Practica

About the Practilonga!

The Popular Practilonga!

Practice + Milonga = Practilonga!
Since my interview and time spent chatting with Mitra, I have found that the topic of growing tango and teaching beginners to really be a hot topic (again or still). I spoke recently to my colleague Karen Jaffe of Tangogypsies in Asheville, North Carolina and she spoke adamantly about the joy of practicing. The practica seems most logical, like with anything you need time to practice, to let something new sink into your body and your mind. And it should be a fun place to do that!

I remember in my early years of tango going to Buenos Aires and attending several practicas that were hosted by well-known maestros. It really was a practice space. It was a great way to meet people and to connect with them to go to milongas together usually after the practica. The atmosphere was casual, music playing in the background, people talking, drinking mate, asking the Maestro questions, usually with one partner, using the time to problem solve, to discover, to explore, to PRACTICE! There was no ronda (line of dance), it had the air of something about to happen! Like a classroom where everyone was told to take a partner and go to a corner and solve a problem, and at the end there would be a correct answer!

Over the years the Practilonga came to be, I think mostly in the US and Europe. This is a combination of the practica Karen Jaffe - TangoGypsiesand the milonga. Funny to think that these 2 could meet but it was / is an answer for communities where the traditional etiquette and structures of the milonga could be put aside. This might be due to community size or competing events.

I offer you Karen’s Practilonga user’s guide

What is a practilonga?

A practilonga is a social dancing event that combines the relaxed etiquette of a practica with many of the same elements you will find at a more formal milonga.

Designed for all level dancers, there is more light in the space and a designated area for people who want to stop to work on a movement or talk, where they would normally impede the line of dance at a milonga. That practice area can be delineated by chairs or tables, however you want to make it clear that that space is for practice.

How does it work?

The music is played in tandas, as is found at most formal milongas. Dancers may chose to continue social dancing, moving counter clockwise around the floor, working on refining navigation skills. They may also choose to work on elements of the dance, in the designated practice area. The rules of etiquette can be relaxed making it ok to dialog with your partner while dancing. If it becomes necessary to stop to dialog, or to work on something, then that couple can move to the practice area. Line of dance will be expected to continue moving.

Suggestions for a productive practice
1. Find an element, concept or movement; something specific to focus working on.
2. Ask a partner if they would like to work on that specific topic with you. You could ask them prior to coming to the practica or at the practica, but they might already have practicing plans with another. It also might depend on the community size.
3. Establish a warm-up practice period where each dancer is making “mental notes”, but otherwise remaining silent, perhaps 5 minutes or 2 songs.
4. After the warm-up period have a dialogue time, where each dancer has a chance to say something. Choose something that felt “good,” or “right” about the topic, and then something that “could be improved”. Focus on one point at a time.
5. Repeat the practice, working to incorporate the new information.
6. Dialogue and practice until you feel it is time to choose a new focus element, or to change partners.
7. REMEMBER to use “I” statements; I feel, I need, I would like, I think, etc. Generally, these are received better and they take away the feeling of blame. Avoid the use of negative words if possible. It’s always nice to thank your partner!
8. When in doubt or in need of assistance you can always direct the questions to assistants or to the teacher.

Karen: Practicing is not just for beginners, but for EVERY LEVEL of DANCER and I think, even MORE important for more experienced dancers who may have habits, that they would like to break out of in order to create new habits or to find new ways to make their dance more enjoyable and interesting. The focus really is on EXPANDING, it is not just a linear progression, it is QUANTUM.
I feel that even after 20 years of dancing, my continued study and intense practices during my annual month long trips to Buenos Aires, as well as exploratory practices and preparations for teaching workshops, are an important part of my growth as a dancer and teacher.

Find Karen at home in Asheville, in her garden, or on her monthly stays in Buenos Aires at Tangogypsies.com

To conclude, I think each community needs to be attentive to the group they are serving. Maybe some of the suggestions need to be altered. But communicating the goals of the space to your community definitely helps.

How does your successful practica or practilonga work?

Thanks for visiting Access Tango THE BLOG !

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Taking Your Tango to the Next Level

I will be in Buenos Aires for the next couple of weeks and will be participating in the Mundial de Tango de Pista. This is the annual Argentine Tango Salon Competition that attracts dancers from all over the world. I competed in 2012 with Rommel and we have decided to participate again. I am looking forward to doing some intensive training and dancing and networking with other dancers as I take my dancing to the next level!!

In the meantime, spread the word about the next Argentine Tango Blast for Beginners in September. Teaching at Ritz
(If you are interested 1) in repeating the course send me a message or 2) if you are a current student of mine and want to bring a friend and attend with them. Send me a message.)

The Beginners Blast will be followed by a

4 week “Taking your Tango to the Next Level” – SEPTEMBER 6, 13, 20, 27

(for those who have completed the Tango Blast or who have a little tango experience)
6:00pm – 7:30pm
SNAP  (Scottsdale Neighborhood Arts Place) 4425 N. Granite Reef Rd. Scottsdale, AZ
Fee: $75
Send Email if interested.

The Tuesday night PRACTICA continues with talented Tyler Litman teaching class from 7 – 8pm and the practica follows from 8 – 10pm. ($10 class and $6 practica)

See you in a couple of weeks.

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It’s Getting Hot in Here!

Literally, the room gets warmer as we get warmer!
Just a friendly reminder that even as I try to cool SNAP Studio off prior to your arrival on Tuesdays, remember tango is about sharing space with others, so if you tend to be a sweater, like  a sweaty person, please please please bring a change of shirt or blouse for yourself. Everyone you dance with appreciates this.

We’ll see you all tomorrow, Tuesday night, for an exploration into “Changing Directions”.

As always, send me questions or suggestions if you have them.

Daniela
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Tuesday night Workshops before the Practica

Here is the list of upcoming Tuesday night class titles. I am calling them workshops because it will be less progressive each week and more like a workshop. I look forward to sharing with you.
Each class is $15 but if you want to purchase 5 consecutive classes they will be $10 each – in other words purchase 5 consecutive classes for $50. (This includes the practica). What a deal! Reminder classes start @ 7:00pm – 8:30pm.

(Classes titles are subject to change.)

February 18 Milonga timing 1
February 25 Milonga timing 2
March 4 Vals combinations 1
March 11 Vals combinations 2
March 18 Something Cool from Maxi/Jesica
March 25 Playful Rock Steps
April 1 Changes of Direction 1
April 8 Changes of Direction 2
April 15 Structure behind Turning
April 22 Turning Variations 1
April 29 Turning Variations 2
May 6 Sacadas 1
May 13 Sacadas 2
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Tango Success Stories!

What is success in tango? Is it just learning a new dance to add to your list? Is it about meeting people and making new friends? I hear quite a bit about how Argentine Tango has changed people’s lives. So in the spirit of the Top 10, here are my Top 3 for this year.

Most of you know that I spend a significant amount of time teaching college students. This year Wes found Argentine Tango. He told me prior to starting that he knew he lacked social skills and didn’t spend a lot of time interacting with members of the opposite sex. Wes dedicated the year to tango, 2 full semesters. He mentioned to me prior to the end of school that he enjoyed tango so much for the friends he had made in class. He felt that his confidence had significantly improved.

Lisa met her current beau traveling to dance Argentine Tango in another city. She fell head over high heels for Argentine Tango and soon found time on her business trips to sneak tango in after her meetings. She has tango friends in nearly every major city in the US and now she has a beau too! Sounds like the best of both worlds!

san diego tango fest milongaIt isn’t enough to say that this passionate dance will build confidence, make you feel smart and sexy, and allow you to have tango friends all over the world but hear how Mabel found some stress relief.

It is amazing how Mabel found tango at all. She worked full time and was pursuing a new career by going to school at night. But she knew that she needed a distractor, as she called it! So she, being very organized and committed, told me ahead of time what she wanted and how much she could dedicate to learning this dance. So she took a private lesson once a week and a group class when she could. She found that the time she focused on her tango classes allowed her to feel more relaxed and energized for her studies and allowed her to de-stress from her job.

The Phoenix area has opportunities to enjoy this fun dance at least 3 times per week and sometimes more. Workshops, visiting artists, practice time, even tours to Buenos Aires, and quality instruction are available for those who want to learn the most impressive and elegant dance there is!

Have a Wonderful New Year and may the Argentine Tango continue to inspire you!

*names have been changed.

 

 

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