In my many years of teaching tango, occasionally I have had students come and tell me that they were dropping out of my class because of some overly eager fellow student who was trying to individually “teach” and “coach” them while the class was going on, and they found it to be distracting, confusing and annoying. Unfortunately, I have never had the opposite happen where a student came and told me that they particularly liked my class because one of the other students was constantly giving advice.
I am aware that tango dancers are incredibly passionate about “their” dance, and want desperately for their partner (if not the whole world) to fall in love with tango and immediately learn everything. Furthermore, I should be very clear that I am not opposed to students teaching their own class in the community–in fact I encourage it. However, within my own class and in my particular style of teaching, I try to focus on a single aspect of the dance, explain it clearly, and then provide beginners an opportunity to practice and become successful at this single aspect. Thus, I need to gently ask students in my class to support me in this style of teaching and learning.
I’m also aware that for a more “experienced” tanguero to continually practice the fundamentals over and over with a beginner can be a bit tedious. However, when I find myself in this situation (and I often do take beginner classes), I try to focus on exactly what the instructor is teaching or explaining, and I try to see how perfect and sublime I can make it feel to my follower. Then, after the dance if over, I ask my follower how it felt, if my lead was clear, and if she has any suggestions of how I could improve.