Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February 11-17

Saturday, February 13, 2010
The Late Shift Milonga with lesson beforehand by Brigitta Winkler.
As usual, this was a fantastic lesson. We began with posture exercises to get our cores up and forward. Then we worked on the embrace, while maintaining good tango posture. Next, we worked on pivoting, and then the Leader catching the Follower pivot to lead her to step back in ochos. Next, we practiced just walking with pivots and ochos. The figure was a simple one, based loosely on the ocho cortado, but instead of a forward left foot step for the Follower, it was more of an open side step (perhaps slightly diagonally forward) with her left foot. The way the Leader led this was to have a back cross step of his left leg, so that directionally, her movement was more to the side, rather than forward. After her left side step, she could go back into the cross. He could link this with right leg sacadas of her left leg. It was a very good lesson, where we really focused on some deep conceptual ideas and technique. The milonga itself was fun. It wasn’t too crowded, and so floor craft was good. I was asked more than once why I wasn’t in Portland (for Valentango). Since I had heard that there are usually more women than men at Valentango, it didn’t make sense to go. For the guys, however, it would have made perfect sense. :o) At this particular milonga, there were a few more men than women (which made for a great time for the Followers). I started out with my aurora borealis 9 cm CiF’s, but an hour later switched to lower 8 cm PH’s, which felt like slippers after that. It’s amazing how much pressure difference there can be in 1 cm heel height. Jr. Scout Extraordinaire was there, and is permanently for the most part going to lower heels to save on the natural foot aesthetics and health (so sensible, that JSE). (JSE has the exact same pair of aurora borealis 9 cm CiF’s I was wearing since we bought them on the same trip together, as did a bunch of other folks on that trip…we could have made a formation team based on that shoe alone!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010
Studio Gracia Milonga with lesson beforehand by Jorge Torres.
I skipped the lesson; it was the most crowded that I have ever seen a pre-milonga lesson at Studio Gracia. And rumor has it that the 10-couple private later this week at Keiko’s studio was sold out way in advance. So apparently the San Francisco Bay Area continues its star-struck love affair with Jorge Torres. The milonga itself was also quite crowded. Thus, floor craft was as best as could be expected under those conditions, meaning that it was not the greatest, but decent enough, considering. Jorge and Chino danced a D’Arienzo vals for the performance, which was probably good; I did not actually see it because it was so crowded, and I did not want to stand up or sit on the floor. So I remained where I was, seated. Natasha did a great job with the Valentine’s day and Chinese New Year theme, with the biggest chocolate candy-filled heart I had ever seen in my life, a chocolate Valentine’s day cake, and Chinese New Year’s candies sprinkled throughout the food area, along with her usual ample food spread of sodas and wine, croissant sandwiches, bread and dip, fruit, etc. It had been a while since I had been to this milonga, and noticed that they changed things around a bit, with the food area now in the outside garage area where the two sofas used to be. Now one of those sofas is where the food used to be. They also got rid of the hairdryer seats and put in proper lounge chairs instead. This new food/seating orientation improved the traffic flow, especially in that corner where it used to get packed with people nibbling and noshing, and entering and exiting the dance floor. I had an OK time; there were more followers than leaders, so I sat out more than I liked. But it was still very nice dancing with friends, old and new. DJ Emilio did a fine job as usual, and played two versions of Poema (the first one early on was Juan Sanchez Gorio’s, and the second much later in the evening was the one we all love from Canaro).

And not tango-related, but here's an excellent article on how to Buzz Off:

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