Thursday, July 3, 2008

Scouting Tour Notes (June 26-July 2)

Friday, June 27 Diamond Heights Milonga @ St. Aiden's with lesson by Dani Tuero from Buenos Aires. The lesson on boleos was good. The first part focused on body alignment, connection, and range of motion/disassociation in Follower hips. Maestro had the Leaders walk around the Followers as Followers maintained rock solid connection with the Leaders, in open salon embrace, not in close embrace (so chests weren't touching), while keeping Follower hips and feet solidly on the ground, to see how far the range of motion was. Then the Leaders continued the connection and walked all the way around one way and then the other (Follower's weight is on the sole of one foot so that she can pivot). Then Leaders did the walk around, and then alternated with forward ochos, then forward overturned ochos. Finally, we played with the boleo lead/change in energy impulse to get the timing right. We worked on regular back boleos, and front contra boloes. Maestro is an excellent teacher (he teaches at Tango Brujo in BsAs on Mondays and was one of the student assistants at Luciana Valle's Intensivo) -- very encouraging with lots of individual feedback and positive reinforcement, and he spoke fluent English. He might be back in September, schedule permitting. The milonga was not too crowded, perhaps because of all the other local tango events that night. I had a good time though, as usual.

Sunday, June 29. Michelle & Murat workshops @ Cheryl Burke.
12-1:30pm - Breaking Bad Habits - Intermediate.
We began with one dance with a stranger, focusing on our weaknesses and their weaknesses, and then discussed them with each other. Then we shared our partner's weaknesses with the next dancer. Then we got into a circle and shared all our weaknesses with everyone and discussed where these problems might come from and what the solutions to them are. The subjects that came up: posture, automatic crossing when not led, no intention in our dance, hesitation in our steps. We then worked on these concepts (as well as our own weaknesses), really thinking about them as we danced with different dancers. We worked on different ways of leading to the cross, which caused different crosses to be made: regular, none, side cross, big cross with left leg going significantly past the right leg so that right leg is straight and left leg is significantly bent. We also worked on ocho movement -- different types of ochos (big, small, circular and linear) and the movement itself: wide circular chest lead, which caused lots of Follower hip rotation; linear with nearly no hip rotation for Follower and movement in Leader chest. The wide circular ocho breaks the connection, whereas the linear one maintains it.

1:45-3:15pm - Precise Intentions, Better Turns - Inter/Adv.
We began with exercises to strengthen and increase the expressiveness in our feet: this entailed pivoting on one foot while the other foot did small rulos, big rulos, adding rotation to get ourselves around in a circle, then writing in cursive our names, our parents names, etc., with our feet. We also moved our feet in a yes motion (up and down), a no motion (sideways back and forth) and a maybe notion (around in a circle, clockwise and counterclockwise), and pretending we were stepping on a bug or stubbing out a cigarette. We did other exercises to get our minds in a different place, like pretending we were stirring soup with a spoon (small pot, then medium pot, then big pot). We then connected our spoon stirring hand with our circling foot. If that didn't help, we imagined a string being connected from our hand to our feet. To add intention to the molinete, the Leaders imagined they had a sack of seeds, and were reaching in, and then flinging them freely as if trying to scatter them widely. If the Follower is following his lead correctly, there will be an airiness to her completing the molinete. Then the Leaders imagined themselves stepping on something hot and step back quickly not to get burned; this caused a check step for the leader where the energy is very strong, focused, and quick. We then added sacadas to the molinete and a change of direction in the molinete with Follower sacada right before, then after, so he can step with, which sets him up for a back sacada.

3:30-5:00pm - Musicality in the Partnership -
We began with a group discussion of musicality (leader is not 100% responsible for the musical interpretation of the dance; Follower has input as well). Then we walked, trying to stop at each phrase with either the 8CB regular close or in the cross, and begin walking at the appropriate time. Then we could dance the way we wanted to, but trying to stop at the end of the phrase in either 8CB regular close or cross. To make things easier on us, he played the same Canaro tango so that we would become familiar with the music. Then he switched the music to a Canaro vals. The workshop was spent on finding the phrases (stops and starts) and also the pauses in the music.

Overall, I thought Murat & Michelle were great. I'd go again to their next workshops.

Cafe Cocomo milonga and lesson with Ney Melo & Jennifer Bratt. We began with Ney's usual musicality exercise, clapping on the beats while he directed us visually with chairs. Then we practiced walking forward and back, really concentrating on the foot movement and when our toes and heels touched the ground. The figure taught was the 8CB to 5 (cross), then Leader paradas and Follower steps over, with resolution to forward ocho. Maestra taught some embellishments for the Follower pasada step -- the swivel from the knee down, sweeping the floor in a semicircle back once or twice before stepping over; and the addition of taps. I had an OK time at the milonga; I like the way the DJ announces the orchestra he is playing, and the time period of the songs.

Thursday, July 3. Women's Technique @ tangoVida.

Thursday, July 3-Saturday, July 12 -- Nora's Tango Week & Weekend milongas. Tickets will be available at the door, but you should try to get them early (like at tonight's FREE grand opening milonga 6 p.m. to midnight) as some days will likely sell out (like the 6th, 10th, 11th, and 12th).

Mark your calendars!

Homer & Christina Ladas are starting a new once-a-month Friday night advanced seminario + practilonga and Saturday afternoon intermediate intensivos + practicas beginning in August. Check out the flyer & dates:

August 18 - Omar Vega Leader's Technique @ Alberto's.

August 22-24 - Tete & Silvia workshops.

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