More on tango teaching

Following on from discussions on what makes a good tango teacher, I came across this. It’s taken from an interview with Pedro ‘Tete’ Rusconi and Sylvia Ceriani which appeared in Tango Noticias, the newsletter of the Chicago tango community:

Tete: …There are only between 5-10 tango teachers that can really teach you how to dance tango. They know how to dance but they also know how to teach. If they know how to dance but they don’t know how to teach that doesn’t work and if they don’t know how to dance and they don’t know how to teach its even worse. And if you really think about it, the music is tango; it’s not the steps. Whatever style of dance you dance the music always comes first. So what happens, if a teacher comes here and they sell you steps instead of teaching how to dance, what happens? You don’t dance. You learn steps because that is what you think you need to learn.

Silvia: Teachers have to practice themselves and learn how to teach before they teach. Its not like all of the good instructors are in Buenos Aires, there are some bad ones too. There are probably more professors there than there are students. I am also a painter and I worked with great masters to learn. I listened a lot and then I started drawing. Matisse said, “If you start from where I finished then you are lost.” Everyone wants everything fast from fast food to a fast step.

‘Tete’ Rusconi is one of the best-known milongueros. Here he and Silvia improvise to Orgullo Criollo by Laurenz at Porteno y Bailarin in Buenos Aires. Find out more about Tete here.

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~ by magickwords on Tuesday, 7 July 2009.

4 Responses to “More on tango teaching”

  1. Great to show Tete teaching a class, if your post is that he is a great teacher. We all know how he can dance!

  2. Whether or not Tete is a great teacher I’m not able to comment. I’ve not seen him teach, neither have I seen the Trenner instructional videos he made. I found his comments interesting. Teaching steps, it seems to me, is (relatively) easy; teaching expression, musicality and all those other things which make tango tango is something else entirely.

    I do find, however, by watching great dancers like Tete I can learn and begin to understand a little more of what, for me, tango is about. I can begin to see, for example, how good tango dancers use their feet and body to express cadences and melody. It’s not about copying sequences or styles; there’s little point in that.

    I could go on (and have been known to…), but I’d love to hear what other people think. Thank you for reading, and taking the time to comment.

  3. Love the blog,yes you do go on, but so do I. It is only by constantly reminding those who choose to just learn steps that we will be heard. They say a Tango teacher is born every minute in Buenos Aires, so when we find a good one, let the world know. Bad teachers promote bad dancing, good teachers are a rare gem.

  4. I’ve taken private classes with Tete & Silvia in BsAs, and group classes in France. Yes, he teaches ‘steps’… but what I took away from the private classes was much, much more. They don’t just demonstrate steps, they really dance them, they put all their energy and awareness into them. One minute they’re joking with you, the next they’ve switched into some awesome other world of movement and music. Even just to show you a turn.

    Their group classes in France: again, they taught ‘steps’ but what I got from the classes was again that energy. They are tireless in classes, they seem to be everywhere, with everyone. All the classes overran, and the attention they gave was amazing. Since it’s got very hard to bring great teachers to the UK, we have to go to Europe, and they seem to visit regularly. They have a website now, http://www.teteysilvia.com.ar/ with details of tours.

    I don’t have much film of them teaching (they kept me too busy!) but I’ve put a few fragments here: http://tangocommuter1.blogspot.com/2009/05/tango-in-paris-3.html

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