Monthly Archives: August 2010

Challenging the 8-Week Myth

We wrote this post a while ago and hence found it interesting that Vidort’s name has been popping up a lot recently.  Without intending to incur the wrath of many, we offer you our thoughts:

Ricardo Vidort aka Da Bomb!

Ricardo Vidort was the bomb and he verbalized some really important points in Tango.  However, we would like to challenge is the idea that a Tango student can learn all they need to know in 8 (or 3, or take your pick) classes.  We can’t help but wonder if Vidort ever taught a complete beginner.  Maybe he taught beginners, but not beginners with NO Tango experience.  The only possible exception to this rule would be if the 8 classes were private lessons (we would also like to challenge anyone who says you don’t need and/or benefit from private lessons).

All you need to do is observe a beginner (group) class for 8 weeks and you’ll see what we’re talking about.  It takes most male beginners 8 weeks to finally move their body first instead of their feet (so that they don’t stomp on the women’s feet before they have actually even moved forward).  It takes most female beginners 8 weeks before they learn to extend their legs properly (i.e., far enough and fast enough behind themselves) so that their male partners are not stepping on their toes or brushing thighs with them.  It takes most beginners a minimum of 8 weeks before they stop tensing their arms and trying to use them for leading/leverage/support.  And it takes most beginners a minimum of 8 weeks before they keep their heads (and shoulders) over their bodies instead of holding their heads in strange positions or trying to rest their heads on their partners’ shoulders.

All these difficulties and yet men are supposed to also learn how to walk outside of the woman in parallel and cross system, lead ochos and giros (read “pivots” if you like), and oh yeah, LEAD!? And oh yeah, WITH THE MUSIC!?  Sure, a student can be TAUGHT everything in 8-weeks, but they definitely aren’t going to LEARN (or remember) everything.  Tango is not a dance with special voodoo powers.  It requires just as much work as any other dance, hobby, or sport.

On a side note – We also challenge the idea that a teacher cannot teach a student the feeling of Tango.  Of course, a student needs to be receptive to the feeling, however, a teacher who embraces their student “properly” and fully in a class has already begun to impart the Tango feeling to their student.  There is nothing like a nice embrace to get students understanding the idea that Tango is about the embrace and not the steps.  Plus a teacher who shows excitement and passion while listening/dancing/teaching to Tango music can begin to elicit those same feelings in their students as well.