Thursday, May 8, 2008

Scouting tour notes - April 30 - May 7

Wednesday, April 30
CCSF classes - semester review. In Follower's technique, we reviewed the floor exercises we learned to increase abdominal strength and torquing range of motion/disassociation. We also worked on rhythm and speed in our walking/embellishing exercises across the floor. Maestra noted that the best adornos are not planned and just come naturally when you/your feet really let go and feel the music. In Advanced, we reviewed much of what we learned in the beginning of the semester, namely the cadena (both sides) and molinete resolving into low back boleo and front contra boleo.

Sunday, May 4
Women's Technique workshop with Negracha and Diego Lanau @ La Pista. We began with a balance exercise, slowly walking across the floor, then raising our leg straight up and forward, then bringing it in and back down in a caracia. Focus was on balance, control, and quality of movement. Next, a lead/follow exercise without using our hands just focusing on connecting with our eyes and leading with our bodies. Next, we worked on molinetes, with the focus of really turning our hips, especially on the back step. We did the same with forward ochos and back ochos. We ended with 8CB embellishments -- beat back before 3 (movement should be quick and sharp); after 5 (cross) right foot tap on pivot on cross of spiral front cross out. Negracha and Diego emphasized dancing on the whole foot, with heel down, for balance and stability/groundedness (saying that leaders do not dance on their toes with heels up all the time, and followers shouldn't either [except during pivots]).

Monday, May 5
La Cumparsita Milonga @ Slovenian Hall. Negracha and Diego taught the extremely well-attended lesson, which were a couple of sequences: 8CB to 5 (cross), then ocho cortado. 8CB to 5 (cross), then Follower moinete with leader sacada, to ocho cortado. They did two beautiful demos -- of milonga and of tango (to Canaro's Poema). They again emphasized dancing on the whole foot for followers.

Tuesday, May 6
Ladies Technique @ TangoVida (Ney Melo & Jennifer Bratt's new studio, 1120 Pacific @ Taylor). I couldn't resist checking out this new studio in my old 'hood, and I am glad I did. This was a truly excellent class; what a huge blessing for the SF Bay Area community to have such a gifted women's technique maestra like Jennifer Bratt. We began with foot exercises to increase strength, articulation and expression. We then worked on front and back ochos; Jennifer emphasized that the movement should be continual and smooth (not jerky or stopped at points); that the foot that comes around should be very pointed; and that the step is a real step, with heel to the ground (not all on the ball of the foot -- though heel must obviously be lifted at pivot). We worked on embellishing the ocho with front and back tucks, as well as taping. It's a nice sized space with mirrors on one side of the room; sustainable bamboo floor; art nouveau-inspired decor; Comme Il Faut and MalevaMan shoe boutique; complimentary coffee from pods and fortune cookies; difficult street parking; pay parking lots and Hyde St. cable car nearby. Prices: $60 per class series; $120 for 2 class series; $150 unlimited monthly pass (a bargain!); $20 drop in; Visa and MasterCard accepted. First class is free, so no excuse not to check it out. The studio is just starting up, so classes are still small; attending now gets you a lot of individual attention. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Thursday, May 8 Maybe the Mariposa Tango Club milonga.

Friday, May 9 Maybe either Downtown Palo Alto milonga or Monte Cristo.

Saturday, May 10 Negracha & Diego women's technique workshop @ La Pista.

Sunday, May 11 Studio Gracia milonga. Negracha & Diego teach.

Monday, May 12 - La Cumparsita milonga @ Slovenian Hall. Last chance to get your Negracha & Diego fix before they leave.

Wednesday, May 14. Last day of CCSF AT classes; neat potluck (no sloppy joes) milonga 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Mark your calendars:
Monday, June 2 fundraiser milonga @ La Cumparsita @ Slovenian Hall. Tango ConFusion has been invited to participate at the Queer Tango Festival in BsAs later this year. This fundraiser is for the airfare for the 6 ladies in the group. Please plan on joining, either with a big fat checkbook, or lots of miles you can donate to the cause. Chelsea Eng teaches the lesson, so here's a chance for all you non-CCSFers to see what you are missing (and maybe inspire you to sign up for her classes or privates).

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