Rommel and I just returned from 5 days in Anchorage, Alaska teaching and enjoying their first snow, or more honestly enjoying it from the window of our lovely host’s house! We had a sunny day, a rainy day and a couple of snowy days!
We taught 5 classes ranging from technique to milonga and simple dancing patterns enhancing the concepts we were focused on.
It was amazing to teach to such an open and receptive community and to receive the support of their more “senior” members.
Sometimes you teach a class and well, frankly, I can feel the resistance to try something new or to embrace a different concept. And I think this is natural on some level but you have to gain students’ trust as an essential part of learning.
Rommel (as always) made his way around the room during the 2 milongas, dancing with all the ladies who attended the classes. His endless enthusiasm and energy are admirable. And clearly the results were mentionable. Community members noted his active participation in the milongas, not as an observer but as a dancer. I find that it is easier for him as a male to ask the ladies to dance. I find that being a woman teacher that often the leaders in a community are shy and tentative to ask the visiting teacher to dance at a milonga. I think this is ok. I think the leader mentality is that he needs to feel confident and not intimidated to ask someone to dance and to this measure I have found that if I pursue this as the guest that it often feels like pressure for the leader. (I know that I feel stressed sometimes as a leader in a new community!) I did make my rounds on Friday night dancing with all the ladies who attended the class at this lovely community-centered-house milonga.
The highlights of the weekend were many – our hosts’ fabulous cooking and always having food for us, the openness of the dancers in the classes, the moose that crossed our path, the home studios and Café that were generously offered as teaching spaces and milonga venues. We had 22 people dancing at the same time at the Saturday night milonga – very fun!
Some things that we hope the dancers will remember are: the tango attitude; all the things you can do with a dowel rod; the importance of their standing legs and their axis positions 1, 2, 3 (3, 2, 1); 50% “up” and embracing the partner and 50% “grounding” or reaching constantly into the earth, and to keep having fun dancing!
Rommel adds: Precision, Practice and Patience; and when all else fails “cross-training”!
Until we see you again Anchorage – maybe via skype for a practica or in Phoenix – keep dancing!
Teaching for us is about building relationships and we so enjoyed embracing tango with you.Read more