A long time ago, I once had a teacher who berated me for not knowing how to lead a molinete. Never mind that it was only my second lesson ever, and I hadn’t even learned the embrace (yet he insisted that I was registered with the correct group).

Naturally, I soon realized that it was kind of silly to pay someone to yell at me for not understanding things that I’d never learned about in the first place. So the following week, when the teacher left an angry voicemail asking why I hadn’t shown up to class, I decided it might be a good idea to tango elsewhere.

We may dislike an instructor so much that we never take a lesson from him/her again. We may even go so far as to picture them as boss villains every time we pick up a first-person shooter video game, or think vividly of them while watching documentaries about critters that dwell in dark, moldy places.

Although personally liking a good teacher is ideal, there is also value to be gained when we’re unfortunate enough to come across a bad really crappy one.

In that first tango class, I actually did come away with some useful knowledge (although not related to dancing). For instance, I learned early on about the importance of choosing the right teacher, and especially how not to run a class. Years later, as I started instructing my own students, I made an extra effort to be sensitive to a beginner’s discomfort and apprehension – probably something I might not have done had I never encountered Psycho Tango-Man.

I could go on about many other tidbits I “learned” from that character, but you get the point (and probably thought of some anecdotes of your own).

Putting our personal feelings aside after a finishing a really bad class, the question we should ask ourselves is: “What did we get out of it?”

This is not the same as looking for silver linings. Bad experiences are simply bad, but if we think a little more deeply, we can use those negative experiences to build better ones. And more often than not, we’re likely to realize that our present, and future, successes might not be achievable without them.



One thought on “BUT WHAT DID WE GET OUT OF IT?

  1. Joe,
    Thanks for another great post. I share your work with my dance partner, who’s learning to lead.

    I’m commenting today, though, to see if I can ask you a question for some research I’m doing for an upcoming post. I don’t see a contact here on your blog. If I may contact you, could you reply here or write me at chasingtheembrace AT gmail DOT com ?

    Best, La Tanguerita


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