Monday, 22 August 2011

Cacho Dante

I try to get in touch with Cacho Dante to find out about classes, as his name doesn't appear in any recent listings and I don't see him in the milongas: he always used to be at Cachirulo. His website has an email address, and I quickly get a reply: Cacho isn't well, and his main student is taking the class. Sad news. One of my reasons for being here is to meet up with him again, as I found his classes so useful last time. He was the one teacher I found who watched basic walking really carefully, and he was extremely observant. I was also hoping for a chance to film him, as I find it really unbelievable that there's just one clip of him on YouTube and it's from 2004, and is a rather basic classroom demo. Like all the other group classes I go to here, his classes are for two hours, feature a lot of walking exercises, a simple choreography (for want of a better word) and a lot of dancing in which we are encouraged to play around with the class material. You could call it a 'practiclass'. This seems to be the format of choice for group classes here, and I find the emphasis on dance really useful.

I ask around and find that Cacho isn't seriously ill, and still gives private classes. I'm looking around for a partner for his private classes, and I should take the classes with the student, which I'm sure would be valuable. But without Cacho there, I don't feel so enthusiastic.


Chris said...

Cacho on the music, the teaching fraud, and the heart of the woman here.

Dieudonne said...

Thanks Chris!This is what I imagine Tango to be.

Chris said...

Me too - except for the fraud! :)

Dieudonne said...

Curious about what is on your mind about "the fraud" the one he talks about, or do you think that as a teacher he is also a perpetrator? There is so much con in Tango these days, that one has to be very aware to navigate those waters.
I have agreed with many of your comments in the past, because no one can teach anyone how to dance, what a so called teacher can help with is some tools to understand the dance and its social context, then one has to dance to develop one's own way by making mistakes and so on.
Those who come from a dancing culture understand this, you watch, you try and keep trying until you get it, master it and then make it yours in order to innovate. This takes time, and in this fast-consumer society we need it now.
I believe that until one has a certain understanding of Tango, the value of a teacher is very questionable.

Chris said...

Yes, I was referring to the teaching fraud he talks about. And no, I do not at all think Cacho is a perpetrator. As Gavito, Tete, Ricardo Vidort and a few others did, he presents tango as it is for real, for people who want to dance it in the milongas. Rather than the fabricated step-based dance that sabotages people's natural ability and aims to keep them in classes for ever.

"I believe that until one has a certain understanding of Tango, the value of a teacher is very questionable."

Me too. Early on, I found rhe teachers from whom I learned most were ones who least believed in teaching. Probably because none of them themsevles learned from teachers. I recall Gavito saying "You don't learn to dance in class - you learn to dance in the milonga." That was in one of his classes :) And "I am not here to teach you - I am here to inspire you."

I find very few such teachers around at the moment.

Tangocommuter said...

Dieudonne, first, there are two more conversations with Cacho Dante, in case you haven't found them yet. In the post, I linked his name to his website, but you have to go right down to the bottom of the page to find them.

I really like your comments about how people from 'a dancing culture' understand differently the process of learning dance; that teachers can only facilitate learning, and that you have to make the dance your own, which takes time. As you say these days people go to class and expect to be able to dance tango, which they do by slavishly reproducing what they learned in class, with no regard for the music or the dancers around them.

Interesting that the teaching (and non-teaching) of tango always excites a lot of interest. I hope that comments like these will eventually help towards a better tango for us all!

Louis said...

Hi TC,

In case you have some friends coming to Asia in the near future, this is just to let you know that Cacho Dante will be coming to Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore during October-November. I understand that this will be the first time he is coming to Asia. This was made possible thanks to my good friends in Hong Kong.