Ask Arlene…Lectures on the Dancefloor Part 2

My compatriot in Buenos Aires, Deby Novitz, has provided a piece as ‘Tia Deby’ for Jenney Surelia’s blog, Tango Thoughts.  ‘Tia Deby’ has provided her take on the lecturing on the dance floor theme.

What I love about Deby, apart from her wicked sense of humour, is that she has considerable experience of dancing at the Milongas in Buenos Aires, and she has been living there for over four years.  Therefore, I am inclined to listen seriously to what she has to say as she has pretty much ‘been there and done that’.

So, when Jenney posted the link to the recent advice from ‘Tia Deby’, I read it with interest and I feel that what she had to say was quite pertinent on this topic.  I have had a similar incident about someone holding my arm in a certain way that was uncomfortable to me and when I made a suggestion (very nicely) to not give me the death grip, the guy argued with me.  I say no more.

If you haven’t read it already you can find the link below.  If you want to know more about Deby Novitz and her life in Buenos Aires, I have a link for her on my sidebar.

Should Teachers Dance With Their Students?

Continuing with the Teacher theme, which always seems to be a hot topic, the above question brings to mind a conversation I had a few years back with one of our local instructors.

Being still relatively new to dancing Tango, I queried a teacher about why he wasn’t dancing with the women as there were a few sitting around.  He told me that he only danced with women he wanted to.

Now, I have this idea that if you are a teacher, and you want to drum up business, you would dance with the punters.  What harm can it do to dance one Tanda?  If you are a teacher, are you ever really off duty?  After all, you are a representative of your organisation.  You are the one selling something.  You are in the venue where you will ultimately see the efforts of your work.

I suppose that a teacher would be approached constantly if it was known that they don’t say no to dances.  Considering that in the UK we don’t use el cabeceo or adhere to the codigos that they have in Buenos Aires, I guess the teachers would be pretty exhausted if they accepted every dance by anyone who asked.  Though I don’t think it would hurt if they put themselves out more.  There are a few who just seem so unapproachable just even to talk to let alone to dance with.

I was reading Angelina’s Tango Blog where she brought the issue up of teachers dancing with their students and other regular patrons of their Milongas.  I happen to think that is a good idea.  Frankly, I don’t expect it as the organisers are usually busy, but it would be nice if they did, though there aren’t many men running Milongas in London.

Apparently, from what I have been reading on the internet lately, there are a few teachers in Buenos Aires that specifically go to the Milongas to find tourists to dance with and try and get them to have lessons, and they aren’t necessarily good teachers.  But how would you know if you are inexperienced and don’t know anyone to ask?  Since the Tango community in London is considerably smaller than in Buenos Aires, it should be easier to weed out the opportunists.

As comparisons are always made about how different the Tango scene is in Buenos Aires to anywhere else, I asked my compatriot in Buenos Aires, Deby Novitz, for an opinion.  Deby is now in her fifth year as a resident of Buenos Aires.  She has a blog titled: TangoSpam:La Vida Con Deby.  Having read only snippets of her blog over the last few months, I recently sat down and read the last three years of her experiences of living in Buenos Aires and life in the Milongas.  Some of what she had to say made my head spin, and if it wasn’t spinning it was in danger of falling off as I was laughing so hard.  So here I leave you with Deby’s opinion on this topic:

Personally I think teachers should dance with their students at the milonga.  They don’t need to dance with all of their students all of the time, but they should make an effort to dance with some of them.

Most teachers are not full time teachers outside of Buenos Aires.  Therefore they are not dancing all day with students, and then going to a milonga at night to dance.  I believe it makes a student feel good to have a dance with their teacher.

My partners and I have always taken our students to a milonga. At some point in the evening we have danced with every one of our students.  A little bit of good will goes a long way.

Deby Novitz

©Deby Novitz 2009 TangoSpam all rights reserved.  No parts of this may be reproduced without permission of the author

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