Cómo aprender la técnica, el espíritu

Are private lessons considered a standard method for becoming an advanced tanguer@? I come from a dance background in which privates are rare; almost all technique is learned in a group setting (with moments of individual attention during the class, of course). But I have noticed that lots of people talk about their private sessions, especially with out-of-town teachers or during festivals or when traveling to other places. And do many people combine group classes with privates, or would that be redundant?

To be honest, I have only taken beginning classes and then workshop/festival classes. I learned most of what I know from practicas and milongas. From patient leaders. And from letting go of my fear and expectations and just listening to the lead. I have contemplated privates, but at this point they are neither part of my frame of mind as a student (given what I am used to in my dance background) nor particularly affordable. But are privates where most dancers identify those little pieces of technique and such that really bump them into the advanced level?

I have heard contrary opinions about whether privates are necessary – in fact, they seem to run along the same lines as opinions about whether a dancer needs to travel to BsAs to truly understand the dance. I do know that there are technical points that I need to improve, but I am pretty aware of most of them – and I have friends who are happy to help me identify others and work on them with me. I just don’t want to become complacent about my dancing.

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6 thoughts on “Cómo aprender la técnica, el espíritu

  1. Hola tanguera…Yes, privates can be pricey. Some of the big names are now charging like $125/hr for one instructor.I no longer have them in my budget – but I used to do them fairly regularly. The idea was that you get more bang for your buck with the individual attention. More attention to subtle technical nuances that you don’t ever get in a group class.Nuances like the path and attitude of your foot/feet during various elements.I think I have heard a rule of thumb that a one hour private is like four hours of group classes.Plus, it can be a good format for “tough love” style feedback. There may something major going on, like a bouncing walk, that may not come up in a class, practica or milonga (as it should not). But in a private, a teacher can, and should, be brutally encouraging.I found privates beneficial. I was able to fix a lot of bad habits – habits I was not even aware of.<>P.S. I was doing occasional privates and group classes concurrently. Privates with my regular teacher, and with visiting teachers, and also doing classes at festivals, with one or two privates depending on who the teachers were.<>

  2. I just had another thought, obviously, it depends on how serious you are, but things like advanced follower embellishments, traspie embellishments, styling – things like that would be hard to get in a group setting.I also have a friend who has a regular weekly private. Her teacher is a guy with a ballet/dance background (no tango I don’t think) – they work on technique and styling only. She is also a little bit of a bouncer. But I never say anything because we always dance at milongas. Everything else is sublime, so I will take the bounce.

  3. Hola Tanguera,I agree with Alex. Not only did private lessons give me the valuable personal information that I needed to understand *my* way of dance, but it took me out of the group class circuit where most of the teaching was reduced to the lowest common denominator. Because group classes are such a mixed bag in terms of attendance and level of dance, even in intermediate or advanced classes you can find that you don’t get what you pay for.My advice to you before shelling out a lot of money on private lessons is to take group classes with different teachers and find ONE that you resonate with.Then take a private with that person. As with taking lots of classes with different people, taking lots of privates with different teachers can give you conflicting information. That doesn’t mean that you can’t try other teachers from time to time. Good luck with your lessons and let us know how it goes.

  4. it also helps the wallet to do shared privates — to go with a partner of a smiliar level/style/(maybe even) height, and get feedback as a couple.also keep in mind that privates with a male teacher and privates with a female teacher are very different (from my experience). and i think my best experiences were from privates taken from a couple. couples charge more though, so i usually go with a partner, and share the cost. for me personally, everything essential i learned in tango (besides dancing out), i learned from privates. group classes were great for introduction to basics, and some interesting steps, but the few private lessons i invested in really enhanced my dance beyond anything i could get from group classes!

  5. Everyone is different tanguera.The rule of thumb, I believe, is when you feel you’ve hit a plateau. Then take a class, if you cannot identify the problem.

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