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December 7, 2005


Feedback loop

During one of the recent practica sessions, as I was commenting to someone (in response to her reaction to my lead) that my dancing appeared to be slowly but surely taking on different characteristics, it occurred to me that this transformation coincided with the increased teaching responsibilities. The need to teach has forced me to critically examine how I perform certain actions, in order to isolate and emphasize specific elements as well as to conjure up exercises which hopefully can speed up the learning. In particular, I feel that I have benefited greatly from my own interpretation of the “power walk” – leading with emphasis on chest while holding back the legs. I guess this is the result of unconsciously concentrating on certain characteristics in my walk, leading, etc!?

This observation also ties in very nicely with my belief in experiential learning. I feel that an effective learning process must, apart from clear and concise instructions initially, include ample opportunities for hard and repetitive practice and finally lots of room to make mistakes! Points 2, 3, 4 and 6 from Rules of Effective Practice come to mind.

Distilled wisdom is always a good thing to have, but when handed down too early it may impede the learning. Acquired knowledge is never truly yours unless you can live and breathe it, and that requires some sweat and frustration – as far as dancing is concerned. Alas, gone are the days when the instructor can demand hours of hard work, when students nowadays can pick and choose the ones who are less demanding and can make them feel good…

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1 Comment
  1. belinda-tang
    Dec 19 2005

    Well said regarding the learning process. It is easy to take the enjoyable aspects of tango and dance from milonga to milonga. It is easy to forget that the practica exist for a reason vis-a-vis to try out and practise new skill sets. Even though we may not necessarily use the more experimental steps on the social dance floor, the demands of training and process of experimental learning will strengthen the tango body and open new perspectives that will propel growth.

    It is said with one lesson you can dance waltz poorly; it takes many lessons to dance tango poorly. Practice helps!

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