Thursday, May 29, 2008

Scouting tour notes (May 22-28)

Thursday, May 22
Verdi Club milonga. The space reopened with a new, fresher, lighter look and hardwood floors (likely maple). DJ Emilio did a fine job as always, and host Victor was as charming as ever.

Friday, May 23
Los Altos Milonga, with lesson on Milonga con traspie with Guillermo Garcia of Trio Garufa. The lesson was extremely basic, covering just the basic baldosa and side traspie step, with some work on the milonga rhythm beforehand. The host of this event, who is extremely gracious, is the same host as for the Sunnyvale Tarragon milonga. The food was excellent and came out in shifts so that it was more like a meal (appetizers of crackers and cheese, chips and dips; followed by fruit [big strawberries and pineapple], rolled roast beef and sliced red and yellow bell peppers; followed by dessert [ginger cake and chocolate chip cookies]. The floor was thin strip oak, but was oddly tacky-- not sticky enough for it to be a danger to dance on, but enough to be annoying and requiring a shoe change. DJ Emilio rocked the house of largely beginners.

Saturday, May 24
Sausalito Milonga @ Stage Dor with Gustavo & Jesica Hornos. As usual, maestros taught a fun, pretty sequence and broke it down for us in small simple pieces so that we could digest it easily and put it together and look fabulous in the end. Gustavo & Jesica are truly extraordinary teachers especially gifted in communication and skill. For both leaders and followers, the sequence began with three side extensions (followers right foot, leaders left foot). On the third extension, it is a full step. Leader does weight changes while follower gets pulled slightly off axis, as if for volcada, then she steps back left, back right, side left. She takes a side step right, then back side forward as if for molinete, then pivot while he paradas. She steps over with her right foot (with optional embellishment; the foot landing on the floor needs to be elegant, smooth and soft, not kerplunky), then he stops and leads her to back gancho of his left leg. She takes a forward step, leader offers his right leg, which follower ganchos with her right leg. Leader releases her gancho leg such that follower steps back, side, forward, as if for molinete, then he turns her and they step together (or he does an enrosque). The milonga was fun and the food plentiful and yummy, as usual.

Monday, May 26
TangoVida Ladies Technique class: Caminata & Adornos. We began with foot exercises to help strengthen our feet and ankles and to get us used to the idea/feeling of pushing off the floor with the feet to create movement side to side and forward and backward. We then practiced walking backward and forward, with much technical discussion on feet/leg movement. Maestra emphasized that the talus should be fully extended, so that the leg/ankle/foot are aligned straight. Maestro emphasized that this was a foot/ankle strength thing, on which all tango is built. For the adornos, we began with Ney's usual musicality exercise (clapping with chairs), and then walked with taps on the same beat exercises. One interesting variation that I had never been taught before was the air tap on the beat (so it was up high in the air, not down on the floor). As usual, it was a very good class, supplemented by good women's technique commentary from Ney Melo. I got to class early, and was pleased to see there was a good number of students in the earlier class (though it was imbalanced by too many followers). A new shipment of 60 Comme Il Faut shoes comes in tomorrow. Last class for the month is this Wednesday; after that Maestros are away in Europe teaching until June 23.

Wednesday, May 28
TangoVida Ladies Technique class: Molinete & Adornos. Much like Monday, we began with exercises to strengthen our feet and ankles. We also did more exercises to improve our muscle memory in both legs/feet with respect to doing some of the adornments, like the air tap, tapping to the side and back, and the caracia. We did just molinetes for an entire song, going in one direction, and another entire song going the other direction. For the adornos, we did the beat back on the left and right on the back step. We practiced walking in a small, tight circle doing taps on various beats and paying attention to how our bodies torqued and of course how our feet glided on the floor (with talus fully extended). From the earlier class, they did work on marching, so maestra incorporated that into our walks (on the quick steps). Great (challenging) class! New shipment of Comme Il Faut shoes are in and look great (lots of size 7). Ney and Jennifer are extremely gracious, offering yummy munchies (fruit, nuts, chocolate) and libations (coffee from pods, wine, water).

Come join me:

Friday, May 30 ODC Practica with lesson beforehand by Mario & Anabella (topic: boleos).

Saturday, May 31 Musicality classes with musician Leonardo Suarez-Paz

Saturday, May 31 Allegro Breast Cancer Benefit. Our Tango Con*Fusion maestras Christy, Chelsea, and Carolina will be there, so you should be too. See details @

Sunday, June 1. Chelsea teaches the lesson @ Cafe Cocomo milonga.

Monday, June 2 Tango Con*Fusion fundraiser milonga @ La Cumparsita @ Slovenian Hall. Bring cash/a fat checkbook, or 100,000+ miles on American/United/Continental. There will be a tango boutique with clothes, shoes, books, CDs, etc. Chelsea teaches the lesson.

Wednesday, June 4 Sacada and Volcada workshop with David Cadiz and Mayumi Fujio Morrow @ La Pista.

Mark your calendars:

June 7 Arona Primalani & Rosa Corisco women's technique workshop on expressive feet.

June 13-24 Omar Vega is coming to town! If you are a man, you should take his Men's Technique class (June 13 & 20). If you like his teaching style, you should go to the rest of his workshops (especially milonga).

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