I keep emphasising the old, and that's not some personal oddity. The historical fact is that between 1960 and 1985 the whole tradition of the milongas, where people had learned to dance for generations, faltered. For 25 years very few people learned to dance, and many dancers who'd learned earlier gave it up. Most current teachers learned after 1990 from that older generation. There's not really a generation of younger teachers who've learned through the milongas. But don't the younger dancers give us a more contemporary tango, more suited to us? Maybe, but they might not have much background in social dancing, which is what we go to classes to learn! & any learning is an interpretation, and any teacher is likely to present or distort material in such a way as to attract students. Of course, there is a way of recording the old tradition clearly so that it's available for future reference: it's called video.
& what's wrong with going back to the source, the older tradition, while it's still available? Learn from your teachers' teachers if you can! They tend to be dancers pure and simple, rather than trained teachers on an international circuit. Yes, some do teach, perhaps as much by example as by explanation. But how else do you learn dance than by watching dance and by being watched while you dance? (& by talking to your partners!) Martha and Manolo teach canyengue week in and week out in Buenos Aires with hardly a word of English between them, but you know immediately how friendly and encouraging they are, so it's easy to learn from them.
& when it comes down to it, we can get a lot from their generation that simply isn't available from the younger generation: we can get a sense of what the milongas were like, the feel of tango. & it's very evident when we watch the older dancers how much they enjoy dancing together. They don't perform for us with that vaguely disdainful expression, looking, as Tete put it, as if they have a lemon in their mouths!
I see that Irene and Man Yung's tango blog have anticipated me in this: their posts on their recent visit to Buenos Aires show the warmth and happiness and good-heartedness there is in the tango world there these days. It's a really wonderful time for the older generation! They were right all along! The dance and music they loved so much in their youth – and through which many of them met their partners – and which they lost for most of their lives, has come back for them to enjoy again late in their lives, along with reasonable political stability and material prosperity. Irene and Man Yung have posted a number of photos and videos. The videos of Alberto Dassieu are of course wonderful, and Coca and Osvaldo Cartery's dance to 'Poema' at Ideal is simply sublime: tango is the dance of love, and love, as we know, means tenderness, intimacy, warmth, as well as passion. & don't miss the link to Adela Galeazzi and Jorge Garcia's jive. Jorge is 'El Flaco' Danny's elder brother, and I watched his jive with an open mouth last December: I'd never seen anything like it, and most definitely not in a septuagenarian!
In the UK we have a particular problem: recent legislation makes it terribly difficult and expensive to bring visitors to teach here, even for a short period, so it's worth considering a visit to Buenos Aires to enjoy tango, and the best of teachers, there. I've already linked many of the older teachers like Luisito Ferraris, who now lives and teaches in North Italy (easy to visit for a vacation). Here's a video of Ruben Aybar and Cherie Magnus, whose website is here. Ruben's tango goes way back. Like Luisito, he dances with enjoyment and generous good-hearted warmth, as well as an easy facility. It would be wonderful to see dancers like this on our floors in London!
Video thanks to Macfroggy.