It seems that we need more practicas where new dancers can practice and get help IF WANTED. I have hear nothing but good things about Alex's noon practica, but constant complaints about what is happening at other practicas (for the most part, not due to the organizers).
Many of my female students don't go to practicas because they don't get to dance with advanced dancers unless they put up with extreme critiques. Instead, they go to milongas where the dancers can't "teach" to them. They don't take time to practice because of this situation. Many of my male students are frustrated that women don't go to practicas (but see the reason above!) Most of the dancers I teach are aware of the need for practice time. However, they are tired of "helpful" more advanced followers who won't just let them practice in peace.
Scott Forbes told me how terrifying it was to start dancing at milongas. Because I taught dance before learning tango, I never had that experience. In Buenos Aires, I just took up the gauntlet, jumped in, and learned to lead. It truly never occurred to me that dancing at a milonga was a stressful experience.
SO . . . Suba and I are going to organize a practica for people who have danced for up to two years or so. We will invite more advanced dancers who promise to ONLY give feedback when asked (including us). No pressure, no criticism, but help available on request from nice people! We will invite more advanced dancers (community service anyone?) to come dance and hang out.