You Tube ?

When I noticed a lady getting kicked in the practica, I of course intervened. A secada is supposed to be a replacement; there is no force attached, and definitely no kicking or pushing. Now our perpetrator replied that he was not doing a secada, but something he had seen on you tube.

Of course this was not tango and I told him so, his reply was that this was a tango guy doing it. I was getting nowhere here and this as I have often said is not my class, so for now I let it lie. I hope he will not try this again, words will have to be exchanged we cannot have the ladies kicked.

This brings me to another subject altogether; It seems that for some You Tube is a legitimate teaching device, I think that this is wrong on two levels:

Firstly; anyone who has tried to learn any type of dancing from videos, discs, or the net will have found eventually it does not work. Your screen will not pick up your faults. You may well assume something is correct and nobody will be there to put you right. Tango uniquely is more about musicality, posture, and a conversation between leader and follower. How on earth can anyone hope to learn this on their own, what you see in tango is mostly an illusion, we invite our followers to move and make the world believe we have moved them with our feet or whatever, see this on you tube and of course you will believe the illusion and try to copy. You tube does not teach you how to lead, how to stand, or how to move.

Secondly and even more importantly, the internet is democratic. Anyone who happens upon this blog that does not know me, only has what I say here as evidence of who I am and what I know. This applies to the internet in general, anyone can put almost anything (decency aside) on to you tube. I could put a film on there telling the world of my financial qualifications and my answer to the world’s financial crisis; would you all close your deposit accounts on my say so? Would you sell me all your gold for a pittance just because I was on Youtube? I think not, but for some reason anyone who posts videos of tango is deemed to be an expert. Some may well be, others not, but the one thing all these videos have in common is, you cannot learn tango from them.

I can’t make Shrewsbury this week, so the normal lively debate from The Coracle will have to go unreported. My next post may have to wait until I have something more to say without the Coracle chat I will be short on ideas. Of course if anyone wants to suggest a topic, I am sure to have an opinion.


Filed under milonga, Tango

10 responses to “You Tube ?

  1. tangobob

    Always happy to spread the word.

  2. Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Thank you

  3. tangobob

    Where youtube is used as a teaching tool in conjunction with good classes, I have no issue with. Where someone sees somthing on the web thinks that looks cool, and then tries to do it with no idea of the lead, or what it will do to others on the floor, that gives me great concerns.
    I know how difficult it can be to teach tango away from the main population centres and can apreciate the problems of having tango once a month, but try to imagine all your students have just watched “tango Fire” and in your next practica there are legs everywhere and you are getting kicked, not only by your partner but every woman who passes. Trying to learn from the web without any teaching is dangerous to say the least.
    I enjoy Jantangos videos but again, to a beginner how do they know these are good and others are bad? and even though we can pick up some good pointers from them, there is no substitute for good teaching.

  4. Anna

    There is definitely a place for Youtube, making it possible to be inspired by amazing dancers like those in the Jantango clips. Youtube can also be a useful way to remind students of the techniques they covered in a physical class, salsabangor has 63 clips on Youtube so we can embed those move reminders in our website.

  5. Pingback: You can’t learn Tango from YouTube! « Arlene’s London Tango Pages

  6. Arlene

    You are right Bob. Most people don’t know what is good and what is not. It can take years to work that one out. I feel better knowing you and Jan are doing your best to enlighten people. I do so as well, in my own way. I have just been inspired to write a short post.

    Spread the word and take no prisoners.

    BTW, the wine was excellent and I didn’t get too squiffy, just enough 😉

  7. tangobob

    The point I was trying to make is that Youtube is free for all, you can go to a milonga and learn from the milongueros there, just as you probably can learn from some videos, but how do you know what is good and what is not. People come into tango inthe UK and all they know is what they have seen on Strictly or on the net. As you point out there is some crap out there, I and others like me are not in the position to police what people watch, so all we can do is try to get them to learn well in a controlled enviroment.
    While Janis tries her best against the influx of touristas with their euro tango and Yanqui tango, all any of can do is just be faithful and spread the message.
    BTW hope you enjoyed the wine and did not get too squiffy.

  8. Arlene

    Hey Bob,

    I know I had a couple glasses of wine, but my last comment had gone a bit screwy and I know it was ok before it hit the submit comment button. I hope people can put it all together and get the jist of it. x

  9. Arlene

    I hate to be a party pooper here Bob and Jan and although I mostly agree with you both, I can’t agree 100%. I don’t think you can learn Argentine Tango just from watching videos. You do need someone to teach the basics, like musicality, posture, etc.

    However, a lot can be learned by watching people after one has gone through these basics. After all, how many times have I heard from those living in BA that they learned by watching others and developing their own style? How many times have I heard that one must watch the people on the dance floor to determine the difference between the good and bad dancers?

    I am so glad you are around to get these guys sorted in your neck of the woods before they go haywire and work themselves down to London and end up at Negracha! 🙂

    All the best!
    I may be playing devil’s advocate here Bob, and I have had a couple of glasses of wine while listening to DiSarli con Alberto Podesta. 😉 But you have to admit that there are SOME good/excellent dancers on Youtube also and a lot could be learned from looking at them.

    Unfortunately, there is also a lot of crap nuevo dancing on Youtube as well and well, that is where the problem lies. People who don’t know squat about Argentine Tango think that is the real deal. I think they may have been watching a bit tooooo much of Strictly or the American versions thereof.

  10. jantango


    I couldn’t agree more on this subject. We see how tango is being commercialized on YouTube and much of what is being labeled as tango isn’t. There is a media frenzy that is giving the world the wrong impression how tango is danced in Buenos Aires.

    I am trying to do my part in all this in two ways. I have recently begun filming milongueros with whom I dance in the milongas. The first videos are on my YouTube channel “jantango” to provide proof that tango isn’t gymnastics. The majority of tango videos are exhibitions with no one else on the floor. Tango is not a performance dance, but rather a social one. That’s why I film the milongueros on the floor with other dancers.

    And secondly, I am assisting a milonguero with private classes. It is an honor to be dancing with his students and learning his secrets. Many feel that milongueros don’t know how to teach, but I strongly disagree. One who has danced more than fifty years knows what he is doing and can teach it. Only someone who dances well can teach well. I have seen this proven by every milonguero with whom I have assisted in classes. We need these men to pass on what they know so that there will be others dancing well to secure tango’s future.

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