PRÁCTICAS / GUIDED PRÁCTICAS / PRÁCTILONGAS – explained

The Práctica / Guided Práctica is a time honoured tradition in the learning of Tango in Argentina
The Práctilonga is between the Práctica and a Milonga

The Práctica – it’s origins
In its original form, young men who wanted to learn how to dance well would attend all male Prácticas to perfect their technique by dancing with other men.

After months of learning the follower’s steps they would finally be allowed start to learn how to lead.  In this way they already had a good idea of what it was they were leading!  By the time they attended their first Milonga they would have mastered both leader and follower roles and were well and truly ready.

Given the shortage of women in Argentina at the time, being a good dancer was a young man’s best chance of meeting women and finding a girlfriend – so motivation was high!

Meanwhile, it was customary for girls to learn Tango from their mothers and sisters, so that by the time they were old enough to start dancing socially they too were capable dancers.

NOW
Práctica – these days we have to find a shorter route.  Classes are designed to help you learn as quickly and effectively as possible.  From then on, it’s a question of practice, to get posture and movement into your muscle memory so that you can dance naturally without having to think about it.

Our bodies only become familiar with new movements through repetition.  Tango can be challenging – especially at first – and there is no substitute for regular practice – more about that can be seen here

It usually takes longer to get something into your muscle memory than into your brain, but once it’s there, it tends to stick.  However, what you practice, and how you do it, makes a huge difference.  The old saying goes “practice makes perfect”.  Well, unfortunately it doesn’t . . . but practice does make permanent!  Your body learns exactly what it does repeatedly and it’s far better to get into good habits rather than bad ones.

Guided Práctica – this is the traditional way of practising.  It’s by far the most effective way of ensuring you practice correctly, and is overseen by experienced teachers where coaching is available.

So practicing in a supportive environment, such as a traditional ‘Guided Práctica’, with good coaching available, makes a lot of sense.

Práctilonga  – some years ago we devised the Práctilonga.  This is between a Práctica and a Milonga.  Whilst some Prácticas retain the purpose of learning and practice, there still is a need to bridge the gap between Prácticas and getting ready for the more formal Milongas.

It was designed to help people develop the transition between their weekly classes with informal Prácticas, to the more formal Milongas. The Práctilonga would be relaxed, friendly and elegant evening with a DJ and Tandas, and there would be help available if requested in an area off the main dance floor.  This would enable people to still practise technique or repeated movements without hindering other dancers.

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© Jennifer Hudson, Tango Nomads, 2017

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