Advice given to beginners can often seem conflicting, just the advice we give about embrace and how we hold our arms can be enough to drive you to distraction, so sometimes it can be prudent to limit what we teach, and if you like, drip feed the information. Sometimes this is seen as a way of making the classes last longer, or extracting more money out of the students. Often when I give advice, I am told “but I have been told the opposite is true” I try to explain that it is more about subtleties, but only time and experience can truly teach.
The beginners class in Shrewsbury is a great success again, we arrived there to see a huge number of new students. (it is the second week, work again kept me away for the first). We did not take part in the first class as we arrived late, but as we watched I was impressed with the standard that was already being achieved.
In the interval I took a few of the new women for a walk around the room (two weeks and you could not expect much more). Those I took followed well and picked up on my changes of cadence with a good feel for the music. As I gave advice on posture and following, I was asked “how do I know from all the advice I am being given what is good and what is bad” My answer is simple, and although not definitive, it will help. If someone tells you to step here or to put your leg there, them they are not teaching you to tango, if however they help you with your posture, show you how to respond to leads and just follow, then that for me is what tango is all about.
An example: I was dancing with one of the intermediates towards the end of the evening, I led something (can’t remember now what it was) she said ” that was awful”(meaning her following) “can we do it again” this time I was not so good, so we did it again. Apart from the request to do it again, and the cheer at the end when we got it right, there were no other words spoken. Never did I say “you should be there” or “put your foot here” we learnt with our bodies. Tango is a two way conversation, body on body. In the milongas in Buenos Aires, the conversation ceases when they dance, only the bodies talk.
Anyway for the second class I was sent to the back room with the beginners. We had four couples stay on and I had a chance to work with them, and perhaps give them a bit of Bob’s philosophy. At one point I stopped the class, all the ladies were smiling, THAT is what we want to achieve. You do not dance salon tango for the audience, Men you have a beautiful lady in front of you, if she looks anything less than beautiful on the dance floor, then that is your fault. Why would you care what the people sitting around think of you? You have been given, a gift, an honour, and a pleasure this wonderful woman is allowing you to dance with her enjoy her time and make dammed sure that she enjoys it as well. If you cannot lead something or your lady cannot follow it, do something else, we teach in classes, not on the dance floor.EVER.
Some conflicting advice again here; one guy was taking very small steps, so much so that when he led me I could not feel where he was taking me, now it seems Dave had told him when doing double time to take small steps and now I was telling him to take big steps. You can see how confusion arrises. I belive we resolved this one, but I would say to all who go to classes, when you get conflicting advice, Ask. More often than not it can be explained, and the more you understand the explanations the better will become your tango.
We had a good crowd in The Coracle again, conversation ebbed and flowed. It seems I am missing out on some Facebook friends, I have since put that right, but I still find it hard to understand why anyone would want to contact me via Facebook, there is this blog, all my friends know my email address, you can even find me on google if you try hard enough. There is so much rubbish on there that it took me two hours to respond to one message yesterday, and my wife is complaining that I spend too much time on the computer as it is. Rant almost over, just to say I have turned my email notifications off, so if you try to get me on Facebook I probably will not respond. My Email however I check fanatically.
OK another rant my spell check has just come up with this
Bias words and phrases may express gender, ethnic, or racial bias. These can turn people off. Bias-free language has the same meaning and treats people with respect.
Replace lady with
YOU HAVE TO BE JOKING!! If I wanted to show bias or lack of respect, I can do a lot better than this.