david pinto

social artist practitioner

Based in
London, United Kingdom
Also teaches in London
david pinto | social artist practitioner

Rates: £20+

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What's there to say? Check out the links below: prezi shows the lessons I am giving, google lists some profiles dotted around the web, my profile on edufire for virtual lessons, and 2020worldpeace is the biggest project I participate in.

Being committed to education, I have been playing around with self-organising systems with kids for 10 years (http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/inspiring-change/5510566). As of 2009, I began to play similar games with adults, who are a little slower on the pick-up (http://prezi.com/b1mh74nxeyil/).

I call myself a social artist, partly because everyone needs to brand themselves these days. I have had the good luck of participating in some heart-felt and uplifting experiences with kids in school and friends and family. It's not work, when it goes well, and it takes up the entire human spectrum, from spiritual intention, through emotional engagement, into specific behavioural techniques and wordings. When it goes well, we are beautiful.

I continue to learn tango and maths and how to better the world and my self. I am no great hurry; there is only one race after all. However, we do live in interesting times, and retrospectively you may remember your reading this: being of service is about responding to needs at the individual local level and the ecological global level -- all at the same time. We haven't mastered this yet; we haven't even learned the basics! So, the lessons I teach are all pretty simple.

Group Classes

hidden attractor

about 10 people each with £10 gather to decide to have an experience

15-30 mins
break the ice
because we don't know everyone
someone suggests an activity that introduces ourselves to one another
some game which is fun and makes us gel as a group

15-30 mins
decide by consensus
where we brainstorm or circle time or use whatever technique
to come up with experiences we may wish to do that evening
and we all have to arrive at the same decision
what are we to do with the £100 we have collectively

1min plus
have the experience

at the end of the night
there may be a plenary of some kind
and recordings of the event or blogging it may help too
eg http://experientialnights.blogspot.com/

It's a: 
southbank centre
left of the ballroom, United Kingdom
Date and time: 
12th friday, 7pm onwards


the last tango

I have not danced much over the last few years. Partly because I was isolated in Cornwall, and partly because I did not find enough tango dancers willing to play. Steve had given me an insight, and I had learned 'high tango' from women on the dance floor. Master Toby had demonstrated the secret of the 'low tango' and I had learned the more demanding techniques involved again from women. But I find so many women 'in-between': they appear to be grounded and say they can do the close hold, but given half a step I find the space between us is huge.

I am in no hurry. Women have told me in the past that I should practice because I am a good dancer, but I tell them that I do not want to be 'a good dancer'. I am happy to be whatever is required to enable tango. This depends very much on my partner and the music, the ambience. I do not have a library of moves to bedazzle my partner, nor do I have the 'confidence' to push around a beginner. I am happy to make beginner mistakes with beginners, and foolishly challenge practiced dancers with playful interventions. It is a funny path. Sometimes a night goes so well I feel I can dance with anyone, and others, I can hardly walk. Such is the way it is

Each night, I do not know what is going to happen. Each dance, I do not know what depth we shall achieve. Each step, I do not know what is going to happen.

That is tango.

That is life.

Jun 2007 - Sep 2009

re-learning tango

Master Toby showed me the grounded way to do tango, what I call the 'low tango'. And it took me a few months to crack.

I was living at a friend's house, the teachers Ricardo and Jenny, while they were away in Argentina. I happened upon a booklet produced by Ricardo's teacher; it showed diagrams, the explanations were almost mathematical. Finally I had a description of the low tango, what had eluded me for a good year.

I had tried to learn from Toby, and I had attended his classes, and enjoyed his exercises, but I still could not integrate it into a dance. With this book, however, I watched Toby with greater insight and I noticed when he was 'on fire'. HIs partners nearly always had an expression on their face which was... sublime. They were not performing, they were not attentive to their looks... they were somewhere else. Their attention was so focussed on following, their eyes closed, the mind completely absorbed in the moment with their partner... quite incredible really. And I could tell when Toby was with them, really with them, where he was allowed to give himself too, so that he was also gone, lost in the moment of communion with the music and his partner.

Anyhow, it started to come together. The type of music that Toby danced to, the posture, and contract of engagement -- all were different from 'high tango' and so I practiced at home, walking round and around in circles, grounded. I went to milongas and tried, and mostly failed, to get that same quality of connection. It was only when one of my partners, Caroline, who had enjoyed dancing with me for a while was willing to experiment, did it start to come together. A few months later she returned from a lesson, I believe in Holland, and she tried this technique with me. She tried to stop me from moving forwards, she applied the brakes as it were, and this immediately gave me the connection I needed. What a joy! And so the closed hold, where nothing but the body is used, and the staccato music and movements are one. Amazing.

Mar 2005 - Jun 2007

first years of tango

After getting an insight into tango, I learned exclusively from women on the dance floor. I persuaded them to fall into my arms, to play with balance, to forget about lessons and everything else, and just enjoy. I couldn't stop. It was so much fun.

I couldn't stop. I remember being asked to attend a workshop after a year to make up for the male leader numbers, and we were asked each on turn what we were hoping to learn that day and I said, "learn to stop". My dancing was so dynamic, so volatile, so much on the edge of balance, that it was virtually impossible to stop once it started. Each high-point was inherently unstable, lasting only for an eternity of a moment before we fell into one another's arms, dodging between other dancers, until we rose once again upon the crest of the music.

Mostly beginners allowed themselves to play. I sometimes plucked up enough courage to dance with the good dancers, but I didn't understand why they felt so heavy. The flow of the music just seemed to die in their feet. All that I needed was the forgiveness of my partner, the willingness to make mistakes, for trying, for allowing ourselves to lose our balance. But good dancers did not allow this, they wanted to keep their balance and resented when we did. I felt terrible, so I avoided them. Only one good dancer was willing to dance with me, Anne. She allowed herself to play, and because of her skills, I learned more from her than any other single partner over the first year. Marvellous.

I tried attending a lesson or two, but I didn't understand any of it. Their tango seemed so different. The teachers seemed intent on teaching something discretely, a move. I remember getting roped into a lesson by a teacher flown in from Holland. He taught us a circle, he numbered my feet -- the first time I had done this. I went to a social that weekend and I could hardly walk. I left disgusted with myself at the verge of giving up. Luckily, I had set up a a night with experimental music, and my partners found my path for me again, in their arms.

What I was learning over this year is what I call the 'high tango'. I have forgotten it, mostly because I do not meet many dancers willing to try, and because I knew nothing else. Now that I can dance a more grounded dance, I find it difficult to recreate the sense of abandon when dancing the 'high tango'. But for that first year, it was such a joy, and turning up to social dancing was so easy and so much fun.

I started to think about my feet. I never had to think about them for the previous year, they just did what they had to do. But to be able to perform certain moves, to touch feet, for example, I had to know where they were -- and they seemed so far away from me, as it were, at the end of my legs. My tango became difficult, and for a year I struggled trying to flow with 'high tango' and still attempt to engage where my feet were. It's like the problem that physicists have with electrons: you can get their speed or their position at any one time, but not both. When my feet were in motion -- which they were, and far too fast for my mind to follow them -- there was no way I could determine where they were.

Until I began to pay attention -- real attention -- to Toby, the main man behind the tango society in Edinburgh. Master Toby, I call him. He gave me insight into 'low tango'.

Feb 2002 - Mar 2005

how tango found me

I was at a friend's house having dinner and her flatmate suggested that I would be interested in tango. He said it would only take a moment, and after the meal, he tried to show me. I didn't get it.

A few weeks later, I was at her house again, and her flatmate, Steve, again offered to show me. And again, I didn't get it. He just walked me back and forth on the floor of the kitchen.

I found myself on a new years retreat on the west coast of scotland, middle of nowhere, Glen Elgg I think. He tried to show me again, and this time I got it. Perhaps it was because there were several others present... perhaps the floor was more open. Perhaps it was because we were in the middle of nowhere at the end/start of the year. Whatever the reasons, I closed my eyes and let him lead me. I got an insight into it. And then afterwards, I watched him, and how he played so responsively with a woman. After that, it was simply a matter of recreating that strange sensation of becoming one, the play of shared balance.

Steve is a genius, by the way. Incredibly acute intelligence, and some terrible blind-spots. If you ever meet him, be aware that he is only as demanding of you as he is to himself. The trials of being a genius, I guess. Despite his faults, I thank him for introducing me to tango in this way, and I will be retrospectively paying him till the day I day for the number of hours of enjoyment I have had on the dancefloor because of him.

Dec 2001 - Jan 2002

tutoring maths

In my first year of teaching, I tutored sometimes as many as 20 students a week. I heartily recommend that tutoring becomes mandatory to becoming a teacher.

Some days I'd be so tired from a day's work, and the prospect of four hours of tutoring seemed a tough climb. However, by the end of the night, I'd be energised. It is quite amazing the effect that learning has on us.

It takes quite a lot of energy to maintain a stuck state of mind, to invest in a belief they one doesn't like maths or can't do something. When this knot is untied (or simply cut through), the release of energy is astounding. It is really uplifting. So, by the end of the evening, I'd end up energised. It certainly wasn't work. I was paid for the uplifting experience!

This individual one-to-one engagement made me sensitive to how learning actually takes place, and this would feed into the learning environment I created in my classrooms.

I can't thank those students enough. I wish them well.

Sep 1998 - Mar 2000

formal mathematics teaching

After conducting my PGCE (Maths), I ended up locuming in London for a year. I learned so much about teaching within different educational institutions, I'd recommend it as mandatory all new teachers just like new GP's. It allows one to experiment, to try out new things with kids to find what actually works.

Whereas, most of my colleagues get stuck in a specific job, and the biggest lesson they learn over the first few years of their career is to classroom management; that is, how to control the kids. The regular form of advice given to new teachers is, 'don't smile till christmas', an ethic I understand, but truly indicative of the state of education. I avoided all this.

I came up with techniques to catch the mind of the students, to interest them genuinely in their own learning. I'd relate the level of abstraction of maths to their own emerging level of awareness. There is so much going on in a classroom, it is such a vital place, if we allow it to be. Just put a bunch of different people in a room together, and things are bound to happen. I did not suppress individuality. Quite the opposite, I bring it out in people. However, the simple lesson to learn is, how do we as so many different individuals share the space?

The results were often amazing. I was privileged to see the best of human behaviour; truly uplifting and inspiring. I wrote up my experiences in a booklet in the autumn of 2008 once I quit teaching: http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/inspiring-change/5510566.

I continue to be committed to education, but for it to change the way it has potential to, needs help from outside. I devoted what some may consider the best years of one's life to education to effect the change from the inside. I nearly managed it, but I found that by going deeper into the institution, by accepting a full time job rather than the 6-month stints I had as supply, I was caught in the institutionalisation that the kids themselves had. That is, I only got a positive response from the first years, whereas the older kids wanted me to be a regular teacher. I had not been teaching 10 years to control kids, and this is exactly what they wanted from me. Towards the end of that teaching stint, we were having fun, but the experience was truly harrowing and I would not wish it on anyone. So, I would like to improve the system by helping those teachers who are conducting change in their classrooms. Help in this regard would be most appreciated since my voice is but a blade of grass in the savanna and the wind blows strong.

Since quitting formal education, I have been learning how to translate what I have learned in the classroom to the adult world. It is proving a major challenge, since adults think in traditional ways which often lock their own spirit from genuine exploration. Until I have genuine positive experiences with adults, I will rely on my memories of the innumerable students who have shown the true potential of humanity. I wish them well!

Sep 1997 - Jul 2008

Educational history

Project Management (Theory of Constraints in Education)

January, 1998
One of the first nine educationalists in the UK to be trained up in TOC, a course which would cost companies $25k.

NLP Master Practitioner

September, 1997
Amazed by the skills of non-conscious communication as presented by Bandler himself.

PGCE (Mathematics)

September, 1996 - May, 1997
Brunel University
Studied with the excellent team assembled by Mark Humble. Incredible learning experience: games, activities, group-work -- so much fun!

MA (Social Anthropology) (2i)

September, 1988 - May, 1992
University of Edinburgh
Originally accepted unconditionally to study pure maths, I decided to broaden my horizons. FInal year dissertation involved a dialogue between two characters representing art and science, discussing various arguments presented in an imaginary gallery. Came up with the concept of Scale. Also studied maths, computing, architecture, linguistics, technology and society, but majored in social anthropology. One of my tutors/lecturers was Alan Campbell, genius.

Highers (Scottish Schools) (all A's)

August, 1982 - June, 1988
Morgan Academy


Aimed at: Beginner and Intermediate.
Online teaching offered


i have offered my stuff free
hoping the student can decide how valuable their learning experience is...
we do not live in such a world yet
and so i charge...
this is negotiable :)

Last login: 8 years 20 weeks ago

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