The Collective Blog
Why start The Collective?
05 Feb 2021 - by Graham
When I first started teaching dance it was in a LeRoc (modern jive) class. How I got there is a story in itself and would be too much detail to go into right now, but importantly I decided that before I started teaching I would make sure that I was a formally qualified dance teacher. I took an exam through The LeRoc Federation and a few weeks later I got a certificate through the post saying that I was fully qualified to teach LeRoc.
A while later, through a somewhat unexpected series of events, I found myself teaching tango. And so I set off in search of an equivalent 'tango teaching' qualification that I could do. I assumed that with all the history and tradition that surrounds tango there would certainly be somewhere that I could go to take some sort of tango teacher training and an appropriate qualification to go with it, but it turns out that I was wrong. No such course or exam existed anywhere that I could see, and so I was left trying to figure things out on my own.
I have spent most of my life working in and around Quality Assurance, and I know the value of a well thought out training programme. It is not just about ticking a box and being able to show people a certificate pinned to the wall (although that is nice too), as much as it is about having some kind of assurance that you have thought of all the things that you might have missed. We all know that being an excellent dancer is no measure of being an excellent teacher as many of the things that make a good teacher have nothing to do with your dance skills at all. Can you communicate ideas successfully and clearly to a range of people with differing innate abilities? Do you know what might be dangerous and what would be safe in a variety of situations? Do you know how to talk and listen at the same time? What are the relative benefits of teaching from a stage compared to teaching from the middle of the group? These are all important skills for a teacher, but have very little to do with your ability to dance. So how do you learn them?
It is perfectly possible to cover all this if you also dance one of the other styles where there is a recognised teaching path you can take. You could qualify as a ballroom dance teacher and most of the things you learned there would be just as applicable to tango, but of course you would also have to learn how to ballroom dance to a qualifying level, and so for many of us that is simply not practical or desirable. You can go to general training schools and learn presentation, communication, interaction, safety, kinesiology, and more, but you would have to shop around to find all those courses and in the confusion you may well miss something important.
So what if someone could bring all the relevant courses into one place and make them available to anyone who wants to learn to teach tango? What if they could also develop specific training material and resources to help people run their dance schools in a safe and legally compliant way? What if someone could do for tango what has been done for so many other dance styles and industry sectors and give people a central pool of resources from which they can learn?
And that is the idea behind what has become The Neotango Collective. I hope to bring all the experience I have gained over the years in quality assurance and developing training material into developing the Collective into a valuable and informative resource pool for anyone who teaches tango already or wants to learn how to teach tango and run a dance school.
With your support and involvement we can grow this into something really useful.
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