Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 12-18

Monday, March 16, 2009
La Cumparsita Milonga with lesson by George Garcia.
I always wondered what the hoopla was all about regarding this particular maestro, since I had never taken a lesson with him despite his visiting the Bay Area reasonably often. Now I figured it out. Yes, he is as good as everyone says he is, and it is easy to see why so many people like and admire him. In teaching, his choice of words is precise and efficient, and he has a wonderful tone and cadence in his delivery. He seems quite fun, funny and nice. During the milionga, he was a good sport in dancing with the local aspiring tanguera students, and invited visiting maestros Judy and Jon to do a demo as well, really building them up beforehand with kind words.

For the lesson, we began with the embrace -- a hug. Maestro noted that the Follower's torso should be forward, but that her spine should be vertical (not leaning) so that she remains on her axis. The dancers' faces might not touch. It is important to keep the posture very vertical and upright (not leaning). In the embrace, each dancers' palm should be on their partner's spine so that there is lots of energy and communication between the dancers' palms. This way, you have a more lush, robust connection. The Leader's hand on his partner's spine is an early warning system about where she is stepping.

Maestro discussed the verb esperar (to wait), which is related to the word esperanza (hope). So in our dancing, when we wait, we should not pause and be still like a statue, we should "hope" with our free dancing, embellishing leg (so there is movement, expectation conveyed in that free embellishing leg).

There are three flavors of walking: Strawberry (medium walk), Vanilla (regular walk) or Chocolate (big strong walk or like a period at the end of a sentence). Followers should follow aggressively to be even with the Leader. If she is not aggressive in her following, she will give the appearance of being pulled through the song by the Leader, and always a little late, behind, off the music. The Leader is both leader and follower: As he follows her into her point of axis, he tracks her.

The sequence was a simple one:
8CB to 5 (cross), the Leader steps right back to unwind her, then Follower steps forward clockwise to the left with her right foot while the Leader steps to the side with his left foot (and changes weight), Follower rotates to right foot, doing low boleo into forward volcada with her free left leg. The Leader steps forward diagonally with his right foot to send Follower's left foot back to forward cross in front of her right foot. Maestro noted that a volcada is a boleo that also opens to the side. For technique, the Follower should always try to have visual aim on the Leader's right cheek so that when he brings her around, her left leg will go out and around.

The next sequence was the same volcada, only doing it from a counterclockwise molinete, where Follower does left back, right side, left forward, to unwind, stepping forward with her right foot in clockwise direction in front of and near leader, to do volcada with her left foot. The Follower's tip of the day was to be like a kitty cat -- in doing the molinete, you want to be near the Leader, virtually rubbing his body with yours like a kitty cat would.

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