Wednesday, 9 January 2013

New Year tango news, good things to come.

Happy New Year! I hope you're well, enjoyed some time relaxing with friends and family and are already successfully working off the mince pies (if perhaps you over-indulged, like I did). Read on for the first Tango Lingua update of the year..

In brief

Monday sessions have resumed. A big welcome to all the new beginners! For existing students, remember this is also a mixed class, so you're welcome to come too.

Wednesday sessions resume this evening, 8pm, upstairs at the Slug and Lettuce. (See for map)

Workshops and more coming up soon!

For those who I couldn't see in Dec, and any others interested, I now have some space to take new private lesson bookings.

2012 review

Let me first say what a thoroughly enjoyable occasion the Xmas social was, thanks to everyone to made it along! It was great to have the opportunity to get to know each other a bit better.

Of course for some who came, it was the first ever milonga attended, so a big congratulations there for diving in and having fun!

Which brings me to the Xmas special sessions - a chance to try some dynamic nuevo tango movements. It seems that those who came really enjoyed it, so if you'd like more of that sort of thing (with the usual breakdown of technique - of course) let me know.

As for the rest of the year, well, it was rather eventful on the tango front. One of the clear highlights of my whole year has been the pleasure I've had teaching everyone, and seeing much progress in your dancing.

As a tango school, Tango Lingua is still young, beginning in 2010, and I feel I've grown along with my students since then. 2012 was the year professional performances and even a bit of film work started coming in, which was quite exciting for me. I was also very happy to do some traveling again to further develop my own skills, at the teachers training event with Homer and Cristina Ladas in Holland.

In 2012 I started offering afternoon workshops in Southampton, which I've got some very positive feedback about (so you can look forward to more of those in the months to come), as well as in London.

Towards the end of the year there was an unfortunate and unplanned series of venue changes, sometimes a new venue each week (and not always with such a great floor)... Well since November things have been settled, I'm extremely relieved to say!

Currently we have two lovely venues. On Mondays the StudioSo dance studio, and on Wednesdays upstairs at the Slug and Lettuce (see for a map). Both offer a fantastic space to learn and dance. So if you've not come for a while because you found the constant venue changes last year a bit much, but you're still interested in learning tango, come and check out our beautiful new venues!

Lift sharing to milongas (social dances) often makes the journey so much more doable, so I set up an editable map to help students and dancers do just that:
The map tool, with a simple guide to using it, can be viewed here: and the link to be a collaborator (i.e. add your details and make use of it), once you're signed in to your Google account is:
If you have any problems with it let me know! If everyone who has asked me about it so far, added their details it would be a well populated page, so do please put yourself on the map!

Lastly, towards the end of the year I set in motion a plan to evolve the Tango Lingua approach to teaching and learning tango.. more of that later.


Following on from the success of last year's 'Technique Booster' workshop series, I'm planning on the next one for the 3rd weekend of February (16th, 17th). Now, as several people have asked about it before, I'd like to put the idea out there of making this a 2 day event, where we'd run both Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 1-5pm. If you like the sound of that, let me know now. Otherwise it will be the usual single afternoon workshop (day TBC).

For anyone who will be in London or fancies traveling I'm running another tango workshop with Liz Bayley on Sunday 10th February, 2-5pm (followed by a 1 hour practica) in Highbury & Islington. For full details and booking see:
Tango Magic workshop, learn Argentine Tango in London with Liz Bayley and Joe Hudson

A new way of teaching and learning tango

Back in December I fielded the idea of offering the opportunity for students to develop their tango learning, by also assisting in teaching elements of tango to other students.

From my martial arts background this was the model for each club. E.g orange belts taught the white belts, greens taught the oranges, blues the purples, and so on, while the sensei supervised, organized the content of the class, made corrections to each group and did demos. It actually worked extremely well (and most likely has done for centuries). When you teach something, with an attitude of sincerely wanting to pass on understanding in the best way you can, you re-learn what you're teaching, thus deepening your knowledge.

It's not about having to be a master to teach, it's about sharing what knowledge you do have, and helping yourself by helping others.

Since Dec I've had a range of feedback, most of it very positive, but also some concerns. The concerns as I understood them centered around, on the one hand being afraid of being in the spot light and taking on some of the responsibility of a teacher (when you came to learn in the first place!), or not knowing where to begin. On the other, some students have had experiences in other tango schools where students tried to teach them or a friend something and it resulted in confusion, frustration, upset or a loss of confidence - which obviously I'd like to avoid here!

Firstly, if you decide you'd like to try this, clear guidance will be given and you will start very gently. In fact I plan to run special coaching sessions for those who want to take part in this. I've already had about half a dozen express interest, so if you can confirm that to me ASAP then I'll go ahead and organize things. My belief is that these sessions will help avoid the potential pitfalls of a more distributed teaching and learning model, while maximizing the benefits for everyone.

What will the special coaching sessions involve you ask? (Cue evil laughter "mwahahahaaaa"). Well... a mixture of role play, practicing teaching the rest of the group different elements of tango, giving each other constructive feedback, focused revision of basic technique so you can reliably and clearly pass it on, as well as dance it, along with exploring how different approaches and attitudes to teaching affect the learning outcomes.

It will be fun, challenging and priced to be affordable for anyone who is interested. It will most likely be organized as a 6 week course on a Tuesday evening, but that's subject to change. The sessions will be open to anyone who has completed a Tango Lingua beginner course, or otherwise been coming to lessons regularly for a few months.

Other news

On Saturday afternoon, January 26th, I've been invited by the Wellcome Collection in London once again to perform in their 'Rhythm is a Dancer' series with Liz Bayley. The last one was a great success, and they asked us back for the finale event!
Details here:
Move your Soul
If you're interested in coming, it's free, but you need to book now (see above link).

Re the Tango Tone-Up classes, due to other work commitments I'm having to put them on hold for now, as fun as they've been. I'm really sorry to disappoint anyone who was looking forward to them continuing. I hope to return to the concept again in the future. Meanwhile if you want to join me for some exercise you're welcome along to the Southampton Body Weight Training group meetups in the Common, where we meet to do a full body workout on the bars :) Ask me in class if the want more info on that.

Enjoy your dancing, take care, and I hope to see you soon,