Should advice be given at a practica?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by tangomaniac, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    I recently changed my dance schedule to go to a Saturday morning practica followed a few hours later to a milonga.

    The practica rules are different or seem to be different from those of a milonga. There's no teaching or commenting at a milonga, but what about a practica? I'm short and find it very difficult to dance with women with wide frames, stretching my arms.

    Some women ask for advice so I can comment to relax their frame. As an example, I throw their right arm over my shoulder so now they can't push me to their side. Most notice a distinct improvement in their dancing because they can better hold their balance.

    But what about those who don't ask for advice. The rule at the milonga seems to be "You invited her so stink it up for a tanda." Is that the same rule at the practica?

    I don't want to hurt a woman's feelings but then, I don't want to get hurt. Last Saturday, I just had to tell a woman that she was missing every pivot because she wasn't keeping her feet together and couldn't get her weight onto one foot.

    What is the etiquette at a practica? Is there any etiquette. I've seen men teach for at least 30 minutes to the SAME woman. That's not what I want to do.
  2. Lilly_of_the_valley

    Lilly_of_the_valley Well-Known Member

    In my observation, a lot of people do not take advice very well even in the event of specifically asking and paying for it --- in a lesson. When told about their mistakes and what they have to work on, they make excuses, they get defensive, upset, angry, depressed etc. So the teacher has to be careful what he or she says, keep it diplomatic, tactful, encouraging and positive.
    Also, many people do not go to practicas to actually practice. They go there to dance and have a good time in what they may perceive as a less formal and demanding atmosphere than a milonga.
    For that reason, my rule is --- absolutely no unsolicited advice to random people whatsoever. If asked, keep it short, specific, and as sweet as possible.
    On the other hand, of course, you do not have to experience pain and suffering, and in a practica there is no obligation to stay for the whole tanda.
  3. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    I wasn't referring to a teacher giving advice. I wrote about men who just give advice. They stop dancing on the floor and tell the woman what they should have done. I can't hear what they are saying but I can see what they are seeing.

    I hold the woman closer the more she pushes me to the side. Sometimes, she says to loosen the grip. I tell her to stop pushing me off my balance. That's a make or break moment.

    I agree practicas are not really practicas. They are more like "dress down" milongas.
  4. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    There is no universal accepted set of rules for a practica, I do know off.

    I can only tell you how I handle things myself: Without being hired, I don’t teach on “foreign turf” and I expect the same behavior from others on my events.

    Since there are always men who like to teach and woman who enjoy playing a “damsel in distress” role, this rule is not always easy to enforce. Nevertheless, I've now got a collection of playful polite remarks that resolve that situation most off the time.

    Therefore, I announce our practica as an opportunity to repeat class material and ask about help with any tango related material. If I would advertise it as a free space for experiments and exchange, I would encourage “wild” teaching and shouldn’t complain about it.

    In the end it boils down to: What do you want, and how do you get it?
  5. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    Women enjoy playing a "damsel in distress?" Really?? I'm surprised.
  6. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    As I only see your written word: Real surprise or are you just ironic?
  7. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    Really surprised.
  8. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    First only some women show this pattern.

    It goes along the line: I don’t have the money/ time / opportunity to take good lessons and I'm such a bad dancer, since you are such a knowledgeable/ charming /experienced dancer yourself can you tell me what I do wrong / can I do better / I have still to learn.

    There are many possible reasons.

    • They really don’t have the money, time, etc. or don’t want to invest it.
    • It’s their reaction to being patronized by “experienced” dancer all the time.
    • They want to flatter the man and that’s their way to get in contact with him.
    • They want to “pull his leg” or test him.
  9. NZ_Guy

    NZ_Guy Member

    There's apparently one in Wellington, NZ which says this:

    Spirit of the practica - we respect all styles of tango and support diversity of taste in attire, music, and self-expression. The one who invites a dance will lead, and we only give feedback after ascertaining that the person wants it. We feel free and encourage others to try new things, make mistakes and ask questions. We celebrate joyful motion, have fun and laugh at ourselves.

    That seems fair enough I think.
  10. A.Victor

    A.Victor Member

    People in my experience don't enjoy criticism, even when it's constructive. I do.
    But when I really need to correct the girl, I tell her that she's doing great, that I like so and so, but I would have a suggestion for her to do even better.
  11. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    -There is no asking. You attend with your practice partner, work, discuss, rehearse, and leave together again.
  12. A.Victor

    A.Victor Member

    Opendoor, there are practicas where you come alone and you dance with everyone that wants to dance with you.
  13. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    Suppose you don't have a practice partner? I see very few "couples" at practicas but frequent changing of partners.
  14. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Over here only couples appear at prácticas. Milongas are for single dancers. It´s really annoying when single dancers call and expect you can find someone for a práctica within 2 hours.
  15. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    I would rather call that a practilonga or quasilonga?
  16. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    To practicas that are mainly designed to rehearse and experiment people usually bring a likeminded partner. This makes sense as practice will work better with a common goal and skillset. There seems to be little changing between couples. The partners are focused on each other and their topic. If you are on your own you could still do some technique exercises, but I have never seen anybody doing this for any length of time.

    Practicas in style of a non-formal Milonga, work like a Milonga – just a little bit more chaotic. Nevertheless, it’s never hurts to bring a partner.
  17. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    It may sound a bit brutal in your ears, so please excuse. But practicing or rehearsing does not make any sense, if you haven´t learned to organize an practice partner, before. Tango isn´t about steps. Don´t you know my mantra: learning tango is social learning in the first place.
  18. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Will you share them?
  19. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    As I already wrote, there are very few people who come with practice partners. Does that mean I shouldn't go? Of course not.
  20. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I think you learn plenty regarding social learning when you have to learn how to attract and keep people to dance with when you are free lancing all the time.

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