Thursday, February 7, 2008

Scouting tour continues...

February 1 – ODC milonga with live music by Hombres de Tango (Seth & Marcelo). The usual room's lights weren't dimmable, so they moved us to another room, which was stuffy and sweltering. The dancing was OK, despite the site issues.

February 3 – Brigitta Winkler workshops in Palo Alto. The first workshop was "Wind & Unwind: The Power of the Spiral." We began with disassociation exercises (top of body, lower body, then adding left foot and right foot forward and turning body to left and to right, then with left foot and right foot back and turning body to left and right). We also did breathing exercises (up and down, in and out). Step 1: Follower steps left foot forward to outside right of leader (like for molinete), really practicing the spiral in the chest for leader and follower. Step 2: Leader paradas follower, then walks around her. Follower footwork remains planted on ground, but upper body torques (spirals) from one side, to neutral, and then to other as leader is walking around her. Resolution: follower steps forward with left foot.

The second workshop was "Nuevo Milonguero." We began with walking exercises to get our heads in a different place (not line of dance, in arbitrary way with no pattern, then trying to shake hands with people as we passed, then a slow walk, then walk looking at the ceiling). Since this was a milonguero workshop, we did close embrace connection exercises (accepting the other person in the embrace; feeling Follower's breath in their rib cage as leaders embrace them). The sequence built on what we learned in the Spiral workshop: Ocho cortado with Leader sacada. Leader catches Follower's left foot and raises it, then places it back on floor (either straight up and down or lifting it over and to side, slightly forward). Leader option: place the foot down, then step through (sacada) deeper again, then turn her body slightly sideways to force Follower's right leg to gancho leader's right leg. Follower technical point: pay attention to the quality of the gancho – imagine your free leg is like the trunk of an elephant or other animal that has good gancho-like qualities (giraffe, mantis [sharp], snake). To reiterate the concept of the connection of the feet, we experimented with a connection exercise using our hands, where one person's hand would go up and down and side to side on the beat of the music, and the other person would try to catch it, connect with it, and left it up.

Brigitta is an awesome teacher (with much focus on concepts, and a different way of looking at them and teaching them); I wish I had gone to more of her workshops. Interestingly, she said that Berlin (where she is from) is 2nd in the world for Argentine Tango, after Buenos Aires. Funny, I had heard San Francisco was 2nd in the world! This was one of the last events at the Elks Club Palo Alto because it will soon be torn down. :o(

February 3 – Studio Gracia milonga. I had an excellent time. I danced so much that day, I actually got a blister.

February 8 – Ferry Building Milonga (be there or be square, it's FREE, close to Embarcadero BART/MUNI, starts @ 5:30 p.m.); maybe Monte Cristo after if I am ambitious (8:00 p.m. lesson is sacadas for women and men, with guest teacher Kat Kwan MacDonald). I should probably go to this, as I do hesitate doing sacadas, even though the leader is clearly leading me to do it.

February 9 – Gustavo & Jesica Sausalito milonga and lesson (topic: sacadas, boleos, and volcadas).

February 10 – Tango: A Romantic Ritual Stage Show, followed by Belrose Matinee Milonga. If Jamie and I are maniacs, then Studio Gracia that night as well, where Trio Garufa will play (their first time back in many years).

February 11 – La Cumparsita Milonga @ Slovenian Hall. Gustavo Benzecry Sabá & María Olivera from BsAs teach the lesson.

February 12 – Maybe Ney Melo's class.

February 13 – CCSF Classes. Really better go to class. I've missed the last two weeks.

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