Thursday, 15 November 2012

Enjoying tango

The floor is busy with people enjoying themselves. Mostly close embrace: London tango seems to be settling into close or close-ish embrace, rather than the open-and-closed embrace of most teachers, or that late unlamented, arm's-length Todaro-inspired dance. Perhaps it's not always the smoothest or most assured tango, or the best embrace we see here; it doesn't always look comfortable or tidy, but it is reasonably social tango. & it was a really good evening, good music, people having a good time, as it should be.
Except for one couple and a few friends. They sat by themselves looking miserable and bored all evening. I didn't notice them dance at all. Why were they there? Then someone told me they had taught the class that evening! It would be a huge joke if it wasn't, really, a disgrace. Teachers, paid to teach tango when they are too bored by it to dance, people who will only dance when they have the whole floor to themselves? Why should we take them seriously? Why do organisers pay them to teach when what they teach is at odds with the way people seem to want to dance? Obviously, I wasn't at their class, so their teaching might have been excellent social tango, but that's unlikely if they don't enjoy dancing it.
It would be wonderful to have a regular flow of real social dancers here to give classes, or perhaps we should call them 'guided practicas'. Tango as a practice, rather than as a subject or a sort of advanced skill. The Argentine teachers who make it to the UK usually speak adequate English, but if social tango bores them, what's the point? Dance is taught and learned visually, and by feel: show and copy, copy and practice, the embrace, the walk, the ways walking steps are developed and connected. Language skills aren't essential. There seems to be a frequent mismatch between what is taught and what people here need when they are on the floor. There are real social dancers who've watched and danced tango all their lives and who can see by eye, or know by the feel of it, when something – posture, walk, embrace, whatever – isn't right, and can show better ways to do it. & also show by example, by being on the floor and dancing with their students who are, after all, just other dancers. It's time to turn away from these superior teachers who are just too bored to dance with us and amongst us – and if they do get on the floor usually just want to show off. No thanks!

1 comment:

Pm said...

Agree with you!