Posts Tagged: 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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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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Are you an effective learner?

Some of you know that I am a part of the Tango Learning team, tango teacher, Tomas Howlin’s creation of the Tango Learning program. It is a progressive program designed to help students learn and also to help those who are teaching to better instruct. Each level is a 3 day intensive that begins each day with a body knowledge session that I have guided during the Tango Learning in Portland and will be doing again in Albuquerque at the end of the month.

Recently Tomas posted on Facebook  a link to an article entitled:  4 Key Characteristics to Effective Learners. And of course I see the tie in with Tango and Tomas’ course. Here are the 4 key characteristics to being an Effective Learner: 1) they are curious 2) they are process-oriented 3) they apply what they have learned 4) and they retain.

Are you a good learner??? (is that proper English?)

I know from watching my students over the years that applying what they have learned has certainly helped them in understanding and retaining the subtleties of Argentine Tango. Practicing helps and even spending a little time each day walking or thinking about a new concept of a just learned concept will help it to translate into your body. Although the 4 Characteristics doesn’t translate directly to Learning Styles but we will address that in another blog!Take Notes note

I found early on in my modern dance days I would spend time after rehearsals writing down the sequence of movements in order to better remember them. I was never good a drawing but I had stick figures and practically my own language and abbreviations for directions and body movements. I carried this practice into my early tango days when I was taking classes with as many teachers as possible and learning to lead. I would look at those notes before going to dance and would pick something to practice from the notes. I found this practice most helpful in retaining the information in my mind and in my body.

When studying extensively with Graciela I took mountains of notes. I then retyped them onto my computer which added another dimension of retention. I don’t feel obligated to do this, I like it and it helps me revisit the material.

I look forward to your successful learning and remember that practicas are designed for that: for learning.
AND HEY – It’s Tuesday! Practica @ SNAP at 8:30pm.

 

 

 

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Practica and Leading Ladies Coming Up!

Happy August Tangueros/as!
The whirlwind vacation is coming to a close and the fall line-up commences!
Sunday practica resumes August 4th at 6:30pm with an all level class. Tuesday practicas continue as usual (special thanks to Tyler Litman and Acacia Crouch for holding down the fort) and Saturday, August 10th will be another Leading Ladies workshop beginning at 12:00pm at Rhythmic Expressions. I am completely looking forward to that! We’ll start with a Restorative Stretch and dive right into some technique and figures both leading and following. Bring your questions and a towel to roll up. As I have stated previously, I think learning some very basic leading techniques improve our following skills. Come try it out! (Ladies only!)Being tourists

Some of you have been asking about the Saturday workshops and I have yet to post those dates and topics. I will have those soon. I know with all the festivals in the fall and Thanksgiving that there are limited Saturdays which makes scheduling challenging but I appreciate your enthusiasm!

Finally, to say, that dancing in NYC, Boston, and Baltimore has been an exciting adventure: a chance to visit with old tango friends and to make new ones. As I have watched the milonga dance floors I have seen people who have reminded me of tango characters from all my years of dancing. It has been a mirror’s reflection of my experiences: my successes and trials in tango. There are lots of someones for everyone out there in tango world, so enjoy dancing!
And I am reminded that learning to tango most definitely has its stages. But no matter where you are in your journey and no matter where you are the music enraptures, the embrace captivates and it feels good to be a part of something bigger.

See you soon!

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