IMHO number 1 – Time perspective
This is a shout out to Oliver Kolker whose blog has been as inspiration to me. He signs it with this acronym IMHO which stands for ‘In my humble opinion’ and it has inspired me to write a post that is more revelatory than usual. Here is the link to his blog : http://oliverkolker.wordpress.com/ Oliver, if you read this, I won’t use your acronym all the time, just this once; this series I mean :0
So, here goes….
For some time now I have been thinking about many issues concerning Tango. I would like to offer my insight on a few of them and hopefully, in the best of worlds, it will be helpful for some or provoke thought in others. Since I have been dancing tango and have been an active organizer in the Montreal Tango community for the last 17 years (yee gods!), I have perspective…. ….time perspective that is; and this is a key issue in this post which is addressed to all but specifically with the Montreal Tango community in mind.
Time is something that is often taken for granted in Tango. For those of us who have put our guts into this we know how hard we have worked to get to where we are at with our Tango. If you have only been dancing for three or fours years, you may not realize that Tango has been in Montreal for 25 years already…a quarter of a century! So there is a history that you might not be aware of, but it is there and it is interesting and it is important.
This history is something that should be taken into consideration by new organizers, students and teachers; unfortunately, this is not always the case. I would like to invite you to view the first minute of the following clip from You Tube on the life of Rita Hayworth (one of my idols) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFKSmzeIuBQ. Did you hear how Nicole Kidman spoke between .24 and .45 seconds? She says: ‘It is so important that we remember those who brought us here…’
If the Tango community in Montreal has grown in importance to the point it has today, it is because someone did something right at some point in time. Collectively I think the people who put the roots of tango in place did and are still doing a great job. Students and potential students should be aware of who are the key people in this community, who are teachers that have extensive body training and have truly worked on the pedagogy of teaching tango. The fact that a school has aggressive marketing does not make it a great school.
When I started dancing I was so awed by the dancers before me that it took me a long time to gain confidence in tango. I remember my first teacher from Argentina, the late Andrea Missé, she was my age but had so much tango in her! I was profoundly touched by her as a teacher/ dancer but mostly as a person. I remember after one of her performances she was standing alone at the bar, and she seemed so angry all the while containing herself with the elegance she always had. But she was not happy with the performance and she shared her thoughts with me on the subject for a few minutes. I loved how she allowed herself to be angry and say it…from my past experience, I had learnt to keep my mouth shut. Just those two minutes changed me and gave me have more confidence. Later on during the trip she said to me ‘You should be proud of what you have done in Tango for the short time you have been dancing’. Here we were, two young women with such vastly different backgrounds in tango and hearing these words from her has undeniably contributed to the dancer I am today. I was strengthened by her visit, and I must say I was never the same, but in a good way. She was, without knowing it, a mentor to me for that short visit.
Mentorship is one of the most important concepts in our society. I personally have had a few younger teachers start at my school and slowly we mentor them so that what they propagate is coherent with what tango has been in the past as well as what it is growing to be. It is imperative that the experienced teachers/dancers transmit their knowledge to the next generation of teachers/dancers who will in turn carry it to the future students…….and here I mean knowledge in all aspects of tango. I thank those younger teachers who have had the confidence in me to be part of their training; in fact it has been a privilege for me.
But this brings me to the following question: What do we do when some think they know it all and we are just an old dusty book that has no interest in being read?