Private lessons

I have had three private lessons in the last month, from four different teachers (one lesson was with a couple - which I highly recommend.) Each lesson gave me tremendous insight into my posture, my body, and my dance. Of course now every time I dance I think too much.

Shoulders down.
Lower elbow.
Tummy in.
Relax hips.
Walk on the inside of my foot.
Lead with my big toe.
Drop my hip.
Bend knees.
Relax shoulder blades.
Don't lean back.
Cross deeper to make more room.
Be more compact.

Relax and breathe...
relax ... relax ... relax

Saturday night I tried to put it all into motion. So many things to remember at once. I was so tired after lessons during the day - and still sore from the milonga the night before. I bandaged my toes and braced my knee, took some advil and headed out. I had to go dancing. I had to work the new information into my muscles while it was still fresh. I made it til midnight. Not bad for the shape I was in.

Was I any better? I don't really know. I felt better. My dances felt better. I'm going to start going to Tuesday's class and practica instead of the milonga I like so much. I need practice and feedback. It's less relaxing, but ultimately better for my dance.

At least I hope so.

4 comments:

WellHeeled said...

I completely agree! I would much rather go to classes / practicas than milongas at this point, even though everyone said how much fun they are. I just feel like instructional forums are much more helpful for my tango right now than social forums.

I actually wrote a similar post. ;) http://www.wellheeledblog.com/2009/10/12/new-wish-list-tango/

londontango said...

Not knowing how long you have been dancing, if you are going to have private lessons, try and just choose one person or couple to have them with, otherwise it can be confusing as everyone has their own style. Bend the knees, keep the knees straight, the hold, etc. I have been to many different classes, but have only had private lessons with one person so far.
Though you will only really know if you are getting any better is if you dance socially and choose your dance partners carefully. Although practicas are great places to practice moves, etc. the milonga is the place to actually dance. Good luck.

Mari said...

londontango - Thank you for your comments!

So far the advice has been very consistent across all the teachers (lucky for me) - though there's been rather a lot of it. I wanted to take privates from a few different people to learn better what their style was and because one particular teacher taught something very specific that the other teachers covered far less.

It also gave me the opportunity to find which type of instruction was going to be most helpful for me *right now*. My dancing and my instruction needs have changed, and with that, the type of teacher I want to study with. In time, I'm sure it will change again. Every teacher has their own strengths.

As far as milongas, I should have clarified. I'm giving up only one milonga for a practica. I go to three milongas a week so I'm getting a fair amount of social dancing in. Though nothing compared to what's available in London. This past month I have had no classes at all, and I'm missing them. I'm missing getting the feedback. Milongas are wonderful, but I've gone months without anyone letting me know I was doing something wrong or uncomfortable for them. I'd rather get more feedback, more often, than I'm getting right now.

Mari said...

Hola Well-heeled - I loved your entry (and commented.) Unfortunately, I can't give up the milongas completely as I'm far too addicted to them. Even my husband tells me to go when I start getting grouchy after missing a couple. Sad really. I am tending to go to the lower-cost ones these days. And I'm probably going to skip the festival milongas coming up in November. $30 a milonga is just too rich for me.

When I mentioned to another dancer (a leader) about something I had learned in a private, he said, "yeah, you've been doing that (the wrong thing) for awhile." My first thought was, "why didn't anyone tell me for heaven's sakes???" And then I remembered - I've only been going to milongas. No one corrects at the milonga, it's rude. So there was never an opportunity for anyone to give me feedback. Definitely past due for some feedback. :)