Thursday, July 31, 2008

Scouting Tour (July 24-30)

Friday, July 25
Diamond Heights milonga & lesson with David Cadiz & Lisette Perelle. The lesson was good, as usual. David & Lisette have a very complementary teaching style, with good instruction on technique. The sequence: 8CB to the cross, with Leader parada and Follower pasada (tech tip: Follower's hand needs to slide down Leader's arm to allow space) (embellishment: caracia up right side of left leg, then down left side of left leg, right foot traces around leader's left foot). Then Follower steps forward, side like for half molinete, during which Leader sacadas. When Follower's weight is entirely on the back left leg, Leader stops her right leg with his left leg, then brings her in for Follower right leg outside gancho of Leader's left leg. Optional end is right into contra boleo of Follower's left leg. For Leader's technique: in the gancho, the Leader brings Follower forward to axis, then pivots, then around (taking her slightly off axis), holding her and supporting her with the Leader's left arm. For Follower's technique: she needs to get used to sliding her left hand up and down leaders arm/back to allow space. In the gancho, Follower talus should be fully extended so foot is lively (not dead).

The milonga was a blast. I had the audacity to cabaceo Omar Vega for the first tanda. He looked away. :o( But then he looked back half a minute later and cabaceo'd me while I was sitting in a long tight line of other followers. Shocked, I mouthed to him "me?" and pointed to myself. He must have thought I looked very funny, because he laughed and nodded his head "yes" and pointed at me. I am sure my gasp was visible during my enthusiastic nod yes. We danced 1.5 tandas, and stayed on the floor during the cortina (violating one of the milonga codigos; this would never have happened in Buenos Aires). So, how was it? To be honest, it was nerve racking. I was painfully aware of every little mistake I made, every little spot where I should have been more free, every little spot where I should have been more disciplined. Plus it was hot, so I was sweaty. It reminded me of dancing with Roberto Riobo, where I could tell he was doing a lot of play with his own footwork, but I felt unsure, tentative, nervous, afraid in my own dancing, even though our embrace was secure (but there were moments where I was painfully aware of pulling away). What a sport he was for taking me out on a first spin around the dance floor. Omar Vega's Wednesday milonga at Cesar's 23 Club in Brisbane starts August 20, with lesson from 7:00-8:30 p.m. followed by milonga until midnight ($20 for both, $10 milonga only).

Saturday, July 26
5th Anniversary Sausalito milonga & lesson with Gustavo & Jesica Hornos @ Stage Dor. Lesson topic was improvisation, so maestros taught an easy sequence and showed us all the different places Followers could embellish and Leaders could change the ending. The sequence: Follower steps side right (Leader steps side left). Leader does parada of Follower's outside right foot (Follower embellishment options for free left foot: back rulo, then reverse direction to forward rulo as she pivots around, and/or back boleo [air tap]). Leader does parada of Follower's right foot (Follower embellishment: forward rulo and caracia. Follower technical point: her foot has to REALLY connect with the his paradaing right foot and come to a complete STOP before she steps over) to step over (in) toward Leader in a more circular manner in order to remain in front of Leader. Optional endings: (1) step out normally; (2) Follower steps forward (Leader steps backward); (3) Follower does step side, then forward (as if for half molinete), then pivot into forward ocho/amague. Leader then leads her to step forward with right foot, then left foot into a reverse volcada. The point of the lesson was to illustrate that are lots of opportunities to play and embellish. Maestra allowed us Followers to just play with the movement, freeing our bodies, and not be concerned with the look of the move yet since many of the embellishments were new to some. Technical points: Leader must give her time. Follower's hand and Leader's arm must both be able to slide to accommodate space for the move (like in the Follower's forward ocho/amague). The milonga was OK. It was sweltering hot in there, because the roof has no insulation and it was very hot in Sausalito that day. For the 5 year celebration, there was cake and wine, and the last dance of the night had 5 different versions of La Cumparsita. Maestros thanked everyone in the past 5 years who have helped make the Sausalito milonga a success.

Monday, July 28
La Cumparsita milonga @ Slovenian Hall. I had a blast, as usual. Jon & Judy taught the lesson, but I did not attend it (I have to watch the budget more closely now that severance has run out).

Wednesday, July 30
CCSF Latin Dance Party. They only played two tangos (a ballroom version of La Cumparsita, twice!), but I had a blast. It was potluck, and everyone was very generous.

Come join me!

Thursday, July 31
TangoVida women's technique and/or CCSF ballroom/Latin dance party & potluck 6-10 p.m. It's free, and friends & family are invited, so please come!

Friday, August 1
Monte Cristo Milonga & Lesson with Claudio & Agustina.

Saturday, August 2
Workshops with Claudio & Agustina
Danceasy Milonga & Lesson with my favorite visiting maestros Negracha y Diego Lanau :o)

Sunday, August 3
Workshops with Claudio & Agustina
Studio Gracia Milonga

Monday, August 4
La Cumparsita Milonga & Lesson with Claudio y Agustina.

Tuesday, August 5
TangoVida women's technique

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