Thursday, February 28, 2008

Scouting tour continues...(Pulpo's workshop)

February 28 – Pulpo's workshop @ La Pista. He started promptly to teach the ~40 people who showed up for the lesson. He started with the enganche. To lead the first enganche, the leader slightly lifts the follower's right side, arm, which causes her right leg to lift and enganche outside his left hip/waist. First option after this: Leader can keep her right leg suspended on the outside of his left hip/waist, then step around, and forward, to force her to enganche his right leg that steps through, with her same right leg. Second option: Leader can swivel her out, turning her so that she enganches the Leader's same left leg with her other leg (left) (it's a straddle movement, where leader can just leave his leg out and swivel the follower, forcing her to enganche from side to side with her left or right leg). From here, he can turn her out and away in the opposite direction, while her left leg is still between Leader's legs, so that it can kick back in a (gentle) back gancho. Resolution: Leader releases Follower's leg; Follower steps forward. We did one dance just playing with the ganchos, just doing them whenever there was an opportunity, and putting together all that we learned about the bodywork related to ganchos: playing with closing and opening the embrace + the different directional torques of upper body for both Leader and Follower + Leader hip movements and sacadas = to get Follower legs to enganche/gancho. It was physically and mentally freeing just to play around and discover and explore what opportunities there were to do ganchos, and also to learn how our bodies move in relation to each other. Excellent class! Milonga was very crowded (~70 people by the time I left), and many local teachers showed up for it (some for the lesson, too).

February 29 – Pulpo's workshop @ La Pista. Figure 1: Leader back sacada with his left leg to catch Follower's left leg; he then steps back with his right leg, through her two legs, forcing her left leg to enganche his right leg, and this can then flow into another enganche/gancho of that same leg with Follower's right leg by the Leader turning his body. Figure 2: A circular/continual figure where Leader back sacadas with his left leg, catching Follower's left leg, stepping back to displace it. Follower brings left leg and foot back and to the side across the front of her body (like for a molinete), leaving her right leg behind, which leader catches and then displaces. This can go on endlessly, round and round. Figure 3: We spent the last 3 minutes with a Leader back sacada of his left leg in between Follower's two legs. Technical points: The moves involved a lot of torquing/torsion in the upper body, especially for the leader, keeping Follower upper body still so she doesn't move her feet until he enganches or displaces her leg. For Follower, much of these moves involved/resolved into molinete footwork on the exit after displacement bringing her foot back and stepping to the side in front across her own body. It also involved keeping Follower up on the balls of her feet because of all the pivoting without stepping or changing weight for Follower; Leader also has to be on the balls of his feet when pivoting. These moves involve a lot of changing/fluidity in the embrace, which is a very tricky thing to master to look effortless, more so when there is a large height disparity. It was a small class, only about 12 people, so I got a chance to dance with Maestro. He is wonderful—an amazingly gentle lead, with absolute awareness of where the Follower is. He's an excellent teacher – fluent and very fun. He often just stepped back, sat down, and watched us work it out together on our own. He brought some shoes for sale, which he will leave at La Pista for future orders – most were made by P.H. (same makers of mine!); a couple others were NeoTango.

March 2 – Studio Gracia milonga. I had a good time.

March 5 – CCSF classes. In Followers' Technique and Advanced we continued our work on boleos, and touched a little bit on ganchos.

March 7 – Maybe David & Lisette lesson @ La Pista (topic: Volcadas)

March 8 – Maybe Sausalito Milonga & Lesson with Gustavo & Jesica Hornos (topic: paradas, barridas, enganches).

March 9 – Maybe Studio Gracia Milonga & Lesson – Negracha & Diego teach (topic: turns y cont-turns)

March 10 – La Cumparsita Milonga @ Slovenian Hall.

March 12 – CCSF classes. Midterm review.


Excellent Maestros Negracha & Diego Lanau are back in the Bay Area! They will be teaching at the Danceasy in El Cerrito and Studio Gracia in San Francisco most Saturdays and Sundays in March, April and May. Keep your eyes peeled on for other appearances. They are among my very favorite maestros, so I will try to go to as many of their lessons as possible. I hope you'll join me!

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