Saturday, February 15, 2020

Focus on Students or Techniques?

A long time ago the students were assigned to different groups based on their assumed development levels. It was often a quite arduous situation for the instructors because the participants were eager to sign up on a course level above their actual skill. This forced the instructors to blend different teaching contents or take the pedagogical responsibility by advising the student to a correct course.

Later on the visiting teachers started to welcome students with different skills and experience to the same workshops and they developed pedagogy to address that situation. This praxis changed the earlier student-focused approach to a technique centered one. The course requirements were presented as moves you need to know and manage if you wanted easily follow the workshop. Some teachers open up the door some more by stating that if you are for challenges then you are always welcome!

There are still occasions where the course description focuses on the student level, especially at the entry courses where the word Beginner is used. For me it works like a barrier keeping us old-time dancers away from those courses. But we oldtimers need to rebuild and refresh our tango technique and we need to do it more fashionable, up to date too.

But hey what has the word fashionable to do with tango? It is more a word for clothing but think about this! Think about a coat for example! The function of it is the same but the style is new for every other year, decade. If you stick to your old coat it looks more and more old-fashioned when times go by. The same for the tango moves! They need an update at least every 10 years!

When you are an experienced tango dancer who needs to update the moves and techniques the idea to enter a beginner class again can be an unpleasant one! So was it anyhow for me! It would have been much easier to sign onto a course where the FUNDAMENTAL techniques are presented, trained and refreshed. I was updating my skills and integrating the new material with the existing skills of a long-time dancer.

So organizers, schools and teachers update your offerings so they attract even us who need an update after many years of dancing!

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