Skip to main content

Planet Teacher and the "Top Table"

Travelling as much as we do we tend to see patterns repeating themselves in various cities around the world. One of these is Planet Teacher, a place of rarefied atmosphere where reality takes on an altered perspective.
Another is the Top Table phenomenon. These two patterns tend to go hand in hand. It's an understandable human behaviour, but while they are good for the egos of those at their centres they don't do much for the development of the local dance scenes. There's not a lot of dignity in them, either.

It's a really big deal for a lot of people to be seen as teachers. I've actually greeted people at our practicas and had them tell me in their first breath that they are a teacher from another town. It sounds a bit sad and needy, but there you go.

Some of these people lose perspective by knowing more than someone else. They seem to feel that they have achieved membership of an elite, and we see many of them in various cities lose interest in dancing with lesser mortals. This doesn't usually mean they are good dancers eg the teacher that we saw in Paris dancing with a Young Pretty Girl (a YPG). He couldn't actually lead her into a giro and had to explain to her what he wanted her to do, pointing to where she should step. He had a very superior attitude but didn't seem to feel that it was in conflict with his inability to lead.... He was definitely on Planet Teacher.

Anyway, these people tend to cluster in cliques. They quite often sit together and in many cities only dance with each other. This is the Top Table phenomenon. These tables usually attract the young and pretty who don't usually dance very well but who qualify for inclusion by...being young and pretty. It's all a bit sad. What is even sadder is the allied phenomenon of new teachers of low ability inviting more experienced teachers to their dances on the proviso that they sit with them at their table. This is like offering your lunch money to the cool kids at school so that you can sit with them for a while. Oh dear....

One way of combating this kind of silliness, if combat is your thing, is by learning from good teachers and passing on what you know to as many people as possible. The effect is that the level of the surrounding dance scene rises and the Top Table loses relevance because most people dance better than them. I heartily advocate this kind of thing!


Popular posts from this blog

Advice for Followers

This post is about the most common questions that I'm asked about following.  It's a companion piece to my Advice for Leaders post. Read both, especially if you don't do both, because you need at least some perspective into the other half of the dance if you wish to improve.  My apologies for the use of gender when describing leaders and followers, sometimes my typing fingers get tired.  Regarding 'style', I've posted elsewhere on this site about that but suffice it to say that this advice is for a tango approach where a leader and follower move together to build a dance that is greater than both of them.
My post on leading talks about accepting followers as they are, strengths and weaknesses, just like in the movie Bridget Jones' Diary (one of my faves). However, followers can be on the receiving end of some pretty dreadful technique which sometimes means that they have to react rather than follow. 
Having said that, you should always be trying to give you…

Starting Out as a Tango DJ

Have you ever wished that more of your kind of music was played at milongas? Maybe you'd like to try being a DJ? Today's DJs tend to be tomorrow's organizers and it's always good to have a number of experienced, confident DJs in a dance scene.

As far as gathering music is concerned I regularly check demos on YouTube, not for the dancing but for the music. If I like it I'll check my collection in case I've missed it and then buy it from iTunes. I like to pay for my music and iTunes has mountains of tango music now.

The great thing about online music is that you get to sample the first minute for free. I only listen to the first 30 seconds, usually, because I want my dancers to be enthusiastic and if they're not captured in 30 seconds then it's probably not going to happen.

You'll be able to spend happy hours sifting through Donato, Pugliese, Canaro, Troilo, Biagi, Rodriguez, Calo, D'Arienzo...there are soooo many great songs!

The big thing is to…

My Garden of Linkly Delights!

I've been sending out links on a weekly email list for a few years now, as well as to my Sacada TangoFacebook page and the New Zealand Facebook page Tango Dancers.
Many of them were archived into a post on this blog A Few of my Favourite Things where I organised them into coherent groups. This post is where I shall put them in future as an archive. They'll tend to look like a bit of a grab bag but I prefer to think of them as a wilderness garden... ___________________________________________________________________________
After watching far too much choreo this week, even if it’s only a few seconds at a time, it’s nice to watch a bit of Ricardo Vidort
And here’s Ismael Heljalil dancing to No me extraña

Nice timing! Milva Bernardi y Juan Lencina

Oh no...

Tango dre…