Don't Save Me

"Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett

Four different advertisements telling me if I take this or that tango class/workshop/intensivo, I will:

- get immediate results!
- save years of learning!
- experience efficient technique training!
- advance faster than ever!

The classes fill up fast, so there must be quite a market for efficient tango learning.

Is it just me that thinks the words "tango" and "efficient" should never be in the same sentence?
Learn tango faster?
Are we racing?
There is no end (thank God) - so what are we saving years from? Or for?
Isn't the journey the point?

I don't want to be saved the time, or the years . . .
or the mistakes.
Mistakes take me deeper,
reveal something more . . .

Our miles make our tango.
Our dance tells our story.
How fast would we want to make that?

"In life as in dance: Grace glides on blistered feet."
- - Alice Abrams

(Image courtesy of


Christine--RHP said...

Totally agree that the mistakes take us deeper. I'm so 'filled up' from every class, every practica and every milonga, there is so much going on at every level: technique, socially, connection, embrace, discussions, new 'aha!'s all the time, new observations about myself and my ego and my issues and abilities. Unexpected joy and bliss. Unanticipated stalls and stumbling blocks. This is a very rich journey for me. I certainly don't want to shorten it.
--now, the guys, on the other hand, I can see why they would succumb to this sort of advertising. They have a tougher row to hoe in the first few years of tango. And it's really hard on the ego to suck at this. A lot of my friends, especially the guys we all started dancing with told me that had they known how difficult and long this was gonna be, they probably wouldn't have signed up.

Marika said...

Christine - Agreed and agreed. I've heard similar sentiments from leaders - usually accompanied by the statement, "I'm glad I didn't know." They're happy they stayed with it - but it is definitely brutal on the ego.

Jane Prusakova said...

I think immediate results are good. Efficient teaching technique is definitely better than inefficient teaching technique.

I am less inclined to believe in "saving years of learning" or "advancing faster than ever" (why on earth would they think I was slow before?) - that's just advertising BS.

But in general, we want our teachers to be good and efficient and help us achieve results sooner rather than later. So what that the journey doesn't have a destination, we still want to be moving along. While getting good at AT (or anything else worth learning, really) is not a race nor a competition, it is a flow - and it needs to be moving in order to be satisfying.

Mistakes are part of learning, but repeating and reinforcing mistakes is a hallmark of a stalled learning. In order for our mistakes to teach us anything, we need to know how to learn - and good teachers w/ efficient teaching techniques can help.

Marika said...

Jane - thank you for your comments - you make great points. I think it's so important to separate really great teaching methods from very poor marketing. Tough to do in any industry.