be improved upon. But overall Steps are much more accessible but recognize them for what they are – they are just skills to be developed in varying degrees according to the persons physical ability.

    While I agree that the teachers you have recommended may be very good at explaining sequences of steps and the technique, I think that the danger with these classes is this aspect of the dance is overemphasized and the main reason why people attend. Also technique and embellishments seem to be taught as flambouyant shopmanship rather than a genuine expression of musical feeling. It may be seductive and satisfying to learn sequences of steps and flambouyant technique but its nowhere near tango proper.

  21. Chris, UK
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 22:55:27

    Totty wrote:

    > Where ARE all these good leaders then
    > that the followers can learn from on the dancefloor ?

    That’s a strange question from someone claiming that the new method is a success. Are your new-method classes creating leaders good enough for others to learn from, or not??

    > Unfortunately as tango is not part of our
    national culture we
    > really havent got the infrasture to learn in this particular way.

    You don’t need “infrastructure” to learn to dance through dance. You need just music, floor and partner.

    > PS You still have not given any concrete examples of
    > technique that can be learnt on the job.

    Everything needed for social dancing.

    Where else you think the technique of any social dance comes from? How else was it that half the city of Buenos Aires learned to dance before the emergence of the teaching business just a few years ago??

    > Most of you havent had the 30 or 40 years of dancing
    > experience necessary to have developed these skills yourself.

    What makes you think 30 or 40 years experience is necessary?

  22. Chris, UK
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 23:01:40

    Mr Milonga, I notice that all the teachers you say are good are show dancers who run dance schools. None run regular milongas, and they are rarely seen on the dance floor, except in the commerical breaks. All the teachers you say are bad are social dancers, and run milongas.

    I can’t help thinking the value of your opinions would be clearer if you weren’t concealing your identity.

  23. Mr Milonga
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 11:32:13

    Tango Totty, none of the teachers I have mentioned values steps over technique.

    You mention the development of a ‘hybrid’ dance which has little to do with the roots of traditional tango. Then you go on to mention the ‘spirit’ of tango as the social dance of Buenos Aries. The spirit of any scene is usually determined by a few taste makers who are able to influence the greater collective. If you want a milonga to reflect the spirit of BsAs, that’s the responsibility of the people who run milongas. Well run milongas around the world, outside of BsAs don’t just happen. The people running them are careful to make sure that their customers conduct themselves in a respectful manner, adhering to many of the customs that originated from Argentina’s capital.

    The ‘spirit’ of BsAs tango has nothing to do with steps or technique, it has much more to do with tradition and respect. The London tango scene is by comparism new, so has little or no tradition and sadly many of the people who dance in London have little or no respect for their fellow dancers.

    I think Totty you are confusing the conventions of the scene with the dance itself.

    How someone interprets what they have been shown in class is a very personal thing. Steps are not concrete as Totty suggests, they are merely exercises designed to utilise an expanding vocabulary of dance. The teacher cannot be held responsible if a dancer has no imagination, or musicality. The pupil has to do some work themself.

    Argentine Tango, the dance, should always endeavour to evolve. Even though I am not the biggest fan of Nuevo Tango, I applaud the exponents of this form because they are trying to push the dance forward, experimenting with its conventions.

    There are too many dancers who do not work at the dance, who go to milongas expecting to get better as if by magic dancing badly with as many people as they can in an evening. That might be fun for them, but it is no fun whatsoever for the decent dancers who have to endure this selfish approach.

    Like it or not Totty, steps are at the heart of every dance. If the dance is a conversation are you satisfied conversing at a basic level or would you rather something more engaging?

    Also Totty how should embellishments be taught? Reading your post it appears as if they’re just supposed to happen in the throws of the dance. I disagree with your claim that they are taught as ‘flambouyant showmanship’. All a teacher can do is suggest decorations. No one expresses decoration as part of musical feeling out of nowhere. It is a concept they’ve been exposed to either by watching other dancers or they’ve been shown in classes.

  24. Mr Milonga
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 11:53:08

    Chris, all the teachers that I recommend have been show dancers. Leandro, Romina and David have all performed for Tango por Dos and Kim worked for Tx2. Alex was taught by Leandro and Andrea Misse.

    The fact they are all show dancers is a positive. They’ve all danced to a high level and have worked with some of the finest dancers in the world.

    In short, they know what they’re talking about.

    What has it got to do with anything how much social dancing they do? When they’re on their own time those people should be allowed to dance as much or as little as they’d like to with whoever they choose to dance or not to dance with.

    I’m only going to do a class with a social dancer if that dancer is very, very good. Why would anyone in their right mind pay someone for tuition if the pupil is a better dancer than the teacher? And why would you go to a teacher who isn’t accomplished in all aspects of the dance?

    If you have kids would you send them to be taught maths by someone who hasn’t grasped multiplication? It wouldn’t make sense would it? Then why would you go to a teacher of limited ability or one who cannot teach?

    Chris my identity has nothing to do with the value of my opinion. You decide how valid my opinion is by the content of my posts. Just in case you’re wondering, I’m a very good dancer.

  25. Chris, UK
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 13:22:33

    > The fact they are all show dancers is a positive.

    In my experience it is the teaching of show dancers that produces the very worst social dancers, and is the cause of most of the chaos we see on London dance floors.

    > What has it got to do with anything
    > how much social dancing they do?

    Everything. Would you take driving lessons from someone who doesn’t drive?

    > And why would you go to a teacher who
    > isn’t accomplished in all aspects of the dance?

    Show dancing is not an aspect of social dancing. It is merely a stage adaptation done for money.

    > Just in case you’re wondering,
    > I’m a very good dancer.

    I wasn’t wondering at all – I have seen who your teachers are.

  26. Chris, UK
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 13:54:19

    > Chris, all the teachers that I recommend have been show dancers. …
    > Kim worked for Tx2

    Sounds like you fell for the fraudulent publicity info. Kim Schwartz worked for TangoX2 IN THE OFFICE, not as a dancer.

  27. David Bailey
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 14:44:59

    @Mr Milonga
    “What has it got to do with anything how much social dancing they do? When they’re on their own time those people should be allowed to dance as much or as little as they’d like to with whoever they choose to dance or not to dance with.”
    – Yes, I’ve heard this attitude a lot from some people in the Tango scene. All I can say is, I disagree with it. Especially if at their own milongas.

    My feeling is that teachers should not adopt a teach-and-slope-off-to-mix-with-their-friends approach; they should dance with their pupils, t they should help show them things like floorcraft and etiquette, and they should encourage people to do likewise.

    If a tango teacher is not happy dancing socially, or does not do so much, it’s difficult to judge whether they’re teaching show tango or social tango. Most of us, presumably, want to learn the latter.

    “And why would you go to a teacher who isn’t accomplished in all aspects of the dance?

    If you have kids would you send them to be taught maths by someone who hasn’t grasped multiplication? It wouldn’t make sense would it? Then why would you go to a teacher of limited ability or one who cannot teach?”
    Well. dancing is not teaching. Being a fantastic dancer is no indication of how good a teacher that person is.

    Many wonderful dancers are rubbish teachers; not only do they not grasp some key concepts, but they can’t communicate them clearly.

    Next:
    “Chris my identity has nothing to do with the value of my opinion. You decide how valid my opinion is by the content of my posts. ”
    – yes, to a point, but identity / background helps provide some context. Otherwise you’re just “A Guy On The Internet With A Funny Name”.

    Finally:
    “Just in case you’re wondering, I’m a very good dancer.”
    Cor, I wish I was.

  28. Mr Milonga
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 16:52:07

    Chris,

    I’ve mentioned five dancers. Are those five dancers to blame for the chaos on London’s dance floors?

    All of the dancers I’ve mentioned dance in London’s milongas. They are dancers who dance, which means your analogy doesn’t work. A driver who doesn’t drive is a passenger btw.

    The show dancers that have been mentioned are excellent social dancers. And if anyone gets to a level of being a true show dancer e.g someone an audience actually pays to see, there is no question they can dance. If you don’t believe this, name names.

    Yes Kim worked for Tx2, but not as a dancer. She spent a long time in an environment where she was able to learn and dance from some of the best tango dancers in the world. Even though she never danced for them, she is a competent dancer and a good teacher.

    I#m glad you’re able to garner that I’m a good dancer by the teachers I recommend.

    David Bailey – When you pay to get into a milonga, it only guarantees you entry. Milonga runner’s responsibility is to provide a floor for dancing and music. It’s not a brothel. I appreciate how you would like it to be, so I’d suggest that you bring it up with the teachers and milongas you go to.

    You can judge if a teacher is teaching show moves or social moves in a class. If you don’t like what they teach you have several choices. Tell the teachers or go elsewhere. After all it seems that any Tom, Dick and Sally is eager to start their own classes.

    I think I mentioned in an earlier post that there are teachers who struggle to communicate well with their pupils. Some of those teachers are good dancers in their own right but rubbish at teaching.

    Who I am has nothing to do with context. All you need to know is I’m talking from first hand experience, built up over a number of years.

    If you want to be a good dancer put the time in, listen to the music and never forget it takes two to tango.

  29. Tango Totty
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 18:47:12

    Mr Milonga

    I really think you have misunderstood me. The roots of traditional tango is certainly not JUST about following codes and conventions in the BsAs milongas.

    The main problem I see with the teachers you have talked is that they overemphasise and therefore promote both steps and technique at the expense of the feeling and connection which is at the heart of the social dance. While this maybe ok for a few rare dancers, for many of the less aware this then becomes the main purpose of their tango. Misguidedly these people really believe that the more complex steps they can do the better dancers they are going to become. These types of classes then are directly responsible for a lot of the chaos we see on the dancefloors as Chris UK observes. We probably all know and have danced with dancers who cannot even do the basics but regularly attend Intermediate/Advanced step classes at Tango Soul or Tango in Action. I have personally danced with several. At their worst, we see MANY of these types of dancers regularly on the floor of Negracha, comic characters tragically trying to ape whats been taught by their flambouyant showdancing teachers – in reality its just a parody of the real dance. At their best these step focused classes promote preening and self adoring wannabe show dancers who may be able to execute lots of sequences of complex steps really well, appropriately and in time to the music, but whose dance seems to lack any proper emotional response. This is precisely because they are too worried about the steps.

    As I stated in my previous post if this type of dance is what you want then fine. Just recognise this for what it is – a hybrid form of tango. It is most certainly NOT the traditional social dance from BsAs where the steps are kept simple. They are the servant of the dance and not the master.

    By the way when I said that the sequences of steps were concrete I didn’t mean they were set in stone. What I meant was that they are just something tangible – that can be grabbed hold of and taught relatively easily by the teachers rather than any of the more difficult tango concepts. They are a quick fix that seduce and satisfy gullible tango students.

    I also agree with both Chris UK and David Bailey that it is precisely these teachers who should be ambassadors for the social dance in the milongas in London – at least for some of the time anyway! In fact it is these dancers who are among the worst for only dancing with each other – the only promotion they are doing on the dance floor is for themselves and the tango elitist structure – the antithesis of the spirit of the traditional social dancing.

  30. Tango Totty
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 19:07:54

    Mr Milonga

    With respect we wouldnt know if they are excellent social dancers cos most of us have never had the opportunity to dance with them. Lets see them dance with ordinary dancers and see if they can get a connection. Could be all smoke and mirrors

  31. Tango Totty
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 19:50:14

    Chris UK

    I am genuinely interested to know how a leader can learn to dance in this country without going to some classes to learn the basics. In BsAs it s obviously different because people can learn to dance from their family, friends etc as its long established part of the culture. Also they have the background of the tango music etc.

  32. Mr Milonga
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 21:37:17

    Tango Totty, I think I must have misunderstood you. It appears that you’re unhappy that you never get to dance with teachers and that it is the pupils of Tango Soul and Tango in Action who are responsible for the chaos in London’s milongas. I’d love to hear what the respective teachers think about that claim.

    Has it ever crossed your mind that the people turning up to classes have their own agenda? Even if teachers request that people turn up to the class most suitable for their level, those same people will have an excuse – e.g ‘I can only come out on Wednesdays’ or those people will go to another class. Teachers are reluctant to turn pupils away, as they’re trying to run a business in a relatively small, difficult scene.

    What do you do as a teacher, especially as giving classes is how you pay your rent?

    I think it is the responsibility of the other people attending classes to speak up. Have you ever been in a class with people who are not good enough to be in that class? Have you said anything? Did you voice your frustration? Or did you keep your mouth shut and moan after the class to one of your friends?

    If more people spoke up it would be uncomfortable for a while, but the culture of how people approach classes would change. Going to tango classes is not compulsory, so anyone who turns up to a class is doing so off their own back. That’s why you’ll often find the odd beginner in intermediate classes.

    Because of the situation in group classes, frustrated dancers end up wasting money doing private classes with one of the many jokers claiming to be teachers. I know one particular dancer who has been going to the same joker for the last two years. She was a good dancer before she went to him and now she is as good as she was the day before she started classes with him.

    Totty, you, Chris and David Bailey have my sympathy as it appears you’re all suffering from the same inferiority complex. Totty, have you ever approached one of these teachers and asked them to dance? Same for you Chris and Bailey.

    There isn’t an elitist structure in the London tango scene. There are a few people who spend a lot of time with each other who like to sit on the stage at Negracha. That’s it. They make up 1% of all of the tango dancers in London and you lot have got a hang-up on them. Get a life.

    If you want things to change, speak up. Complain to Ivan, Nicki, Leonardo, Silvia, Naomi, Alex et al if you’re not happy with the way milongas are run. If someone bumps into you because they’re doing show steps, remind them that they have to move in the line of dance and that they have to consider the safety of the other dancers and also respect the conventions of the dance.

    It’s great that Arlene provides a forum where you can all vent the problems you have, but nothing is going to change unless you make your concerns known to the right people. Talk to your teachers, talk to the people who run milongas. Improve as a dancer so that everyone is praying that they get to dance with you.

    If you’re not prepared to do something for yourself, don’t expect someone else to do it for you.

    You people kill me.

  33. Tango Totty
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 21:37:45

    Mr Milonga

    “Argentine Tango, the dance, should always endeavour to evolve.”

    Why – whats the point – if something works well why fix it? What are you changing it for – commercial reasons ?

    “Even though I am not the biggest fan of Nuevo Tango, I applaud the exponents of this form because they are trying to push the dance forward, experimenting with its conventions.”

    Is it just change for its own sake ? How is it pushing the dance forward if we just end up having to dance with a load of Kung Fu tango dancers who often havent even got the tango basics established? It just bastardising the dance for no good reason and lining the pockets of people who obviously have no real respect for the real tango. In fact its a travesty of the traditional dance.

    “Like it or not Totty, steps are at the heart of every dance”

    Yes steps are at the heart of the every SHOW dance. The heart of the social dance is the emotional connection – the steps are just the vehicle for this and no more.

  34. Mr Milonga
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 21:38:55

    Totty,

    Out of interest, who do you learn with and why?

  35. Voice of Reason
    Jul 06, 2010 @ 23:01:11

    Now Now this is getting out of hand. It will be tears before bed time. Keep it civil. Before we know it someone will be calling for a ban on all Charlatons. Where would that leave the London tango scene?
    I quite like the mystery of what is being taught at different establishments. I do agree Negracha is full of misguided individuals who see it as a mark of progression when they can kick their own arse in time to the music. I don’t think they can all learn from thesame teacher but I dread to think that this is spreading like a contagion. We must stop it now or perhaps we should just let them all loose at the same time and watch the injury list rise.
    With the level of carnage rising should they not have St. Johns ambulance in attendance?
    Perhaps Negracha will give you a discount if you are a qualified first aider. I know I’ve been lacerated by a few commies in my time there.
    I’ve come to the firm belief that over elaboration beyond walking turning and any step requiring the foot to be raised (studs showing so to speak)is worth a red card. I will be watching and encouraging reporting of breaches to the organisers and I shall encourage all injured parties to seek legal reparation if they fail to control people who think dancing is a solo activity or at least just for them and their partner . I do not believe a defence of volenti non fit injuria will stand up. This is not a combat sport. Nuf Said.

    VOR

  36. Mr Milonga
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 07:52:53

    Totty,

    In order to get around a room you have to step. One foot in front of the other. You don’t have to be a show dancer to do it.

    No one is trying to fix tango or change it. What some people are attempting to do is build on it, experiment with the conventions of the dance and to keep it alive. But without people doing this the dance deprives itself of oxygen. Should we outlaw moves such as e.g the back secada, because the embrace is opened or even the volcada? That’s a step/move which came out of the sort of experimentation you appear to be against. Or can’t you do a volcada, so you’d prefer it not to be done?

    How do you know nuevo dancers have no respect for traditional tango? One of the most passionate promoters of tango in London is Eleanora who dances both nuevo and traditional tango.

    You seem to be worried about traditional tango somehow being in danger. What you should be more worried about is the purveying closed-off attitude of any other form of tango which isn’t traditional as a cancer which will kill off the dominant form of the dance.

    Totty, you’ve mentioned the ’emotional connection’ of the dance. Is this a given everytime in traditional tango? If not, why not and where does it come from?

  37. Chris, UK
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 10:48:45

    > Are those five dancers to blame for the chaos on London’s dance floors?

    Not all of it. The rest of the blame goes to the rest of the faux-show step-peddlars .

    > All of the dancers I’ve mentioned dance in London’s milongas.

    Well they have to, don’t they, to promote themselves to newbie class-buyers. But please do not mistake that for social dancing.

    > have you ever approached one of these teachers and asked them to dance?

    Of course not. I am not so impolite as to interrupt someone while at work.

  38. Chris, UK
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 11:01:45

    Totty

    > I am genuinely interested to know how a
    > leader can learn to dance in this country
    > without going to some classes to learn the basics.

    1) Love the music
    2) Do one-to-one lessons with a good leader
    3) Dance in a practica (if you can find one)
    4) Get on to the milonga dance floor ASAP.

    > In BsAs it s obviously different … Also they have
    > the background of the tango music etc.

    The UK is no different from BsAs in that those who don’t listen to tango should give up any hope of learning to dance it. Instead they should either try the classes teaching fake tango or switch to e.g. salsa.

  39. David Bailey
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 11:19:34

    @Mr Milonga:
    “David Bailey – When you pay to get into a milonga, it only guarantees you entry. Milonga runner’s responsibility is to provide a floor for dancing and music. ”
    Personally, I would disagree – I think milonga hosts are hosts – their responsibility should extend to more than that. I’d say they are responsible for at least trying to ensure their guests have as good a time as possible, If only because that’s good business.

    I appreciate this is a minority view in London milongas, however.

    “It’s not a brothel. I appreciate how you would like it to be, so I’d suggest that you bring it up with the teachers and milongas you go to.”
    -You what? Where did that come from?

    Also:
    “Who I am has nothing to do with context. All you need to know is I’m talking from first hand experience, built up over a number of years.”
    – Unfortunately, we have no way of verifying your experience; we just have your word for it. So your posts are therefore less “weighty”.

    It’s a common problem with internet comments, of course. There’s an interesting entry here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberculture#Identity_in_cyberculture

  40. David Bailey
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 11:26:28

    (Working my way through the comments here, so bear with me!)

    @TangoTotty
    “I also agree with both Chris UK and David Bailey that it is precisely these teachers who should be ambassadors for the social dance in the milongas in London – at least for some of the time anyway! In fact it is these dancers who are among the worst for only dancing with each other – the only promotion they are doing on the dance floor is for themselves and the tango elitist structure – the antithesis of the spirit of the traditional social dancing.”
    – Yes, pretty much.

    I don’t have a problem with elitism in dance; good dancers always want to dance with good dancers. And if they’ve paid their money, that’s their right.

    But I feel that teachers – especially at their own milongas – should work the room, should encourage people to dance and mix, and should use the milonga as a way of promoting good practice, leading by example.

    Again, I understand that this is not how it works. I just think this is how it _should_ work. Certainly, this is precisely what I do, in the venues I work in.

    “Ambassadors for the social dance”, yes, that’s a good way of putting it.

  41. David Bailey
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 11:36:46

    (Last one for a while)

    @Mr Milonga:
    “Totty, you, Chris and David Bailey have my sympathy as it appears you’re all suffering from the same inferiority complex.”
    Heh. Quite possibly.

    But I don’t personally want to dance with many teachers. The ones I do want to dance with, I ask them, they say “yes”, and I dance with them. It seems to work. I’m not really intimidated by teachers, at least not now.

    But I still think there’s an issue with many teachers generally, in that they don’t work the room.

    ” Totty, have you ever approached one of these teachers and asked them to dance? Same for you Chris and Bailey.”
    – Yes, as I said.

    It’s not about me being scared of teachers. (Although admittedly Ivan’s cap is a bit scary). It’s a general point about teacher responsibility.

    “There isn’t an elitist structure in the London tango scene.”
    – Of course there is. As in all dance scenes. I have no problem with that. That’s not the issue.

    ” There are a few people who spend a lot of time with each other who like to sit on the stage at Negracha. That’s it. They make up 1% of all of the tango dancers in London and you lot have got a hang-up on them.”
    – You’re the one who mentioned the stage at Negracha’s. I sit up there sometimes (admittedly not often because it’s a pain to get down from there, delaying valuable dance time). Does that make me elitist?

    “If you want things to change, speak up. Complain to Ivan, Nicki, Leonardo, Silvia, Naomi, Alex et al if you’re not happy with the way milongas are run.”
    – This is a discusssion area. We’re discussing. Err….

    “If someone bumps into you because they’re doing show steps, remind them that they have to move in the line of dance and that they have to consider the safety of the other dancers and also respect the conventions of the dance.”
    – I’m not sure how that communication is achievable in a milonga context. A Laser Death Stare usually works for me.

  42. Tango Totty
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 11:55:39

    Mr Milonga

    I have never ever said that I had an ambition to dance with the any of the teachers you mention. What I actually said was that they form an exclusive clique who feed one another. They may deign to dance with you, albeit reluctantly, if you actually go up and ask, but they do not deign to regularly partake in the social dance proper. Even when they are improvising they only dance with each other. So how does anyone else know how good a social dancers they really are.

    Its not for me or anyone else to tell the teachers how to run their classes – the only way is to vote with your feet, which I do – I don’t attend. If they want to be charlatons, albeit sophisticated ones, then it’s a free market so long as there are people fool enough to attend.

    You mention a friend who has been doing private lessons with ‘joker’ teacher for 2 years who you say has not improved. By what criteria are you judging this and what rights and qualifications have you got to make this statement. Is it by how many new steps he/she has learnt? Its subjective. Are you quite sure its not you that’s got the superiority complex.

    I have never ever said that steps were not part of the tango dance – how else do you move across the floor. What I said was, that some people think that the main purpose of tango is to be able to do complex sets well on the dancefloor. This impression is reinforced because the focus of most of the classes is learning sequences of steps. As far as traditional tango is concerned the steps are only important in so far as they allow you to express the emotional connection which is at the heart of the original dance. Ask any traditional milongeuro and he will tell you that he never thinks about steps but he dances from the heart.

  43. Mr Milonga
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 14:20:01

    Chris UK, Totty and David Bailey, I’ve read your comments with great interest.

    Regardless of their motives, the only responsibility a teacher has is to teach you to the best of their ability. Once the class is over that’s it. Move on.

    The same goes for the people who run milongas. Yes, it would make good business sense if they spent more time making sure their guests are having a good time, but just because you’ve paid to get in that is all you’ve paid for (hence the ‘brothel’ comment. It may not be ideal, but that’s the reality of it.

    David Bailey – thanks for the link. Very enlightening and reinforces your original point. All I have to say is judge me on the content of my comments, not by the alias of my name.

    Yes, I mentioned the stage at Negracha as the place most of the ‘tango elite’ congregate. There are also other people who find their way up there, but I think it is fair to say on a Friday night that’s where most of the perceived ‘tango elite’ hang out.

    It’s interesting that my suggestion to speak to the people who run milongas was met with the ‘this is a discussion area, we’re discussing…’ answer. One thing happens if you don’t speak up – nothing.

    Totty my friend who has been wasting her money with a well known joker is basically paying for a taxi dancer, who spends little or no time making sure that she does the simple things well. In fact she has admitted that the only reason she goes to these private classes is that there are not many good leaders in the London tango scene. Now my friend’s dance is as limited as her teacher’s and it is evident that it is not in his interest for her to get any better because if she did, the teacher would miss out on fleecing her.

    If she was getting better I would notice. Her balance should be much better, she often does her own thing regardless of how clear the lead is and her basics are not a reflection of the time she’s been dancing. I don’t blame the pupil I blame the teacher. I’ve seen many of the other people who have been taught by him over the years and they all plateau around the same level. She knows that her dance isn’t improving, but as she’s getting older maybe she’s afraid of change.

    Out of interest how many ‘traditional milongueros’ do you find hanging around Conway Hall or the Dome or Negracha to ask about the rights and wrongs of tango? For you information Totty good dancers don’t have to think about steps, the dance is instinctive and how much or little is done depends on the music, their interpretation of the music and the willingness of the follower to connect with the leader.

  44. Tango Totty
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 16:42:53

    Mr Milonga

    I am sorry to hear about your friend. Fortunately I do not know many people in that situation myself.

    But I suppose that for you, taking classes with the finest dancers in London, your basics and your lead must obviously be exemplary, and I can see how frustrating it must be for you.

    Perhaps you could tell us exactly what qualifies you to make this judgement on your friend, and her teacher. Have you had your balance tested ? How are your basics? Maybe you are a beginner or an intermediate dancer of only a few years. Maybe you really dont know what you are talking about.

  45. David Bailey
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 16:43:59

    “Regardless of their motives, the only responsibility a teacher has is to teach you to the best of their ability. Once the class is over that’s it. Move on.”

    – Well, that’s your opinion and I respect that. I disagree though; I think the teacher has a wider responsibility to guide their students as best they can.

    For example, I was at Negracha’s about a month ago; one of my students was sitting looking despondent through lack of dances. I recognised that look – God knows I’d sported it enough times earlier on. But I used my “authority” as his teacher to throw him at a couple of women and throw a couple of women at him (obviously asking them first!) . And once he’d got started, he was fine. A small amount of effort (2 mins) on my part changed his evening from being dire to being good. (Well, “good” by Neg’s standards!)

    That doesn’t make me a saint – it just means teachers can (and I think, should) occasionally help students, outside of the teaching environment. If a relative newbie like myself can do this, imagine how much more effective it’d be if someone like Ivan did it?

    As for the
    “It’s interesting that my suggestion to speak to the people who run milongas was met with the ‘this is a discussion area, we’re discussing…’ answer. One thing happens if you don’t speak up – nothing.”
    – Yes, good point. But frankly, my solution to this is to run my own venues the way I want to, rather than act as an unpaid consultant to other organisers. I have occasionally made some suggestions to some organisers, however.

  46. Mr Milonga
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 17:45:35

    Totty, do you know who I take classes with?

    I work really hard on my dance. I pay a lot of attention to my technique and making sure my lead is clear and confident. I am a very good leader, even my friend with the clown of a teacher keeps on telling me so. As good as my lead is I know it can be better, so if you like it’s a work in progress.

    What is frustrating for me is how someone with an aptitude and love for the dance throws her money away for arbitrary reasons which has little to do with dancing. As I said before she was a good dancer before going with the village idiot, so dancing with her is never a disaster, but we both know it could be a lot better.

    Totty why are you so hung up with my friend? Are you wasting your time with a comedian as a teacher?

    David Bailey as a teacher your pupils must appreciate your efforts beyond the call of duty. I understand that one of the pupils of one of the tango schools ran a ‘who is going out’ list encouraging fellow pupils to come out to dance so that there would always be a friendly face and willing partner around.

    Tango isn’t the friendliest environment, so I applaud any proactive action.

    If you’re running a venue you have a chance to influence how things are done in London – if that’s where you are. Speaking to other organisers shouldn’t be viewed as being an unpaid consultant, especially if in the long run milongas in London were to get their act together. It’s a shame that in what is arguably the most cosmopolitan city in the world we have a woefully bad tango scene compared to most major European cities.

  47. Chris, UK
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 18:13:32

    > the only responsibility a teacher has is
    > to teach you to the best of their ability.

    That responsibility is one most class teachers hereabouts have no problem discharging, given the paucity of their ability.

    But they have a responsibility that is much more important – to not deceive you into believing their ability is sufficient.

    This they find much harder to discharge, because they are themselves products of deception by their own class teachers.

    This is one reason why class teaching is such a vicious circle. I recommend beginners trust only a class teacher that has not himself learned from a class teacher. But sadly there are almost none left teaching.

  48. Chris, UK
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 18:19:52

    > especially if in the long run milongas in
    > London were to get their act together.
    > It’s a shame that in what is arguably the
    > most cosmopolitan city in the world we
    > have a woefully bad tango scene compared
    > to most major European cities.

    London milongas /have/ got their act together – just that it is a very different act to other cities’. All London milongas run high-earning classes – compare with e.g. Berlin, where almost none run classes at all.

  49. Mr Milonga
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 20:27:56

    The milongas might have their act together as businesses, but not as a satisfying experience. Berlin milongas might not run classes, but the standard of dancing in much higher.

  50. Chris, UK
    Jul 07, 2010 @ 21:46:43

    > Berlin milongas might not run classes, but
    > the standard of dancing in much higher.

    What’s with the “but”?? The fact dancers there take few classes is what’s mainly responsible for the high standard.

  51. Mr Milonga
    Jul 08, 2010 @ 11:37:02

    I have to disagree with you Chris. Dancers around Europe take classes, they just don’t do them at milongas.

    Most of Europe approaches dance tuition almost like an academic course, where pupils enroll for a set period of time to learn a subject – e.g Argentine Tango. Yes, there are instances of classes where you can drop in, but on the whole they encourage a system where dancers are encouraged commit to a course.

    The great thing about this approach is that the teacher can make sure that the right people are in the right classes and a proper curriculum can be followed. The teacher then has the opportunity to work more intensely with each pupil, so that once the pupil has finished the course they can properly execute the elements of the dance covered during that term.

    Tango is too difficult a dance to expect anyone to only do a few lessons, then to be thrown into a milonga and be expected to dance well.

    I’ve danced with too many women who have done a few classes to learn the basics, to then expect a good lead to do the rest. Even though many of those women get by, none of them are what you could really deem as being good dancers.

  52. Chris, UK
    Jul 08, 2010 @ 16:12:34

    > I have to disagree with you Chris. Dancers around Europe take
    > classes, they just don’t do them at milongas.

    I was talking about dancers /at/ /milongas/ and very few of them take classes. Sure, the class-goers /in/ /dance/ /schools/ take many… and rarely visit milongas.

    > Tango is too difficult a dance to expect
    > anyone to only do a few lessons

    Actually for anyone who gets it, tango is too easy for beginners classes to do anything but make it difficult. That is why the vast majority of all who have ever learned to dance tango have done so with no classes at all.

    For many who find real tango dancing difficult, classes are not the solution – they are the cause.

    > I’ve danced with too many women who have done a few classes to
    > learn the basics, to then expect a good lead to do the rest.

    I have danced with way too few! Send them on! 🙂

  53. David Bailey
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 08:34:22

    @Mr Milonga:
    “Most of Europe approaches dance tuition almost like an academic course, where pupils enroll for a set period of time to learn a subject – e.g Argentine Tango. Yes, there are instances of classes where you can drop in, but on the whole they encourage a system where dancers are encouraged commit to a course.”
    – Interesting. Whereas, in the UK, it seems that drop-in classes are more normal.

    I wonder if this is a legacy of the fact that most AT dancers in the UK are used to the drop-in arrangements of the Modern Jive / Salsa scene, rather than this course-based structure?

  54. Arlene
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 12:33:32

    @ David,
    I was hedging my bets against an argument! 😉
    Also, I prefer drop in classes for dancing as there are times I can’t make that commitment to a course. It is different if I am getting a certificate or qualification from it. People have busy and complicated lives sometimes that requires them to be more flexible. If you have to commit to something and find you don’t like it, you don’t always get your money back. Also, with dance, people progress at different rates. How can one honestly offer a development course of dance?

  55. Chris, UK
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 13:03:47

    > … on the whole they encourage a system where
    > dancers are encouraged commit to a course.

    Agreed. This is a sign of a sign of the intensifying commercialisation of tango dance learning and is becoming common in the UK too.

    E.g. in my home scene Cambridge, we have a dance school that now runs beginners course requiring the student to commit and pre-pay for six (yes six!) hours of classes a week. The organiser thereby manages to lock up most of the dance time and money of beginners who might otherwise sample competing teachers or local milongas from other organisers. Or just take time out to rest and practice. This leaves no hope of a student being able to progress at their own, different pace. No surprise that these courses have an appaling post-completion drop-out rate – around 90%. Such intense lock-in courses put off many more potential tango dancers than they bring in.

    Thankfully, we also have teachers running more leisurely courses of 1.5hrs a week and no-committment drop-in classes.

    Plus over half of our milongas are now class-free, providing the essential no-pressure environment for newcomers to get their first taste of tango without teacher interference. On this score Cambridge I beleive ranks 3rd in the world after BsAs and Berlin. I really hope other tango scenes will follow this lead.

  56. David Bailey
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 13:09:46

    @Arlene:
    Yes, that’s the tricky part of the process; getting people to sign-up for a course. On the other hand, if you can get that, it allows teachers to develop themes, one from the other, to monitor progress of students from week to week, and to take it at the right pace.

    Let’s face it, you wouldn’t learn most things “drop-in style”, most training is necessarily linear. So why should Tango be any different?

  57. Arlene
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 13:59:25

    @ David,
    Well, that’s how I learned Tango. The teachers I went to did a class and then had a milonga after, so we had a chance to practice. I got bored with just going to a class as I wasn’t dancing, so I stopped going to people where they just did a class. I couldn’t or wouldn’t commit to a series of lessons.

    I may not be the greatest dancer, but I can dance and have a feeling for the music which shows in my dance. I learned a bit of technique in classes, but I learned how to dance on the dance floor. I am still learning.

    It is the same with me for Salsa and Ceroc, Jive, LeRoc, whatever. I did a few classes to get a feel for the movement, but I really learned when I danced. I have danced with good leaders (and some not so great). My good leaders have been very kind to me and helped me to be a better dancer.

    My most challenging dance at the moment is belly dancing. I am completely and utterly responsible for my improvement and my dance. The only person who can really help me is the teacher. I must learn proper technique from her, the rest is up to me as there is no leader to dance with, as I am my own leader. Once I can get to grips with that, then I will be truly free to express myself in my own way to the music. Until then, I plod along and try and remember what I am supposed to do! 🙂

  58. Chris, UK
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 14:04:15

    Its interesting that the only people one hears talking about “the right pace” for a class are teachers.

    There is no “the right pace” for a class of varied students. The right pace for each one is dependent on his/her individual ability. That’s one reason why one-to-one lessons are so much more effective for learning.

    > Let’s face it, you wouldn’t learn most things “drop-in style”

    Wrong. Most things in life ARE learned drop-in style. Without teachers, too.

  59. Mr Milonga
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 16:25:52

    I can see the positives and negatives for doing drop-in classes against committing to a course.

    I appreciate pupils learn at their own speed etc and especially in London there are so many other distractions that for many people it is not a viable option to stick with a course.

    I like drop-in classes, but that’s partly because I am good at sticking at things and I don’t have to find a lump-sum of money to fund a whole course. The problem I find is the transient nature of drop-in classes means that the disparity of levels in a single class is more pronounced. Some people will turn up twice in two months, some six times, others three… Of course people learn at different speeds, but just because you’re able to do something in a class it doesn’t necessarily mean you actually know how to do it. Classes are artificial arenas. To take something you’ve been practicing in a class onto a dancefloor isn’t usually an instant thing. It’s repetition and practice that makes something second nature which can then be introduced confidently onto the dancefloor.

    I think the concept of enrolling on a course is in the long run a much better idea than the drop-in model. The reason I believe this is there are too many people who can ‘sort of’ or ‘half do’ or ‘knows the theory’. If you attended a course with definite curriculum, then the theory is the whole group would complete the course with those skills. I spoke to a friend of mine in Germany who said that a typical course there lasts four weeks. It’s only when you’ve completed that particular course that they’ll let you go up to the next level. I asked her how many levels there are and she said ‘loads’!

    This more structured approach is definitely working. As the courses are bite-sized no one is locked into a situation where the class lasts an eternity and if the teaching is good then you’ll have a stream of dancers with sound fundamentals.

    No one yet mentioned practicas. Practicas are only useful if you know what you’re doing – or at least what you’re supposed to do. The practicas I’ve attended have been useful because I and the person I attend with have proper objectives. We never turn up just to dance, but to work on some of those things we know needs work.

    The best practicas are the ones attended by teachers who know what they’re talking about. I once went to one where the teacher wasn’t sure how many steps make up a full giro. These are the practicas to avoid.

    Arlene, I notice you’ve said you learnt a lot on the dance floor. Do you think you’ve actually learnt anything or just solidified whatever it is you had picked up in the classes you attended? It appears you’re happy with the level of your dance, so my second question to you is this: If you wanted to improve markedly, how would you go about achieving this improvement?

  60. Arlene
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 17:09:36

    @ Mr Milonga
    ‘If you wanted to improve markedly, how would you go about achieving this improvement?’
    I would dance more, but then who says I need to improve markedly. I think I dance well, and so do the people I dance with. I enjoy my dance. If my dance has improved recently, it is because I have been advised to relax parts of my body. That happened in a beginner’s class.
    Generally, I am with Chris on this topic. It worked for him and it works for me. BTW, I have danced with Chris and he is a very nice dancer.
    I may not be dancing much Tango at the moment, but I am still dancing, so I think the fact that I am still moving helps with my Tango from getting stale. After all, the way I like to dance is a no brainer really. I don’t do tricks. I walk forward, backward and to the side with the occasional ocho or giro. What is so difficult about that? What technique do I really need apart from relaxing my feet and having good posture and a lovely embrace? I listen to Tango music all of the time, so there is no chance of me forgetting the music.

  61. Chris, UK
    Jul 10, 2010 @ 02:36:53

    > If you attended a course with definite curriculum then the theory
    > is the whole group would complete the course with those skills.

    In my experience this “one size fits all” theory just does not work for learning to dance tango.

    > Practicas are only useful if you know what you’re doing –
    > or at least what you’re supposed to do.

    You seem to consider a practica as somewhere where you practice what a teacher has told you you are supposed to do. That’s not what a traditional practica was. It was a place where you learn to dance by dancing, and still is for many today.

    > The best practicas are the ones attended by teachers who
    > know what they’re talking about.

    There are no teachers in a traditional practica. Students seeking teachers should got to lessons instead.

  62. Chris, UK
    Jul 10, 2010 @ 02:52:54

    Arlene wrote:

    > What technique do I really need apart from
    > relaxing my feet and having good posture and
    > a lovely embrace?

    None at all.

  63. Tango Totty
    Jul 10, 2010 @ 13:47:58

    @ Arlene and Chris uk

    I do not believe with technique for technique’s sake, ie to look good on the dance floor. But I am really not sure why you think you do not need some technique for the walk, the ochos and the giro. There is a definate technique for doing these moves, otherwise you are just following without any proper control over your movement which can actually inhibit the lead and the connection. If you cant execute the giro properly for example you can easily lose the connection with your partner or he may have to change what he intended to do next. Both of these can interfere with the flow of the dance.

    Also Chris I agree with you that a general class, drop in or otherwise is definately not how you learn to dance, for a follower anyway. But in London there simply are not enough good leaders currently available for all followers to learn to dance by the traditional method.
    The alternative may be private tuition with a good dancer, but not everyone can afford this. What do you suggest for London followers then?

  64. Tango Totty
    Jul 10, 2010 @ 15:07:26

    @ Mr Milonga

    I agree with you that some sort of structured course is much better than drop in classes. However I still think it has serious limitations. As Chris UK says in dancing because of people’s varying dancing abilities you cant really have a one size fits all attitude. People need a personal programme of tuition to fix and improve things that are peculiar to them. In a group class the teacher simply does not have the time to analyse and correct every dancers individual requirements. Also although the teachers show the movements you cant get the proper feel when you are dancing with other people in the class who cannot do the movement properly. Effectively its a waste of time for a lot of people because its the blind leading the blind. Thats why a lot of followers drop out.

    For a follower, in particular I really think that these group classes really dont work.

    Really the only way to significantly improve your dance is to dance regularly with a good partner who will give you individual mentoring or tuition – suitable to your own requirements. You also need to dance regularly with other good dancers, which in London unfortunately there is a lack of. Herein lies the main stumbling block.

    By the way I have danced in Berlin a couple of years ago. I really dont think its all that its cracked up to be. Granted the standard of the dance maybe generally higher, but its definately not like dancing in BsAs – there may be better movement, but theres not much soul.

  65. Mr Milonga
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 00:01:29

    Totty, I agree with you regarding the need for technique. Embrace, posture and relaxed feet might be a good start, but that doesn’t take into account knowing where or how to place the feet or being able to isolate the upper body from the lower body, which is an important technique to learn.

    Arlene, I asked in a previous post what you would do to improve your dance. Judging by the tone of your answer “who says I need to improve markedly. I think I dance well, and so do the people I dance with” It appears as if you have read my post as a veiled personal attack on your dance, which it sincerely wasn’t. What I was actually trying to do is find out your opinion to what advice you would give followers if they wanted to make big improvements with their dance. You did say in your earlier answer that you would dance more, but is this really enough?

    Even though Berlin might not have been all that it is cracked up to be, you also say the standard is higher. They’re obviously doing something right out there, even though it’s not perfect. So what can we learn from them?

    One other thing I’d like you expand on Totty is something both you and Arlene has mentioned. Followers (I presume you’re a follower) appear to believe that their best way to improve is to dance with good leaders. So at the very least you’re expecting a good leader to help the follower improve. Why would any good leader want to dance beneath their level? Followers appear to be firm believers in this, but they’re not as eager to help a novice leader improve. Double standards no?

    What you’re basically saying to all the followers out there is if you want to get better abandon group classes for private tuition. This may be the best (and expensive) way forward, but how are leaders supposed to improve?

    One other thing Totty I’d like to ask you is can the connection which you’ve mentioned a number of times be taught. For that matter can musicality be taught? And if so, who teaches it?

  66. Mr Milonga
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 00:04:30

    Arlene I’ve just read the post I’ve just put up. The third paragraph re: Berlin is aimed at Tango Totty, not you. I forgot to address Totty when writing the post.

  67. Chris, UK
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 01:21:48

    > But I am really not sure why you think you do not need
    > some technique for the walk, the ochos and the giro.

    To my recollection neither Arlene or I suggested such a thing. I said only that /instruction/ is not essential for technique. Dancing tango makes use of the natural technique of walking and embrace (which is not to say everyone has it – many are embrace-averse) within the feeling for the music (and certainly many don’t have that). To start, that’s all you need. If you dance well with that, you develop the refined technique needed for e.g. giros.

    There are many reasons instruction is needed by so many UK class-goers but they all come from tango classes not from tango dancing itself.

    > There is a definate technique for doing these moves,
    > otherwise you are just following without any proper control
    > over your movement

    That’s an artifact of classes, where you are doing a step because the teacher told you to. In real dancing. you do the steps you both feel and this naturally excludes those either does not feel due to the bodies not yet having the physical freedom they require. I recall well an occasion when a recent-starter girl said “Wow. Those were the best dances I ever had – you didn’t try to do those eight things on me.” We did only what her body felt it wanted.

    Remaining inside that manifold, or envelope, is what allowes one to dance ones best. Dancing well inside the envelope is what expands the envelope – what makes ones best better.

    Contrast this with the typical class teacher’s model of dance development, which attempts to build ability by stacking steps/moves/techniques outside the envelope. The result is no longer an envelope. It has no integrity – the dance doens’t work as a whole and all that’s available is a set of isolated steps to be strung together in sequences. That’s dancing steps – not dancing tango.

    > you can easily lose the connection with your partner
    > or he may have to change what he intended to do next.

    I have no fixed intention of what to do next. “Next” is again just an artifact of class-based dancing – specifically of of teacher-directed sequences. When there is no teacher to tell you want you must do next, the problem doesn’t exist. In each moment, you do what you feel. “Improvisation”.

    > But in London there simply are not enough good leaders
    > currently available for all followers to learn to dance by
    > the traditional method.

    There are not enough good leaders who will dance with CLASSGOER followers, sure. With good reason. I find most such followers are just horrible to dance with. For one thing, they are so programmed with steps and sequences that dancing with them is like taking a stroll in the park… on rails. It is a challenge just to keep them from hitting other couples. I can forget any chance of a dance that’s a conversation about the music.

    > Really the only way to significantly improve your dance is to dance regularly with a good partner

    Agreed 100%.

    > who will give you individual mentoring or tuition

    Disagreed 100%.

    > The alternative may be private tuition with a good dancer, but not everyone can afford this. What do you suggest for London followers then?

    Dancing with a good partner, and if you have to pay to get one, fine. Everyone who can afford to spend money on classes that don’t work can afford privates. The cost of success from the traditional method is far less than from classes. And not just in money.

  68. Arlene
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 08:44:39

    @ Mr Milonga,
    I answered your question in the present moment.

    [“What I was actually trying to do is find out your opinion to what advice you would give followers if they wanted to make big improvements with their dance. You did say in your earlier answer that you would dance more, but is this really enough?”]

    Yes. I have been to beginners’ and intermediate courses and a couple of private lessons. I stopped going to regular classes after 6 months. I started with classes during the week and then I went to classes before a milonga to meet people to dance with and to try and learn something. There were fewer teachers then. The consensus and advice from people more experienced than me has been to dance a lot and to be selective with my dance partners and try to dance with people better than me. I was dancing 5 nights a week for 3 years. At first I didn’t dance much in the milongas, but then I started dancing a lot. I would tell people that I was a beginner. It didn’t seem to bother them. The best leaders kept the dancing simple to start with and gradually added elements (I find this is so with any dance form). I know many good followers who have learned to dance in the same way. I also watched other dancers and learned from looking. Every man dances differently, so it is important to pay attention to your dance partner. I do dance with beginners, but only if I see that they have some musicality. In my view, the good beginners and the very advanced dancers dance in a similar way, except that the experienced ones that I like to dance with are more confident and have more knowledge of the music.

    Totty,
    Yes, there is a method of doing an ocho or giro that must be taught, but in the end, how it is done is up to the individual. BTW, most leaders don’t even know how to lead a giro effectively. It is the one Tango move that actually must be learned because it involves a sequence of steps. The only actual sequence in Tango and I believe it was developed by Mingo Pugliese (so I was told when he taught a class at The Welsh Center when it was run by the people who are now Carablanca).

    I have never argued the fact that people need to know the basics of Tango, but really!, how much do you need to know once you have that covered? You call it technique, I call it method, whatever, it is the same thing. Style is something else entirely, but since I have no ambitions to be a show dancer, I have no interest in learning different ways of doing things with my feet in the pauses or doing little crossovers with my feet when walking backwards. I am not on the dancefloor to entertain people.

  69. Tango Totty
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 16:42:22

    @ Arlene

    I think you and Chris are both confusing what is necessary to have an enjoyable dance on the dancefloor with what is required for serious improvement in your own level – as a seriously skilled social dancer (not a show dancer). Yes of course it is possible to have a perfectly enjoyable dance on the dancefloor knowing nothing more than the basics and some limited technique. But if you are a serious and ambitious student of the social dance who wants to improve, I would argue that technique is one of the most important tools. This is not because you want to become a show dancer, but because the better your technique is, the more control you have over the movement and the better you can respond to your partner and the music. Arlene you seem to be taking the minimalist approach. If you cant do the giro properly, then how can you respond properly to your partner if that’s what he leads. What if you dance with a leader who can lead it well ? If you cant do it properly you may break the flow of the dance and the connection.
    You also that “ I have never argued the fact that people need to know the basics of Tango, but really!, how much do you need to know once you have that covered?”
    The answer is nothing if you only want to be a basic dancer. If people don’t know the correct technique for the ochos or the giros then it doesn’t matter how many good dancers you dance with, your bad habits will just become more and more ingrained.

    Similarly I think that the decorations that you are referring to while pausing or walking backwards are not meant purely for show, but they are extra tools which you can draw on to help you in your own expression of the music. How you choose to use them or indeed whether you actually do use them or not for that particular pause is down to your own interpretation. I think also that many good dancers would find that being able to add decorations properly and in the music can also really help to improve their overall balance and timing.

  70. Tango Totty
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 16:58:17

    Chris UK

    While I agree with some of your comments, I am sorry but I really do not know what tango planet you are on. Yes tango itself did not come from people inventing steps in dance classes. Its origin and core began in the dancehalls and streets of BsAs. But it didn’t just develop any old how did it – with people just dancing what they felt. The dance itself, has specific movements and the techniques – which are not just “artefacts of classes” as you put it but that have evolved over 100 years from the special set conditions that existed in BsAs – the crowded dancefloors and the music. These movements that have evolved cannot be just transposed automatically over here. Most people will need to be told or shown what to do. Granted some people may only need a little tuition but some people may need a lot – as you say yourself – theres no one size fits all because everyone is different and has different requirements. Surely its just common sense that some form of instruction is necessary for most people even if its not class based. Tango is not meant to be a free-for-all response to the music. It is well known as a controlled and disciplined dance. Its the technique that gives the control and precision to the movements. This is not for show purposes but to give a more accurate expression of the music and response to the partner. The better your technique the better your response and the better your connection which is the whole point.

  71. Tango Totty
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 17:15:39

    Mr Milonga

    No I do not believe that the connection can be taught. The connection is based on an emotional response and it largely depends upon whether you have a passion or a feeling for the music or not. For me I can have a connection with someone who doesn’t dance particularly well, but you can feel that they passionately love the music. But if someone can dance really well but doesnt really feel the music, you can have an enjoyable dance but for me its not a real connection. Obviously the best is when they can dance well and love the music – that’s a real real connection!!!!

  72. Tango Totty
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 17:17:50

    Also a good embrace is necessary for the connection because if you dance with someone who loves the music but has a poor embrace it can kill the connection.

  73. Mr Milonga
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 18:28:46

    Tango Totty, I’ve read your comments to Arlene and Chris UK and I agree with you 100%.

    If you want to be a seriously good social dancer it is important to pay attention to technique. Too many are satisfied with just ‘getting by’. Even though not everyone has the drive or ability to dance at the highest level, it does not mean that they should not try to be the best dancer they can.

    When you look at any other social art form self-improvement is part and parcel of the culture. Ballet classes are full of professionals and novices alike. They all respect the craft in itself without having to feel as if they have then step onto a stage.

    I am continually disappointed when I read and hear tango dancers turn their noses up at elements of the dance, such as embellishments. As Totty pointed out, they are nothing more than tools. I would suggest that all those little things are part of a greater vocabulary. If you have a limited vocabulary you will be able to converse, but not to any great depth. If you have a wide vocabulary, I would argue that any conversation you have with someone with as wide a vocabulary will be much more fulfilling.

  74. Tango Totty
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 18:36:04

    Mr Milonga

    My point about Berlin was that although the standard of dance was generally better, maybe as a result of a more systematic teaching method, they were basically just better at doing the steps well. You never really felt the same passion about the music like you do when you dance in BsAs. The dances were better executed but still quite cold.

    So long as a follower has good general movement and you keep the dance simple, surely a good leader should be able to dance with dancer of any level and have an enjoyable dance – even if this is only walking around the floor. But obviously this is only so long as the main focus of your dance is the music and the connection and not whether they can follow complex steps or not.

    As far as followers helping novice leaders is concerned I can only speak from my own experience. I have danced with many novice leaders both on the dance floor and in lessons to help them improve. In milongas so long as I get to dance with a range of dancers from the very good to the beginner, I’m happy and think thats the true spirit of the social dance. I think I would only be pissed off if I had to dance with beginners all night.

    I also think that leaders should abandon classes as well and follow a similar model to the one set out by Chris UK ie to genuinely love the music, find a good leader who will teach you to be able to do the basics really well, bribe a good follower to go with you to the lessons, attend practicas with a regular partner to practise and go to the milongas and dance with a spectrum of dancers including those better than you and some beginners.

  75. Tango Totty
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 18:41:41

    PS I meant go to one-to-one tuition with a good leader so he is specifically focusing on your needs.

  76. Tango Totty
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 19:26:54

    Mr Milonga

    To me there are 3 things involved in the musicality:

    1.Timing and the ability to follow the beat
    2.How you choose to express the music through the dance
    3.Whether you can feel the music or not

    For some people good rythmn and timing comes naturally, but I still think to some extent it can be taught and encouraged if it is pointed out and then practised.

    I also believe that to a certain extent your ability to express the music through the dance can be taught eg by showing how different movements fit into different patterns of music.

    I think its much more difficult to teach the feeling for the music because this its an instinctive and sensuous response to the music which comes from the heart

  77. Tango Totty
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 23:00:18

    Mr Milonga

    I totally agree with you that dancers should try to aim to fulfil their potential. Not only does it help to improve the overall standard of the dance but also shows respect for the tradition of the craft . “The life so short, the craft so long to learn”. Improving your technique is nothing to do with learning to be a show dancer. Essentially its about communication. If people are too lazy to learn they are just limiting their ability to express themselves in the dance. If your vocabulary is only basic you cant communicate as efficiently and accurately as you can with a large one.

  78. Mr Milonga
    Jul 11, 2010 @ 23:19:17

    Totty, it’s interesting that the Germans danced better, but were cold. I’ve danced with Germans in London and I’ve found that they’re much more comfortable dancing in an open embrace and they don’t appear to want to engage. I don’t know why this is, possibly it is cultural.

    To be honest Totty I would rather a good cold dance, than a bad dance with a connection. I’m possibly in the minority in my views on this, but above all else I have to enjoy the dance first and if there’s a connection that’s a bonus.

    I do think you and Chris are delusional. Abandon classes to be a more experienced dancers’ pet project? What a ridiculously selfish and misguided approach. When you consider how many bad leaders there are out there, I guarantee that many novices taking your advice will find themselves being helped along by some really rank dancers, which will mean they will ultimately develop bad habits.

    To compound it most followers have no idea how difficult it is to lead. Can you lead Totty? Could you lead an ocho or a giro properly? If you’re helping out a leader and you don’t know how something should be led, you’re as much use as a chocolate teapot. A good leader will know what a follower is doing or has to do to in order to execute what is being led. Also Totty where are these good leaders who will happily help a novice leader and his follower friend?

    Regarding who you dance with during an evening it is of course entirely up to you. Every dancer has a right to dance with whoever they like. You’ve mentioned the true spirit of a social dance, but there isn’t really such a thing. Depending on the dance form there are conventions, but in tango there isn’t an identifiable ‘social spirit’ or collective utopian code which is collectively adhered to.

    Some followers take great joy in refusing dances with leaders they don’t deem to be good enough, or they don’t like the look of – or they might have some other arbitrary reason for refusing a dance. How does that work in your ‘social code’?

    Totty, if someone isn’t musical I don’t think you can’t teach them to be. You can point them in the right direction and try and get them to understand what musicality is and what they should be trying to achieve, but if it isn’t in their body there is nothing you can do. Unlike more rhythm based dances, you don’t have to be musically blessed to go to a milonga to dance. In fact, you might as well not play any music because most people don’t listen to the music anyway. I challenge anyone who reads this to spend ten minutes watching the dancers in any of the milongas around the country to see how many people actually dances to the music. Not very many.

    I think many of the attitudes argued in this thread to classes – or the lack of, poor teaching, ‘why do I need more than minimal technique’ etc is a big reason why tango in London is poor. I honesty try hard to dance to the best of my ability whoever I dance with. I also spend a lot of time working at getting better away from a milonga, not because I have ambitions to be a show dancer, nothing could be further from the truth, but I try to improve out of respect for anyone I may dance with regardless of their ability.

    It appears I am in the minority and I’m the kind of dancer despised if I’m to take this thread to heart. I regularly go to group classes, I can lead a wide range of ‘steps’, where and how I place my feet is important to me, as is how my partner places her feet. I dislike tango music, but it doesn’t get in the way of leading well as my musicality is very, very good. And just in case you’re wondering Totty I have the feeling and I share it out liberally with every woman who dances with me. If you can truly dance to the point where it becomes instinctive, it really isn’t that difficult.

  79. Chris, UK
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 01:21:52

    > Yes, there is a method of doing an
    > ocho or giro that must be taught

    The class-style ocho and giro must be taught (if one must learn them) to the girl, because they are being done by guys that cannot lead them. But the very different traditional ocho and giro can be and are learned naturally.

    Here’s an interesting article about the teaching of the two forms: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/tango-uk/message/3850 .

    I don’t believe there are any trad moves that can be learned only through teaching. How could there be? The trad dance developed in a teacher-free environment.

  80. Chris, UK
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 01:35:17

    Totty

    > If you cant do the giro properly, then how can you
    > respond properly to your partner if that’s what he leads.

    Er, if he leads a move you can’t do, then he’s a poor leader, so why are you dancing with him???

    > it didn’t just develop any old how did it – with people
    > just dancing what they felt.

    Yes Totty that’s exactly how it developed. Just like every other folk dance.

    > The dance itself, has specific movements and the techniques…

    Which come not from teachers, but from the music and the embrace.

  81. Tango Totty
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 09:56:22

    Mr Milonga

    I genuinely believe that the only way you can really learn is by having private tuition with a good teacher or mentor who can personalise the teaching to your specific requirements and needs. This is for the leaders and the followers. If you are a novice leader it would make perfect sense to me to learn on a one to one basis from a private teacher who is a recognised good leader – not just anyone off the street. It would also make sense to dance in the lesson with a good follower, not so that she can tell you what to do as that would be the teachers role, but so that you could focus fully on developing your lead while not having to worry about her own mistakes.
    To become a good follower, I also think that you need to dance with a RECOGNISED good leader/teacher who can correct your mistakes when you are dancing. In other words pay for private lessons. Group lessons are a complete waste of time for followers – you are just handing out £10 to £12 for an hour to be a guinea pig for the leaders to learn to lead – if they could do it why would they be there – as I have said before its the blind leading the blind a lot of the time unless you actually go to a class with a good partner that you know.

  82. Mr Milonga
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 10:17:23

    “Er, if he leads a move you can’t do, then he’s a poor leader, so why are you dancing with him???”

    – That’s absolute tosh. If a follower can’t follow it’s the leader’s fault? You really don’t know what you’re talking about, do you Chris?

    Just out of interest Chris do you know what came first – The music or the dance?

  83. Mr Milonga
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 13:45:31

    Totty,

    I’ve just read your post, which I find misguided at best. From what you’ve written am I to understand that through private tuition you’re a phenomenal dancer?

    Who are the RECOGNISED good leaders/mentors you would happily recommend then?

  84. Tango Totty
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 14:46:16

    Mr Milonga

    About the Connection –
    “above all else I have to enjoy the dance first and if there’s a connection that’s a bonus” – this is because for you tango is about being able to dance steps well to the music. It is not about the connection with the music itself and the partner.

    About Social Dancing
    Yes I agree this is just my vision about what social dancing should ideally be about – being prepared to dance with a range of dancers including the best and the worst. Im not saying this works in London because here the whole thing is underwritten by competitive behaviour and elitism which precludes this. But I would think that this is the ideal and would be helpful to a lot of dancers to bring them on.

    About the Musicality
    Some people have an innate aptitude for the musicality. That does not mean that some aspects of it can not be taught. I have already said that it would be extremely difficult to
    teach musical feeling. For example I think that certain exercises can be done to teach people how to dance to the beat itself. But its like achieving a skill in anything else – it requires some hard work and dedication.

  85. Tango Totty
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 14:49:38

    Chris

    I have read the article. Theres just one problem – where are all these leaders from the Golden Age of Tango – there arent even many in BsAs left apparently. All we can deal with is whats presented to us in London – ie to dance with leaders who have been taught to dance by these teachers. So whats your solution?

  86. Chris, UK
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 16:26:14

    > If a follower can’t follow it’s the leader’s fault?

    Yes, if the guy leads a move his girl cannot do, then it is HIS fault.

    > You really don’t know what you’re talking about, do you Chris?

    I hear that a lot from class-taught guys. In the real world, Mr Milonga, the guy is out to give the girl a good time. It is obvious to him he can better succeed by doing the moves she can do instead of ones she cannot.

    For a class-handcapped guy, this is just about the easiest way he can improve his dance – but since it means doing less rather than more (of the steps he’s paid dear to acquire), it does first require him to break some heavy conditioning.

    > most followers have no idea how difficult it is to lead.

    Probably because it isn’t. Which they know, having felt so many good leaders for which it is easy.

    All the guys I know who think leading is hard are ones who tried to learn without following – class guys struggling to speak a language they have never heard. And sure, that makes leading very difficult indeed.

    > Why would any good leader want to dance beneath their level?

    That’s like asking why a good conversationalist would want to converse “below their level”. Or a good kisser would want to kiss “below their level”.

    I.e. rather sick.

    It is a social activity, for goodness sake. You dance with those to whom you want to enjoy giving enjoyment. This perverted idea of exclusion based on level is another artifact of classes. Only class teachers segregate students by level. That’s because it is good for business. Not for dancing.

    > I dislike tango music

    Aha. That’s something it would have been good to mention earlier.

    Fundamental to dancing tango is the sharing of ones enjoyment of tango with others. If someone has no enjoyment of tango to share, I suggest he/she would be far better off instead dancing some music that they do enjoy.

  87. Tango Totty
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 16:37:34

    Having private classes wouldn’t turn anyone into a phenomenal dancer unless they had the potential. Just a better dancer than if they had just gone to group classes.

  88. The Voice of reason
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 19:50:02

    Mr Milonga and totty
    It is refreshing to have such honesty and sincerity expressed on these pages. Usually its just tangobabble. I feel you are slugging it out for the right to be right. Perhaps you can just agree to disagree on some points.

    Chris
    I often wonder who people are and I think I know who you are, if you did the DJ at Conway hall on Friday. If thats not you then its another Chris.

    You said >>Yes Totty that’s exactly how it developed. Just like every other folk dance.

    I think we can talk all we like about the origins of Tango and how it developed. However, the fact is that there are various opinions even on that. If your comparing it to a folk dance perhaps you mean something like the Chacarera which is more of a ho-down than tango. The fact is no one in London will learn unless they have the odd lesson, either from a teacher or a friend if they are so fortunate. I know for one I am always willing to give a beginner the benefit of my limited prowess. However, I would always reccomend a teacher though, even if they were happy dancing with me to learn a little.
    VOR

  89. Chris, UK
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 22:20:16

    > If your comparing it to a folk dance perhaps you mean something
    > like the Chacarera which is more of a ho-down than tango.

    No, I mean what’s generally meant by folk dance, e.g. wikipedia:

    The term folk dance describes dances that share some or all of the following attributes:

    * They are dances performed at social functions by people with little or no professional training, often to traditional music or music based on traditional music.
    * They are not designed for public performance or the stage, although traditional folkdances may be later arranged and set for stage performances.
    * Their execution is dominated by an inherited tradition rather than by innovation (although like all folk traditions they do evolve)
    * New dancers often learn informally by observing others and/or receiving help from others.

  90. Mr Milonga
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 22:21:59

    Chris if a follower can’t dance it’s her fault. If a leader can’t lead he’s no good to anyone. If a leader can lead and the follower can’t follow what you get is a tango community full of women who dance badly because they’ve been told if the dance isn’t working they shouldn’t take any responsibility and just blame the leader.

    Chris, If a lot of class-taught guys are telling you the same thing, the law of averages suggests that they might actually be right and you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Here’s another thing that might be news to you. It might be a cliché but it actually does take two to tango. When executed properly the dance should be a conversation between two people, not a monologue. If a guy leads a move a girl cannot do, it might just be because the girl is inexperienced or rubbish. It would also be stupid for a leader to continually lead things he knows a woman cannot follow. That’s why we have tandas of three, four or even five songs, so there is time for both the leader and follower to ascertain the parameters of the dance. That does not get away from the fact that there are still a lot of terrible followers who are no more than clumsy bluffers, and a scene full of pedestrian leaders.

    Chris, you don’t know who I am, so you can’t comment on how well I dance with any authority. You imply that group classes cannot produce good dancers, which is complete bullshit.

    Learning to lead is much more difficult to do than to follow. If leading was that easy the milongas in this country would be a much better. Sadly most followers haven’t felt ‘so many good leaders’ because the standard here is so poor.

    If you ask a conversationalist or kisser if they’d like to do anything below their level they would say ‘no, I’d rather not’. We are as flexible as the options presented to us. I often dance with people who are not on a comparable level to me, I have no problem with that, but given the choice I’d rather dance with people of the same or similar level.

    Liking tango music has nothing to do with being able to dance to it well. It’s not fundamental to share an enjoyment of the music to enjoy dancing with someone. Thanks for your suggestion, but by reading what you’ve written on this thread I’ll pass on your advice.

    Mr Reason, Totty and I disagree on many things and if you look through the thread you will see there are things we agree on. I’ve noticed that she’s said all I’m interested in is to dance steps well to the music and that I have no connection to my partner or music. And she knows this how?

    I notice that’s she has not recommended a teacher yet.

    The origins of tango are not important to the advancement of the scene here. Neither is what happens in Buenos Aries. If what I have read on this thread is anything to go by, Tango in the UK will continue to be of a poor standard for a long time to come.

  91. Chris, UK
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 23:48:13

    > Theres just one problem – where are all
    > these leaders from the Golden Age of Tango

    Mostly dead.

    > All we can deal with is whats presented to us in London
    > – ie to dance with leaders who have been taught to dance
    > by these teachers. So whats your solution?

    Hold out for the best.

  92. David Bailey
    Jul 13, 2010 @ 10:05:35

    Blimey, don’t you people have lives? 🙂

    @Chris: “Yes, if the guy leads a move his girl cannot do, then it is HIS fault. ”
    – mostly, yes. But it’s possible for a follower to be literally unleadable. For example, posture, especially in close embrace. If the follower is leaning back, the leader literally cannot lead her, because there’s no connection. But that’s hardly the leader’s fault, is it?

    But that caveat aside, yes, I think the “it’s always the leader’s fault” is a good meme to follow, if only because it should instill a sense of repsonsibility on the part of the leader.

    “It is a social activity, for goodness sake. You dance with those to whom you want to enjoy giving enjoyment. This perverted idea of exclusion based on level is another artifact of classes. Only class teachers segregate students by level. That’s because it is good for business. Not for dancing.”
    – Yep, I agree. All this “dance at your level” stuff is just rubbish. Dance with the people you want to dance with, and enjoy dancing with.

    (Although, Chris, frankly, if you stopped going on and on and on about How Evil Classes Are, it’d make your stuff more readable – just a suggestion. I know it’s your hobby-horse, but harping on about it all the time is simply making people skip past that stuff)

    @ Mr Milonga “I dislike tango music” – ?? Really? Why did you choose to spend so much effort learning to dance to music you dislike?

    @VOR: “If thats not you then its another Chris. ” – there’s loads of Chris-es in AT. I think it’s a Chris thing. 🙂

  93. David Bailey
    Jul 13, 2010 @ 10:10:32

    OK, a final couple of comments:

    @Mr Milonga:
    “Liking tango music has nothing to do with being able to dance to it well. It’s not fundamental to share an enjoyment of the music to enjoy dancing with someone.”
    – well, technically, no, but I’d imagine that it helps; if you can’t lose yourself in the music to an extent, it’s difficult to see how you can communicate enjoyment of the dance.

    Also:
    “The origins of tango are not important to the advancement of the scene here. Neither is what happens in Buenos Aries. ”
    – I think that’s a bit OTT. I’d say that the origins and BsAs situation are not _vital_ to the scene here, but neither are they totally irrelevant. Some is irrelevant, probably, but some is important.

  94. Chris, UK
    Jul 13, 2010 @ 12:22:30

    > Chris if a follower can’t dance it’s her fault.
    > If a guy leads a move a girl cannot do, it
    > might just be because the girl is inexperienced or rubbish.

    I believe in the UK the average ability of girls is MUCH higher than that of guys. And many of inexperienced/rubbish guys that blame girls just don’t see how well those girls dance in the arms of other guys. They probably would not be so rubbish if they did pay attention to this and asked those guys how they got so good.

    > It would also be stupid for a leader to continually lead things
    > he knows a woman cannot follow.

    It is indeed stupid. Despite which, class teachers have guys spend HOURS and HOURS leading things girls cannot follow. Those guys further stupid enough to believe this has taught them to dance tango then do the same in the milongas.

    > Sadly most followers haven’t felt ‘so many good leaders’
    > because the standard here is so poor.

    More because of the segregation that has those girls spending so much of their time with poor leaders. If they gave up beginners classes and instead went to the best milongas, they’d soon find the better leaders.

    > If you ask a conversationalist or kisser if they’d like to do anything below their level

    “Levels” of kissing??? Next you’ll be recommending kissing classes…

    > It’s not fundamental to share an enjoyment of the music to enjoy dancing with someone.

    Sure, as desomnstrated by many of the poorest dancers on the floors of London’s milongas. But I have never heard of a good tango dancer that does not love the music. The music is what powers the dance.

    > … are not important to the advancement of
    > the scene here. Neither is what happens in Buenos Aries.

    I think anyone who has experienced what happens in Buenos Aires would disagree.

  95. Tango Totty
    Jul 13, 2010 @ 13:41:43

    Mr Milonga

    I dont remember saying that you didnt have a connection. What I said was it seems you are more concerned about executing the steps in time to the music, than the connection with the partner or the music itself.

    You said “above all else I have to enjoy the dance first and if there’s a connection that’s a bonus” and you said later that dont like the music. I can only conclude from that for you the main interest in dancing tango seems to be in executing a wide variety of steps.

  96. Tango Totty
    Jul 13, 2010 @ 13:47:43

    HOw has the scene here advanced anything? Its gone backwards. Its much better in BsAs.

  97. Mr Milonga
    Jul 14, 2010 @ 10:48:44

    Chris wrote:

    >I believe in the UK the average ability of girls is MUCH higher than that of guys. And many of inexperienced/rubbish guys that blame girls just don’t see how well those girls dance in the arms of other guys. They probably would not be so rubbish if they did pay attention to this and asked those guys how they got so good.

    Chris, it doesn’t matter what the average ability is of girls compared to men. If a woman is a poor dancer, when a dance is going badly and it is obviously her fault, no one is going to take into account that women on balance dance better than men.

    >Despite which, class teachers have guys spend HOURS and HOURS leading things girls cannot follow. Those guys further stupid enough to believe this has taught them to dance tango then do the same in the milongas.

    This statement is typical of much of the rubbish you’ve posted about group classes. I have never witnessed this. Rather than make empty claims, f this is actually the case name the teachers who teach in this manner or shut-up.

    >More because of the segregation that has those girls spending so much of their time with poor leaders. If they gave up beginners classes and instead went to the best milongas, they’d soon find the better leaders.

    What segregation? One of the big problems in the milongas in this country is that there are too many leaders who can’t actually lead. A lot of ‘leaders’ man-handle women around a floor, but not enough actually lead. The on-the-job training model you stand by is ridiculous, as bad habits develop and everyone else in the milonga has to suffer. People get kicked week-in and week-out because of poor leading and poor following. The incidents and collisions would diminish greatly if the culprits actually knew how to dance.

    July 12th 4.26pm Chris wrote:
    That’s like asking why a good conversationalist would want to converse “below their level”. Or a good kisser would want to kiss “below their level”.

    July 13th 12.22pm Chris then wrote:
    “Levels” of kissing??? Next you’ll be recommending kissing classes…

    It was you Chris who brought up the concept of levels of conversation or kissing. You’re now arguing with yourself. Impressive.

    >But I have never heard of a good tango dancer that does not love the music. The music is what powers the dance.

    How many good tango dancers have you spoken to specifically about the music? You’re making a claim to something you presume. It might be a fair presumption to make, but it does not mean one size fits all.

    I’ve spoken to many people who have been to BsAs. Most of them have a positive experience, but not all. One thing they’ve all said is that the standard of dancing isn’t good across the board. As the birthplace of the dance it will always have cultural relevance, but the future of tango doesn’t necessarily rely on BsAs.

    July 12th 12.46 Tango Totty wrote:
    Mr Milonga – About the connection… this is because for you tango is about being able to dance steps well to the music. It is not about the connection with the music itself and the partner.

    At no point do you say ‘it seems’. You’ve just made your mind up and made an assumption about me without knowing who I am. Talk about what you know, your own dance and your quest for a connection.

    July 13th 1.41 Tango Totty wrote:

    (To Mr Milonga) …you said later that (you) dont like the music. I can only conclude from that for you the main interest in dancing tango seems to be in executing a wide variety of steps.

    Tango Totty it is very simple. I want to be the best dancer I can be. That does not equate to having an ambition to perform or be a show dancer, it means I want to dance as well as my body and ability will allow me to. Why you, Chris and everyone else who has commented on the fact that I don’t particularly like tango music can’t understand how someone cannot enjoy the music, but enjoy the dance says more about you than it does about me. I’ve heard people say they hate Michael Jackson’s music but they loved to see him dance. The principle is the same, you don’t have to enjoy the music to enjoy the dance. Get over it.

  98. Ghost
    Jul 14, 2010 @ 19:30:54

    Ok Chris, you’ve been repeatedly making the same basic point on a number of Forums and blogs about a more effective way of learning. And certainly in some cases I actually agree with parts of what you’re saying

    Could you please explain simply and clearly, ideally so that a child can understand, step by step the exact process by which _you_ learnt tango.

    Thanks

  99. Tango Totty
    Jul 14, 2010 @ 23:10:52

    If you dont like tango music on what basis can you judge who is a good tango teacher – how can you judge someone’s interpretation and expression of the music. If this was TV you would be watching in black and white while i am enjoying the full colour experience of a pioneer kuro plasma with all the gubbins. This is the difference between your tango and my tango. Step into the light Mr Milonga.

  100. Chris, UK
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 02:18:25

    > If a woman is a poor dancer, when a dance is going
    > badly and it is obviously her fault…

    My point is that I believe that far more frequently it is a case of inexperienced/rubbish partner whose inexperience both makes him the cause of the problem and makes him think the cause is the girl. Though also responsible for the latter are class teachers propagating the bonkers idea that guy and girl are equally responsible for the dance.

    > This statement is typical of much of the
    > rubbish you’ve posted about group classes.
    > I have never witnessed this.

    A good example is just every UK class that attempts to teach ochos to girls in the first or second lesson.

    > What segregation?

    Segregation of students who cannot (yet) dance from those that can. E.g these new-method beginners classes – almost entirely dancer-free zones. Trying to make in non-dancers into dancers through partnering with other NON-dancers is I believe just about the worst ever way to learn to dance tango. These classes exist only because they are a good way of separating newcomers from their money.

    > One of the big problems in the milongas
    > in this country is that there are too
    > many leaders who can’t actually lead.

    Agreed. And that stems directly from the fact that almost none did any learning by following. You cannot speak a language you have never heard.

    > The on-the-job training model you stand by is ridiculous

    The model I stand by is learn through dancing with dancers, and it has worked fine across the world for hundreds of years for every folk dance, not just tango dance.

    > How many good tango dancers have you spoken to specifically about the
    > music?

    Crikey. More than I could count.

    > you, Chris and everyone else who has commented on the fact that I
    > don’t particularly like tango music

    Actually what I commented on was the fact you DISLIKE tango music.

    > can’t understand how someone cannot enjoy the music, but enjoy the
    > dance

    It is true I cannot understand how you can enjoy a dance which forces to listen to music you dislike for hours every evening. I also cannot understand how, when you say you are good at communicating the feeling to your partner, you think you are succeeding in concealing that dislike from her.

    > the future of tango doesn’t necessarily rely on BsAs.

    I conclude from that you have never experienced the dancing of BsAs. Why not try it? Especially before continuing to accuse others of not knowing what they are talking about.

  101. David Bailey
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 09:27:08

    Chris, I understand your point (without agreeing with it), but I’d still like to hear how you, personally, got where you are, as Ghost has asked?

  102. The Voice of reason
    Jul 17, 2010 @ 03:31:00

    Dear all
    Getting a bit bored now. This goes on and on.
    >@VOR: “If thats not you then its another Chris. ” – there’s loads of Chris-es in AT. I think it’s a Chris thing.
    Yes Indeed Mr Bailey. This made me lol. Are they all the same person? This Chris had to go on wikipedia to find something to support his argument. Seems a bit suspect to me.
    Totty I like your kuro comment. I have a friend who is a very good dancer who also has a kuro strangely enough. From what I am told this is the dogs b****ks of TVs. Other people may disagree. What do you think Mr Milonga? Chris?
    David?
    The coincidences go on and on. First, all these Chris’s and now this. Spooky.
    VOR

  103. Mr Milonga
    Jul 17, 2010 @ 17:53:31

    Totty, you don’t have to be good at something to know if it is being done well. I know what musicality is and when someone is dancing to the music. It doesn’t matter if the music is tango, salsa, hip-hop etc.

    Your analogy about the Pioneer Kuro is interesting. That particular television has been hailed as the best domestic television ever made, that’s because it does everything well. My ambitions as a tango dancer reflects that, because if I dance and lead really well the person I dance with should benefit from the clear, vivid quality of my lead and it’s sensitive tone to an array of colours (tango/vals/milonga etc). As you’re mainly concerned with connection, Totty, in this analogy you represent a television programme. No matter how good or bad you are you’re relying on me (my lead) to show you off in your best light. Remember a good black and white television is always going to be better than a bad colour one.

    Totty, you’ve still not recommended the teacher I should be going to. What’s the problem?

    Rather than engage further with Chris UK’s ridiculous comments, I would like to echo Ghost and David Bailey’s question to find out how Chris got to where he his with his dance.

  104. Chris, UK
    Jul 19, 2010 @ 17:49:15

    Totty

    > HOw has the scene here advanced anything?
    > Its gone backwards

    I agree. The standard has substantially deteriorated since the the flood of dance schools five or six years ago. It used to be that beginners spent more time in milongas where they could see some real social dancing, but nowadays their time and money is increasingly locked up in school – in beginners courses taught by show dancers. From there, most of them give up, or by the time they do escape to the milongas, have been reduced to sub-beginners. Very sad.

  105. David Bailey
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 11:56:12

    Chris, I’d hate to nag, but I’d still like you to tell us your “progression story”?

  106. TP
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 00:07:49

    OMG…. there are 105 comments on this post!!! I think you guys had broken a record in tango blogsphere. 🙂 I am just saying…

  107. Ghost
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 19:05:58

    Chris, just in case you’ve somehow missed my, David and Mr Milonga’s posts over the last week, could you please explain simply and clearly, ideally so that a child can understand, step by step the exact process by which _you_ learnt tango.

    Thanks

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