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.

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

5 responses to “Challenging the 8-Week Myth

  • jantango

    I had many opportunities to chat with Ricardo Vidort. I respected him for giving students eight classes and then sending them on their way to find their own tango. It was their job to practice what he presented and then make it their own. Today we see so many who all dance tango the same way, whereas each milonguero has his own style.

    A blog book entitled, “Ricardo Vidort — the unforgettable milonguero of Buenos Aires” is being written and will include photos and videos. It will have his handwritten notes with class agendas.

  • jakilune

    ” …there are four concepts that most tangueras are taught which were all proven to be wrong in Buenos Aires. The first one: don’t stick out your butt. The second one: put your weight forward on the balls of your feet. The third one: collect your feet/knees/thighs. The fourth one: don’t move your hips….”
    I’m waiting for the fourth one… did I miss it ?

  • zentango

    Hi, we just started a new blog on tango history…each day we post an event that
    happened that day in tango history…it can be the birth of a famous singer,
    composer of poet, the debut of a film or the recording of a famous tango song…
    you can even search tango principles according to their sun sign

    Can you help spread the word by letting your students know about it or placing
    a link on your blog…there is no advertising or money involved…we’re
    not selling anything, we simply love tango and in particular tango history…we
    welcome any suggestions…..

    If you come to Rome, please let us know…we would be glad to welcome you
    and show you around; my wife and I love meeting and being with people…thanks, have a
    nice day…well here is the link http://todayintango.wordpress.com/

    Oscar Wright and Maria Teresa Ruocco
    66 via ovidio
    00195 Rome, italy
    Hm 06-45437139
    Cel: 340-646-7159
    Web Site: http://www.zentangodeoscarwright.com

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