Saturday, June 14 Omar Vega workshops on Milonga (Figures & Floorcraft, Traspie). Maestro especially emphasized the rhythmic aspects of milonga music, and really spent a lot of time trying to help us train our ears and our bodies to move to the tango rhythm. Maestro taught us 5-6 small simple steps (like the two steps shown here -- a basic step, and a forward and reverse step for right and left foot -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v
Nora's milonga at Allegro. I had a much better time here than I typically have, perhaps because they did not turn on the strobe light (which gives me a headache).
Sunday, June 15 Omar Vega workshops on Tango (Figures & Floorcraft, Orillero). This lesson had twice as many followers than leaders, and some couples who didn't change partners, so it was a bummer day for single followers. Like yesterday, Maestro began the day with helping us train our ear to listen to tango music and to move our bodies to the music. He illustrated the three different types of candombe rhythms (one like a horse, one like a pampa, and the third like something else I forget). Interestingly, he taught a musicality concept of dancing not on the beat, but slightly ahead of the beat. We tried it, and most of us were confused by it and couldn't do it, so we ended up walking on the beat the same way we all always do. He noted the dancers with amazing musical sense are Pupy Castello, Julio Balmeceda, and Tete (who is coming to the Bay Area in August --- woo hoo!!!). I don't remember any specific step/sequence from the day's first workshop.
The second workshop was on tango Orillero, which is a very old style of tango dancing, and which doesn't really exist much anymore. Why? Because it is difficult and you need a lot of space to do it (traditionally this was done outside on patios, on the ground, on dirt, and you might see it at the outdoor milonga at the Plaza Dorego in Buenos Aires). The way the feet hit the ground has a historical reference point, it having been done originally by the gauchos -- who were not used to wearing proper shoes since they wore boots all day -- so they would step exaggeratedly and gingerly. Other aspects of Orillero: It is done in close embrace, and the follower is held very tight; there is a lot of flexion in the knees; the Leader's left hand is lifted high in the embrace, and he holds the Follower's finger tips so he doesn't twist her wrist; it's a very strong dance with lots of connection. We did a series of steps: (1) the low crouching forward step with a front and back step in the right foot for Follower (left foot for Leader), and then a jump switch to get Follower's extended forward right leg to back and her back extended left leg forward. (2) Forward walk leg entwined ochos. (3) Crouching linear jump flip from one side to the other, followed by crossing step forward facing diagonal ocho, done when Leader and Follower are side by side next to each other. Technical point during this is that both people have to be upright. (4) He then turns her so she is back in front of him, and they do a series of diagonal grapevines to the Follower's left, whereby their feet meet, and then to Follower's right, whereby their legs are in parallel. (5) A series of side steps with alternating forward and back grapevines. This was an extremely challenging class and unlike any other I have experienced. Maestro is very funny and a great teacher. I wished I were a man so I could have gone to his Men's technique class last Friday. He will teach different subjects at his other workshops in the Bay Area, so it would be worthwhile to attend them all.
Alberto's Milonga. I stopped in briefly since Dorcas as kind enough to comp me in since I had taken all of Omar Vega's workshops the last two days. I only stayed long enough to dance with one of my favorite leaders, who brought in his children to watch him dance, and when I was bold enough, with Omar Vega, whom I asked to dance. We danced to two songs, and I found him incredibly charming and obviously a great lead. I tried to quiet my screaming mind "Oh my gosh!!! I am dancing with Omar Vega!!!" but wasn't terribly successful.
Come join me!
Thursday, June 19-Sunday June 22. SFTX events. Check www.sftx.info or www.tangomango.org to attend the events open to the public (especially the cellspace Space costume milonga Sunday night -- SEE YOU THERE!!! Think Star Wars cantina...).