December 23rd 2009
Compared to last year, it's mostly been a year of "small changes" for me, rather than big step changes.
That said, there have been a couple of Big Things as well...
Definitely a "big change" thing for me - this year, I started teaching!
I've kept to the basics, I've kept the classes small and low-key, and I've kept it course-focussed rather than drop-in. All that has helped me "dip my toe" into the world of teaching, and overally I'm enjoying the experience immensely.
I've learnt a lot from teaching. To properly teach something, it's not enough to be able to dance it as demonstration, or even to lead it on a student. You have to understand what's happening at each point in each step, for both leader and follower, and you have to be able to explain this to the students, clearly. So that forces you to analyse these things in detail. I learnt a lot about the mechanics of simply leading an ocho, for example - one of those lessons being that there's no "simply" in leading an ocho.
I helped set up the Room practice sessions - now ably managed by Chris - as an ongoing monthly venture.
I guess one thing I've learned from organising these events is that most people don't really want to spend time practicing. But we've built up a small group of dedicated attendees, and I think we've learnt a lot from the process.
Obviously, I've continued managing this site. I'd actually been meaning to do something along these lines for about a year before I did anything, so that speaks volumes about my decisiveness and swiftness of action...
I've had a large number of article contribtions this year; several hundred by my count. People like Chris and the bloggers have made this site far more than just a set of subjective comments from one person.
Over the New Year, I plan to revamp this site, and to create a new site "Learning Tango", which will contain many of the purely-Tango articles from this site. I'll retain "Jivetango", of course, for the fusion areas, but my sense is that a lot of the new content is more appropriate to learning Tango.
Another one in the "incremental" camp.
This has continued, with steady numbers of attendees. I've even managed to start playing some traditional tracks now without scaring people away...
It's also been great to be able to teach a class, and then provide a practice environment later on in the evening for students.
Yet more incrementalism.
We acquired approximately 130 members to the group, and we now have a regular, self-sustaining group, with between 20-30 people there at Negracha's, on the first Friday of each month.
In short, it's been a great success.
I went to two weekenders this year; the Rockbottoms Jive/Tango one in May, and the Tango Mango in October.
Both enjoyable, in different ways. I shall hope to do a few more next year.
- David Bailey, December 23rd 2009
And from 2008...