Why take more classes with the same visiting teacher?

I have often overheard this on the dance floor, "Oh, I ALREADY studied with that person!" when two dancers are discussing a visiting teacher. As someone with over 20 years of tango experience, here is my two cents.

Booster shots

When I study with someone repeatedly, I get booster shots of technique. Sometimes, it's a reminder of what I have forgotten to do from the last time I took lessons. Sometimes, it's a new detail that I can now master because I have improved. Sometimes, it's a new move/technique/idea that the teacher has incorporated since I last studied with that person.

With Jose Garofalo, I first studied with him in 1999. I learned a ton that summer in his group classes in Buenos Aires, along with some private lessons (I was a very poor graduate student, so there weren't many). Some of the things he taught me that summer are still part of how I teach, especially for milonga. I have returned to work with him over the years, and each time, I have learned more. As my level improves, so does my ability to benefit from his wealth of knowledge.

Don't be in a rush

I need time to calibrate to a new teacher. If I only take one class, or one weekend, or one private lesson, I have only started to figure out how that teacher works. To be fair to them and to myself, I need to dig in a bit more to really benefit my dance.

A good example of this is my husband's West Coast Swing teacher. He wanted to take lessons together, so we chose West Coast Swing, and we went to her. At the first lesson, I didn't like her at all. I have been dancing West Coast Swing on and off since 1990, and her approach was unlike any of my other teachers. But I knew that my husband really liked learning from her, so I shut up and danced. After a few lessons, I began to see how good she was and why he thought I would like her. After a few months of lessons, I took some of the ideas I was learning from her, and put them into my teaching. If I had quit after that first lesson, I would have never reached a new level of fluidity in my dance that I really treasure.

Teachers learn too!

Don't write someone off permanently because you didn't like them once. A good teacher constantly tries to improve as a teacher. That means that a teacher you already liked may be even better a year or two later. Someone who showed promise, but wasn't very good yet, may have become a good teacher in the years between visits.

A great example of that is my favorite Barre 3 instructor, Andrew. When I first took his class, he was a bit like a drill sergeant, but didn't have a great grasp of the body. A year later, I went to Andrew's class again--and he was really improved! He got more out of me than most teachers because he was still pretty intense, but now he understood how the body worked more. Now, three years later, he is my favorite instructor. I can really see how he has grown as a teacher. I can see how passionate he is about what he does. And his class is exhausting in a good way.

Why I will be at Jose's classes

I only organize teacher with whom I have personally studied, and that I feel are really good teachers. I want to offer my students additional opportunities to learn AND I want to learn, too! I am not just organizing Jose's classes, I am studying with him, looking for new ideas, approaches and moves that I can help my students with after he leaves. I hope to see you at his classes too! The list of classes is here, and the registration is here.