Thursday, July 24, 2008

Scouting Tour (July 17-23)

Sunday, July 20
Patricia Hilliges & Matteo Panero workshops ($25 ea, 2 for $45)
3:00-4:30 p.m. Tango - elegance & embellishments
Maestros taught a pretty sequence, with good embellishments: Follower does right side step, followed by left leg back boleo (floor) into Americana. Follower does forward ocho with right leg (embellishment: round and out, then collect @ ankles). Follower steps forward on right foot, steps forward on left, does pivot turn with optional embellishment of right shoe show-off, steps forward with left foot with optional embellishment of air tap into counterclockwise molinete into forward ocho (with optional embellishment of small rulo) before Leader parada/follower pasada. It was a small class with much technical discussion and individual attention with respect to Follower embellishments:
(1) Boleo should be floor boleo for social dance floor with big toe on the floor all the time.
(2) In the molinete, the Follower's left leg, as she goes around, can be out and smooth -- that's an embellishment
(3) Air tap in left leg step forward the foot should be alive and talus fully extended.
(4) For the rulo on ocho, be sure to collect feet when they pass each other.
On posture, maestro emphasized expansion in Follower rib cage, relaxation in the Follower's right arm, and connect with Leader in Follower's left arm. Maestro gave a lot of technical tips re: lead, when/where to lift her, when to put her down; concept of leader moving his right arm to accommodate her need for more space during certain moves (like ocho); step straight in the Americana so legs are not crossed or feet are in each others' space; block Follower with Leader's body in parada to slow her down and add drama to the move.

5:00-6:30 p.m. Turns in Tango Vals

We worked on a turn -- clockwise molinete from Follower's right side step. Leader steps back and then into a pivot turn back into the line of dance. This class was much more well attended, but nearly everyone went with their own partner and did not switch, which meant the 4 extra leaders who came solo would have been out of luck if Dorcas hadn't stepped in to at least alleviate some of the follower shortage.

Overall, the workshops and maestros teaching style were good.

I did not stay for Dorcas's milonga even though she offered to comp me in since I came all the way from SF and attended both workshops (and many others in the past). The floor that day was oddly tacky and extremely sticky and dangerous in some parts. Maybe someone spilled a sugary drink on the dance floor earlier in the week, or maybe they were doing some preliminary/stop gap "refinishing" to the floor.

Monday, July 21
Pulpo workshop @ La Pista ($20; 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.). The lesson focused more on tecnica del Pulpo (rather than Pulpeadas). We began with a connection exercise with Follower's left arm and Leader's right arm in light embrace, with the other hands not connected at all. We walked together with chest connection, and then walked together with pivots to change the weight to the Leader's axis, and then to the Follower's axis. We worked on molinete movement, with Leader leading with his right arm, and then following the Follower's momentum as she went around. For the sequence, the Leader parada's with his right leg to stop Follower. Holding her, he then sends her out a little sideways, like for a small colgada, with Follower's left leg suspended. He then takes one step around her clockwise, then releases her so that she is able to step forward with her left leg while he steps forward simultaneously with his right leg. We then worked on connecting in the forward ocho, whereby the Leader lifts Follower a little bit to suspend the movement and they connect, then he sets her down and they go. For the other part of the sequence, the Follower does a counterclockwise molinete, whereby after her back step, Leader does barrida of her right foot with his right foot, which can roll right into Follower's left leg gancho of Leader's right leg, which can then roll right into the mini-colgada suspended step. Overall, it was a great lesson, though the class was quite small (only 3 couples + 1 follower). Maestro was kind and generous to teach us past the appointed end time, eager beavers that we all were, and hold an impromptu practica until past 11:00 p.m.

Tuesday, July 22
TangoVida ladies' technique workshop. We began with our usual exercises to increase strength (going up and down on our toes, both feet and then one feet, and suspending them for 10 seconds) and get our bodies used to performing certain moves (taps from back going all the way forward, beats back to the other side of our opposite legs [next to, then up and down], and increasing the space/motion in our ribs from our waist (part of how Jennifer & Ney teach cadencia), and disassociating our ribs from our hips and neck. We also practiced walking backwards with taps (with one leg, then the other, then both). And also walking backward to the cross, pivoting as if for Leader parada/Follower pasada, step over, step side left (collect), step side right (collect), continually. We worked on an embellishment, which was basically a straightened out molinete footwork move (forward, side, back, side, forward, etc.), whereby we began with a side step, then did a rulo to end on the back step, then did a very fast beat back embellishment to opposite side before side stepping in the correct direction, then step forward. We practiced this first going to the right, and then to the left (which was more difficult). Overall, it was a great class, as usual. One tricky thing I needed to wrap my mind around was where to be on the balls of my feet during which step or whatever we were practicing, which is the exact opposite of what I've previously been working on (dancing using my whole foot, rather than just always being on the balls of my feet

Come join me!

Thursday, July 24
Mechanics Institute Books Signing with Luis & Claudia

Friday, July 25
San Rafael practica & lesson with Gustavo & Jesica Hornos @ Masonic Auditorium
OR Diamond Heights milonga & lesson with David & Lisette

Saturday, July 26
Tangoed Up In the Blues @ La Pista
5th Anniversary Sausalito milonga & lesson with Gustavo & Jesica Hornos @ Stage Dor

Sunday, July 27
Ernest William milonga workshops @ Alberto's in Mountain View

Monday, July 28
La Cumparsita milonga & lesson @ Slovenian Hall.

Tuesday, July 29
TangoVida women's technique

Tasty tidbits ...

Word on the baldosa is that Omar Vega will be starting a milonga with one-hour lesson beforehand on Wednesday nights at the 23 Club in Brisbane. Being near my old 'hood, I can say that parking is easy, and Brick Oven Pizza up the street has some good eats.

Did one/some of y'all mention that you were going to BsAs in November? If so, you should think about attending Luciana Valle's Intensivo, where she teaches, and you have as your partner her hand-chosen assistants (so no more getting frustrated trying to learn with newbies who lack body control and/or knowledge). A new section just opened up, scheduled for November 6-12. It books up quickly, so if you are thinking of going, you should sign up ASAP.

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