When you start to learn tango, especially in a small community, you most likely pick the teacher who is available.
Nearest to your home,… matches with your dates and times, …or whatever.
This is a wise pick, as it brings you in a position to start off in the first place.
Then you dive in all that stuff like postura, abrazo, caminar, ochos and all that and you also start going to milongas (hopefully).
You talk to people, verbally and physically, during your mutual dances.
And you realize that there are parts of tango you never heard of, you do not understand, you learned just the complete opposite about…. (like e.g. „women´s forward cross…is subject to being lead or subject to her own decision???).
How does this come, how will you deal with it? Can you ever understand a lead or a follow whom has learned it the other way around? Did your teacher give you wrong Information? Do you need to change teachers?
Let me step away from tango to draw a picture that displays beautifully what I think about the matter and how you can deal with the challenge.
When a baby is born, NOBODY would presume, that it would learn everything he or she needs to know until being grown-up from one single Person, being deprived from other Input.
No. There is a mother (your tangoteacher) and a father (teacher´s assistant… same or similar truth, but still sometimes different advice), there are siblings (other students, having a little more or less clue than you), your best friend (your dancepartner), and role models, like the fifthgrader living down the block with his awsome Skateboarder-skills and so on (that guy that can lead that colgada/gancho Combo that makes you fall off your feet, if you just dare thinking of it…)….
Now, first of all as a toddler you learn to sit, walk, a few words to communicate and the rules that apply in your Environment.
And as you grow older, more skilled and enter new spaces, such as kindergarden (local milonga), school (big milonga in the next large city), a peergroup from a new hobby (those crazy neotango guys) you pick up -by just joining life-, that there are other perspectives, different ways to talk to each other, strange rules, weird words, bad behaviour, Guardian angels who are not called mommy, foreign languages, unexpected challenges, unknown food, different songs and more….
What happens? You deal with it, sort things out, grow, extend your knowledge, adapt your reactions, question what you learned, try out new things, ….
YOU take in what is appealing and senseful for you and YOU look closely at truths that do not fit your reality and personality before YOU repel them.
So how many Tango teachers do you need?
As many as you can get.
Try to collect as much and as different advice as you can get. Each „teacher“ (teachers, dancepartners,co-dancers in the ronda, those who refuse to Dance with you..)…. teaches their own truth and the more you learn, the more you can define your own Tango. Also, alphabetize your body via different „languages“, such as other Dances, martial arts and any bodywork you can get your hands on…Feldenkrais, Pilates, Yoga, Gyrotonics….
Now,…. all that input…how many teachers do YOU really need…
Yes, you need uncountable people to give you the input, but whom you will turn out to be as a tangodancer, or as a person in everyday life depends on YOUR will, YOUR openness and YOUR personality.
Enjoy YOUR quest…. <3