Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Me, tango and it's teachers

During the dancing years, some aspects about my relation to tango and it's teachers have become visible. When I first time entered a milonga and saw how ages were mixed on the pista I was struck by the thought: T h i s  I could keep up for a long time! Today it seems that I had the rest of my life in mind.

Limited or lifetime in tango?

You maybe feel that you will stay just a few years in tango or you have a clearly limited goal then you could pay some extra attention to the choice of a teacher and the style. You maybe want quickly become a member of the local community in that case it is wise to follow the style and teachers for that group! Ask for advice, talk with people and stick to your plan - that teacher and those people!
Your goals will define your learning, direct your development until you reach the goal!

Another possibility is just to start in a way and place most comfortable for you. That was the choice I caught! By testing the possibilities I have found out what I like and what inspires me. A vast number of techniques and sequences will be available on that path!

A long stay itself will create pressure for change. New ways to dance will develop refreshing the old steps and give a new look to the pista. That learning will create a new edge for your personal expression in tango.
In other words, the learning will reveal to you your tango and develop it!

In both cases keep in mind that you need somehow check and monitor the technique to be ok for your body and mind.

The relationship to teacher's knowledge - apilado; in axis; colgada


apilado - no own balance, towards the teacher        

In the beginning I believed and learned everything my teachers told me and so did my classmates! I wonder now if anyone has skipped this mode? Usually we got just one version of a figure and it becomes the only, the only right way to do it. In other words we were leaning heavily towards our teacher and his/her ideas, knowledge. One common consequence of this was that the alternatives we saw around us were all errors, signs of bad learning and unskilled teaching!
That period was the prime time for critics. When we watched the pista we repeated the technical details and tried to map the ochos in our mind to the variety of ochos performed in front of us. Some of them showed hardly any of the traits we had learned and kept in mind. We wondered if someone could educate those poor dancers!
The funniest story was told by a laughing follower who during her whole first year felt deep sorrow for a couple who had totally misunderstood the way how to dance tango. Could someone help them? Later on she learned the reason -  they were the absolute best canyengue dancers in our community! So different but still right.

in axis - solo, own balance                 

During the following years, I knew better what I liked and took more control over what kind of movements I wanted to include in my skills. I picked the suitable parts of the teachers' offerings and became aware of the choices others did, how different variations came alive. The deeper I came on this path the clearer it was that I will never again be able to find one teacher who totally responses to all my needs and goals. My future learning was more like finding the puzzle pieces a teacher could offer and it was my responsibility to fit them to the rest of my skills. All the different ideas about tango and the knowledge now built in my body became a platform to understand and manage my tango and tango life. I found my own balance in it all, I was in balance on my mental axis; not running around so much but staying where I belonged.

colgada - hanging out, away from the teacher

In spite of all learning this dance has it's secrets and some of them I have become aware of by coming across the opposite ideas. I call it for Colgada learning and it occurs when I disagree with the ideas and offerings a teacher or fellow dancers have.  It is not just that the stuff is not ok but it is not my thing.  This gives me the possibility to recognize the edges of my personal platform, opinions, and ideas. You test the offering but feel that it is nothing for you and develop instead a variation which will fit your milonga night. Now you also know more about where the others are, what they prefer and enjoy!

All these aspects have passed by and will be met again! It keeps me activated and maybe you also! 


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