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January 12, 2010

Dilemma of having visiting instructors

Some comments I read recently on Facebook got me thinking.

Why do people persist in bringing in foreign instructors once the tango community has reached a semi-sustainable size? I mean, isn’t the role of providing instructions largely met by local instructors**?

Secondly, for a businesses, schools, etc., bringing in overseas instructors makes perfect business sense as it helps to maintain members’ interests. However, for people not having vested interests, why bother doing it when there is a (somewhat higher and unnecessary) financial risk with every venture?

From my experience of having been involved in hosting and financing periodic visits by overseas instructors to Singapore for the past three years, my foremost reason is that such instructors bring a fresh set of ideas. However, we also need to be realistic to how much of an effect this can have. Visit by world-famous instructors generally create a surge in interest, however they can’t shape the community in the long run. That job is left to the local teachers. Unfortunately if these same local teachers are unwilling or unable to propagate such new ideas – by participating in the workshops as a minimum requirement – then the influence from each overseas instructor can be lost in a relatively short time.

**To the extent that people can move proficiently in local milongas.

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