To Teach or Not to Teach

Choosing to teach Tango (or any other art/dance/skill) is a huge decision that should not be taken lightly.  It is a decision we are currently grappling with and have been thinking about all year.  Many in our community assumed, before we left for Buenos Aires, that we would teach when we returned.   This has never been our assumption.

Our thoughts have revolved around the various experiences teachers bring to the table (and their resume).

1)      Years of Tango experience

2)      Being Argentinean (which more or less holds no weight unless you grew up dancing Tango in Buenos Aires)

3)      Visiting from Buenos Aires

4)      Having learned in Buenos Aires

At times, these should not be taken as positive points if they cannot be backed up.  However, the following are absolute requirements that should be seen in the dance of a teacher you want to learn Argentine Tango from:

1)      There is an esthetically pleasing look to their dance

2)      There is an embrace that is typical of Argentine Tango and not of a trendy or wimpy variety

3)      The man dances with a “male” energy and the “woman” with a female energy

4)      There is an understanding of the music and the various orchestras

5)      The dance is Argentine Tango and not some form of alternaTango.  If one is new to the dance, it may be difficult or impossible to discern the difference.  Therefore we suggest that a newer or confused Tango dancer look at some youtube videos.   Andres Laza Moreno & Isabel Acuna and Javier Rodriguez & Andrea Misse will give you a look at young people dancing A.T. while  Osvaldo & Coca Cartery and  Alberto Dasieu & Paulina Spinoso will give you a look at how older milongueros dance A.T.

6) Has HONESTLY learned from milongueros/teachers who are HONESTLY from/living in Buenos Aires (while some may argue that this is not very important, we strongly believe it is since Tango is more than a dance; it is a culture).

There are two questions a teacher-to-be should ask themselves before deciding to become a teacher:

1)  Do I have more to offer than one of the top 3-5 teachers in my community?

2)  Am I a “better” dancer than one of the top 3-5 teachers in my community?

The answer to both questions should be “yes”.  Offering something “different” rather than something more is an excuse teachers-to-be use to get into teaching.  Everyone has something “different” to offer!  And although being “better” is subjective, it is not difficult for a group of people to spot and agree on the best dancers on the floor.

Our Tango community probably does not need more than 5 teachers and yet there are over 15 at any given time.  Even if there was a big enough community, that in itself is not a good enough reason for people to start teaching.  It is these people that pollute the dance with inaccurate information and false concepts. Entering the teaching community is not something that should be taken lightly.  Neither is staying in it.  It would be admirable if teachers knew when to step down to make way for better teachers.

Finally, a love for Tango is never reason enough to teach.  However, it is this love for the dance and the culture that should stop some people from doing so.

About Movement Invites Movement

We are relatively young Argentine Tango dancers and teachers who are married both to each other and the dance. We truly found Tango after making an 8-month Tango pilgrimage to Buenos Aires and we are using this blog to share our thoughts and feelings about our Tango experiences. We are not aspiring authors and our writing skills are questionable, but we write our truth. View all posts by Movement Invites Movement

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