We learn tango from teachers, but it’s also important to learn from fellow students. It’s less intimidating to ask for help from a peer than an instructor, and often it’s more practical since our teachers aren’t available all the time.
Here are 3 things to keep in mind when our fellow tango friends start asking us for help:
You don’t need permission
There are no absolute authorities in tango, and sometimes even the “experts” aren’t 100% sure on how to answer every question. When someone asks us for help, we shouldn’t feel we need some sort of special certification. Nor do we need near-professional dancing skills. Of course, there’s no telling how effective our help will be, but that shouldn’t stop us from giving it our best shot.
“I don’t know” is not a bad thing
Much of what we learn will come from experimenting. Therefore, it’s okay to admit that we don’t have complete knowledge of how a particular figure works. “I don’t know” isn’t a dead end in tango. It’s an invitation to try figuring things out, and the starting point that eventually leads to a solution.
Beginners are still going to stumble, even if our guidance is clear and logical. It’s easy to get frustrated with them after a while, but let’s resist the urge to write anyone off as hopeless. Earlier in our dancing journey, we also stumbled. And a teacher or peer was patient with us until we got it, so it’s only right that we extend the same courtesy to others.
Helping others isn’t just about being nice, having good manners, or fostering community spirit. It’s a useful way of putting our own skills and knowledge to the test. Generally, we’ll surprise ourselves about how little – or how much – we truly know.
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