Sunday, February 24, 2008

Scouting tour continues...(Cafe' Cocomo)

February 24 – Café Cocomo. Marcelo Solis & Romina Hahn taught the lesson, which was a conceptual and technical one that touched on connection, Leader chest lead and Follower leaning slightly forward posture, and cross system footwork. I found them to be good teachers, and liked how they participated in the milonga with the rest of the dancers. DJ Polo Talnir did a good job as well, announcing the different orchestras, time periods and other interesting facts about the music before each tanda. The crowd seemed boozier, maybe because of the fully stocked bar. The dancer quality was higher than average, with only one couple who looked like absolute beginners. Food was the usual sliced cheese, slice meats, a couple of dips, crackers, and pretzels. There was a birthday vals with two small cakes (for 3 birthdays). This was the best time I had at Café Cocomo in a very long time, so I'll likely go there more often going forward. There's a special Leap Year dance this Friday, February 29.

February 25 – La Cumparsita milonga & lesson, taught by Jon & Judy: "Exploring the Americana." How to get in: from two forward ochos for Follower whereby leader sacadas second one. We tried two resolutions: (1) in cross system, and (2) in parallel system footwork. Some variations: Americana to molinete (exiting in cross and parallel systems) and into another Americana. Follower amague (beat back) embellishment added. Lots of technical and conceptual discussion: (1) Follower's left arm needs to be flexible in terms of being close and opening it up (and same for Leader with his right arm) to allow room for the move. (2) In the Americana, Leader should not look away from Follower, otherwise it breaks the connection (and looks "ballroom"). (3) When the Leader leads Follower out and away perpendicular to him, he does it with his left arm leading Follower to go back to where he wants her to go. Jon showed us this concept by leading Judy with his arm in front of her, and she holding onto it to show his arm movement would be the same whether it was in front or behind her (though obviously for tango it would be behind her). Other random comments from Jon: When dancing to D'Arienzo, it's OK to not do any pauses since he is the king of rhythm. Back sacadas are not for social dancing; it's a more exhibition-/performance-type move. That's why he won't teach it in a group class (he'll only teach it in a private). If you see someone doing a back sacada in a BsAs milonga, he is obviously not a local. Overall, I like Jon and Judy as teachers. We were in the room across the hall (the heater works better there and there's a clock) since they are refinishing the floors in the usual space. It wasn't particularly well attended, but nicely balanced, so I had a good time.

February 27 – CCSF classes (topic: boleos). In Followers' Technique, we worked on barre and floor exercises, practicing doing boleos and working on being extremely loose and free (sloppy feet are OK) and also being precise and cleaning up the leg and footwork (thighs and knees together, foot up as high as it can go on high boleo). In Advanced, we first did exercises in practice embrace with Follower doing boleo movement, and leader feeling what her range of motion is, trying to detect the point at which he can feel the rebound. We also quickly reviewed all the boleos we learned last semester (back, forward, with and contra), including a figure going from Follower molinete with Leader sacadas into back boleos and front contra boleos.

February 28 – Pulpo's workshops @ La Pista.

February 29 – Pulpo's workshops @ La Pista maybe followed by St. Aiden's Milonga or Café Cocomo Leap Year Milonga (Nora & Edu teach the lesson; Hombres de Tango perform).

March 1 – maybe the Late Shift @ The Metronome.

March 2 – maybe Studio Gracia

March 3 – La Cumparsita @ Slovenian Hall milonga and lesson (Pier & Daniel teach: Colgadas [Nuevo]).

March 5 – CCSF classes.


To my tanguero foodies (and y'all know who you are): Pena Pachamama Tango Night is March 7, with Christy & Darren, Chelsea & Count performing. There is a $12 cover. Food is Bolivian, with a lot of organic raw vegan items (in addition to the usual meat and hot cooked foods). Reservations required, and let them know you want to be seated downstairs where the show is (upstairs does not have a view of the show). There are 2 seatings: 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Followed by….Trio Garufa's CD Release Party @ Ashkenaz in Berkeley (also March 7). 3 members of tango Con*Fusion will perform around midnight.

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