How to be a Good Tango Student to get most out of Lessons

How to get most out of lessons. 2 advices only.

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- What teacher is the best in San Francisco



A question was asked "What Tango student is the best?"


Class lessons

The only bad student I can think of is one that get is the way of others, interferes, hinders the class. We do not have such bad behaving people in Tango classes.

I could say that there are more bad teachers than bad students.

But it is not quite right.

The most important is not the level of an individual whether he is gifted, advanced, nor not, but the deviation of the level of the class. It is difficult to present any tango material if the deviation is large. Especially it is important for beginning level: if students took only about 10 classes, deviation of 1 class is already hinders things a lot.

It is better to ask if this is a good group of students or bad.

Therefore I conclude that the best student is the one which does not miss any class and is never late.

Private Lessons

Let us assume we have an able teacher.

There are 2 common patterns in his interaction with a student at a private lesson:

1. He does what the student wants to hear and to do,
2. He does what he himself thinks this student needs mostly.

There are many cases what initiates what, but the #1 may lead ultimately to a lie. A teacher make the student feel that the lesson is all right. The teacher can play along easily: he has a lot of experience. Sometimes it is a personality of the teacher, or sometimes, he has no other choice - that is what the student shows the desire for.

I believe the #2 is much more productive. Not always, but mostly.

So a good student should acts as if saying to the teacher: "Teach me what you think is the most important, teach me how to dance well". The student must make the teacher feel free. The student should encourage the teacher to relax himself, let the teacher know that he is free in his choice of methods and material.

It is not easy sometimes, we usually have our expectations. Through them away!
It is like establishing a totally free channel of absorbing all what freely comes from the teacher.

Taking things personally is a way to failure. A student must play along with a teacher, not the teacher with the student. It is very much like a dance: teacher leads, student follows. That is I believe a winning strategy for a student.


That is what makes him good: he knows how to be taught well. And then, he should feel the results at the next milonga.

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My name is Igor Polk. I dance Argentine tango in San Francisco.

Copyright©2003-2006 Igor Polk
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