Saturday, September 17, 2016

How to Choose a Tango Teacher

Disclaimer: I am a tango teacher. I think I am a pretty good one. Over 20 years of dancing Tango, I have taken classes from many excellent teachers, and from teachers that did not impress me. Over the years I have tried to incorporate teaching techniques from the best teachers, while avoiding the worst mistakes. So here is what I look for in a Tango teacher.

 How well do their students dance? Equally important, DO their students dance? This is the first thing I look for. Go to a milonga. Watch the dancing. When you see a good dancer, ask where they learned their Tango, and what local teachers they recommend.

 Once you have some recommendations, it is time to check out a class or two. Here are some things I look for.

 Does the teacher talk for most of the class? Find another teacher. Students learn by dancing. If the students are not dancing for more that half the class time, go elsewhere.

 How clearly does the teacher explain things? This is very subjective. Can YOU understand the concepts the teacher is trying to impart?

 How is the class pacing? Does the teacher spend enough time covering a topic before moving on? Do you feel overwhelmed with material? Conversely, does the class drag to the point where you are frustrated and bored? Again, this is subjective. Students learn at different rates, and teachers have to try to accommodate multiple learning speeds. So look for a teacher whose pacing works for you.

 Can the teacher lead and follow equally well? If not, they cannot teach each part equally well.

 Do you like the teacher? In the long run this is very important. I have taken some excellent weekend workshops from teachers whose personalities rub me the wrong way. But over time personality conflicts do matter.

 Do your research. If you are lucky you either live in a community where you have multiple choices, or the local teacher is a good fit. But do not hesitate to travel reasonable distances to find a good teacher, rather than settling for someone who doesn't work for you.S


  1. Barbara is an excellent Argentine Tango teacher! Sorry that she is leaving Rochester! ~ Antoinette G.

  2. I started with Barb several years ago back when she was in Rochester. Her lessons have served me well even after dancing all over the world and taking lessons from many of the most famous teachers of tango.

    James M