Sunday, 15 November 2009

Adrian and Amanda Costa - now with transcript

Danny asked for a transcript of this interview in the comments on the previous post; I find it pretty hard to hear, myself, so I should think he's right about not being the only one. I've done my best below, I can't hear every word (Amanda is clearest) but I think I've got all the sense.

CLAIRE LOEWE: What is tango-salon for you, if you could essentially say what is important for you about tango-salón?

ADRIAN: For me tango-salón is, the first, be able to respect the people dancing, I mean, what I think about social dancing, about respect for the other ones; is be able to dance with the music and really know what you are doing with the music; is trying to do that with elegance, and make the womans feeling like a queen.

CLAIRE: [To Amanda]: And do you feel like a queen?

AMANDA: Yes, In his arms yes! Depends on the man. But for me, it's more, the walk; and how a couple can be, er, to share the space with the others; and the, the harmony with the couple and with the others and with the music; and not ... with together, not .. in [inaudible] in opposition with all that.

CLAIRE: All of those things are things you've become very well known for here, people are crazy about you, your musicality, I think until you both came here there hasn't been a teacher really, who has clearly spoken about the musicality, [inaudible] you've spoken about the music, and also about the floorcraft, you know, how every single figure fits in with the direction, the first things, it feels like, you've taken tango a level up in London, singlehandedly, the two of you, have done that because your teaching is so clear. So, I really want to thank you for that, if I see the dance which you've brought [inaudible] to our school here, [inaudible] ... hopefully, my students, they're respecting each other, I hope there's no fighting going on as we're talking here, maybe, behind us, there's somebody ... it looks pretty good.

AMANDA: They are walking!

ADRIAN: [inaudible]

CLAIRE: They're in their lanes. And they're doing - how are they doing? [inaudible] the experience of teaching here?

AMANDA: In this place, it's very easy because you gave all the fundamental things, the ball-room, the technique of the ball-room, the embrace, the posture, the walk, so, it's easier. In the other part of London, it's more like a fight. But - we win, together. We win sometimes - not win, it's not a fight, but, we convince to do less, and with more quality, than more, and without quality. There are more ... [fades out].


Anonymous said...

Why is everyone gushing about A&A? Everyone I speak to is head over heels! They've forsaken their teachers, given up bread, sold their homes and are walking barefoot to the font of A&A!

Are they really that amazing?

Will they still be in favour a year from now?

londontango said...

@ Anon
Have you ever had a class with A&A?

LimerickTango said...

Because they really are charming, elegant and graceful not only in their dancing but in their teaching and in themselves.

[Declaration of interest] I hosted Adrian & Amanda this weekend

Anonymous said...

A&A are wonderful, charming, elegant etc but I think what really distinguishes them is their structured approach to teaching. They have certain beliefs in what is important and they have really thought about how to teach it in an accessible and fun way. They stick to their principles. I admire that. Their popularity shows that it's not the students that don't want to focus on the fundamentals, such as the walk and musicality.

pranonse said...

Just a sideways thought - I'm used to teachers saying "so and so is the greatest AT dancer who ever lived - even God takes private lessons from them" etc.

I can't remember hearing it from students / dancers though (outside the teachers' own students). I'm thinking specifically of the teachers' actual teaching rather than the "Pablo Vernon is just wonderful" kind of hyperbole.

Usually it's more "it was a good class, I learnt a few interesting bits and pieces and I liked how they dance" followed by a discussion of what the interesting bits and pieces were.

ghost said...

Pesky tech. Sorry "pranonse" was the word verification. Typed it into the wrong box :o(

msHedgehog said...

I think the above is fair. For me too, structure and consistency at the conceptual level are very important. It's important to me that a teacher makes sense, and seems to be serious about the quality of the results, and truly understands what they are talking about in addition to being able to deliver it personally (which is also important to me). I'm not putting this very well, though; I need to think about defining what matters to me in a teacher and why.

Game Cat said...

Whatever one thinks of what they teach, I think A&A have shown that choosing to be definitive about what is and isn't important in tango is a viable strategy for teachers to be popular (and probably profitable) in London. They are willing to turn off part of the tango population and attract only a segment.

To make it work, they need the population to clearly understand their message, so that the right segment will self-select. I think the London population has gotten big enough for this strategy to pay off, be it for nuevo, salon, whatever suits your fancy.

This will hopefully be the beginning of different milongas appearing to cater to distinct segments. Hurrah!

msHedgehog said...

@Game Cat, I hope so - I think it would be a very good thing if all those variations could be done well, and to do something well it really helps to be clear about what you think its distinctive good qualities actually are. I enjoy a range of styles and I would like to be able to make a choice of where I went, with the right music and setting and amount of space and so on, depending on what kind of thing I wanted on the day. At the moment I can't make my choice on that basis because they're all the same, and that actually restricts my choice of partners - it makes me much more risk-averse than I would like to be, I think.

londontango said...

Having had lessons with most of the London teachers over the years (and observing others teach), I believe that A&A are popular because they are effective communicators. They teach simply and with clarity. They teach the basic fundamentals of the dance which is extremely important; Posture, musicality and movement. One really doesn't need anything more than that, and if you can't master the basics, well then you are pretty stuffed as a dancer.
They don't care about what anyone else is teaching, nor should they. People come to them because they actually learn something from them. There are very few teachers in London that don't pander to what they think the masses want. I actually only know of one other. Unfortunately, his English is still not great after all of these years and so he is better at communicating by demonstration. I have the utmost respect for this person.
There have been so many new teachers visiting and cropping up the last couple of years that it is impossible to take a class with everyone, so there may actually be others out there that are effective teachers that I don't know about.
If people are raving about a couple of teachers, then there is usually a good reason for it. The only way to find out for sure is to take a class or do a workshop with them.

LimerickTango said...

I think what is different in Adrian & Amanda's approach is that the music comes first. Musicality is not something you should be learning after a year of dancing. It should be there from day one.

As for Adrian's english; he has a bad case of wandering 'H's but it is significantly improved since last year. (But then again I'm Irish and we have difficulty understanding each other)

msHedgehog said...

@Limerick, I agree. Adrian can now say nearly everything he wants to say - there are plenty of mistakes with things like pronunciation and irregular plurals, but nobody has a problem understanding what he means, even with the more complex ideas that we covered in the music classes. Amanda's English was always better, and still is. Their response to questions is always intelligent.