That’s when we realize how much we actually know when beginners start coming to us for help. For so long we’ve grown accustomed to being the ones seeking knowledge. Now it’s disorienting to find ourselves dispensing it.
Too often, experienced dancers are short with beginners. And they use a tone of voice that implies frustration when newcomers “don’t get it.”
Even though we might be right in showing beginners how to tango the right way, we’re presenting the information in a way that makes our community appear exclusive…or even snobbish. This can turn away a lot of good people, then we’ll be left wondering why our tango community is dwindling.
When we encounter motivated beginners, we can generally infer several things:
Beginners don’t need us to be hard-asses. What they need from us (but what they usually never ask for) is patience.
Patience is often conflated with coddling and a tolerance for sloppiness when, in fact, it is quite the opposite. Being patient means we understand that no one masters something like tango over the course of a few lessons and practicas. Patience is about knowing when to give feedback, and when to let the beginner’s own self-critical thought process fill in the blanks.
Learning tango and explaining it are two different things. The key to doing both of them well lies with patience.