I love “aha!” moments, whether they are mine or someone else’s.

I was practicing with a friend, and he kept losing me at a particular point: He would step forward and then not just rock back but actually take a back step. It wasn’t that it was happening too fast, I just wasn’t feeling the lead for the second step in time. He stopped and asked me what I was feeling, if I knew what was wrong. I pointed out that he was leading the first step such that I got too much weight backwards – he wasn’t anticipating his next step soon enough to lead me into it. We started dancing again and it worked perfectly! He was very excited at figuring out what had been going on, as was I.

These are also the moments that make me sad that my practica seems to be dying. I have gone to the same practica since I started dancing, and it has always been popular and a great place to work on things. I feel like I improved more because of practicing there than any single class I attended. But recently there have been some changes, attendance has dropped off, and it doesn’t feel as conducive to real practice. This is a disappointing and frustrating experience – I want the space to practice, a place to get feedback, a chance to have those “aha!” moments.


4 thoughts on “Aha!

  1. Not having a place it practice is not only very sad, it makes growth and improvement in the tango community very slow, if not impossible. The number one complaint of beginners is that there is no one with whom to practice; this is especially true when there is no place to practice.

  2. I miss my practicas too. The ones I’ve been to in recent memory feel like milongas and so I don’t feel like I get to work on things like I used to when I started dancing.

  3. Hola Mod…I know there can be sensitive community issues, but I am curious as to the “changes” and why you think attendance dropped off. Readers might benefit from the feedback.I almost started a regular practica back in Aspen, but then moved away. I was going to have a “thematic” form. In other words, a particular night might be an “ocho cortado” night. To focus on that, or work on whatever they might want/need to, with guidance or not. I was going to play continuous (golden age) music with very short cortinas.I think “practice” is beneficial only in the context of actually dancing – dancing and trying to incorporate new things – or smooth out old things.But then again, now that I think about it, I don’t think I have ever been to a “real” practica…I take that back…Austin has a regular Sunday nighter…running for 8 or 10 years…I was the guest dj a few times…god my memory is gone…

  4. The biggest change that I saw was a move in location without the input of the practica regulars. We ended up with a much smaller room and a bad floor for dancing. There were other factors, I am sure, but this is what I saw as particularly problematic.What do you mean when you say that practice is beneficial only in the context of actually dancing? I think we might agree, but I’m not clear on your point there.In my experience, practicas work very well when left open – not thematic – because everyone has their own things to work on. Not everyone will be curious about ocho cortados at the same time, especially beginners who just need to work on the basics. I progressed like crazy just by going to practicas and letting the leader do whatever he wanted, getting feedback on how I felt, what leads I missed, etc. At this point, I tend to want to drill certain things – figure out why I always miss a lead for a certain step, why some other step doesn’t tend to feel comfortable with a certain leader, etc.

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