[Tango-L] Breaking the 'paso basico.'

dchester@charter.net dchester at charter.net
Wed Feb 13 18:26:19 EST 2008

I find this thread very interesting, because a year ago when I first started on my new hobby, I soon realized that people had some strong opinions about the 8CB.  All the Argentinian teachers I encountered, used it, but only one American teacher did (with all the others saying it was blasphamy or some other such rhetoric).  The main reason used for denigrating it seemed to be because of starting off with the big back step (and it shouldn't be done in a milonga).

Maybe because I played sports, or maybe because I have played musical instruments, but I have no issue with the concept of a teaching drill being different from what you would do during a game or a performance.  In learning a musical instrument, we play scales in various keys, although you don't do that in any songs that you play.  In sports, there are all kinds of drills that improve your skills, but you don't do them on the field.  Is tango really so different?

I will say that I agree that the best dancers don't always make the best teachers, and I also don't agree that the only things of value (with respect to Tango) were created in Argentina, (50 years ago).  I think people should be encouraged to find new and better ways to teach this dance (and without seeing what people like Nina and Tom are doing in place of the 8CB, we really have no clue if the methods are better or not). 

To me, the 8CB is just a drill, or a teaching aid, and it's perfectly clear that you don't take large back steps unless you are sure you have the room to do it.  FWIW, I suspect that the 8CB has little to do with why Argentines are so much better than Americans at Tango (but it doesn't appear to have hurt the Argentines very much).  

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