Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 18-24

Friday, February 19, 2010

Monte Cristo Club Milonga with lesson beforehand by Gary Weinberg and Lisette Perelle.
The lesson had a few extra followers, so I voluntarily sat out for a lot of it. The intermediate class built on what they learned in the beginner class, so the sequence included some back ochos, a change of direction, and a back boleo of the left leg while the right leg was the standing, supporting, strong one. It was a good lesson, with opportunity to delve a bit deeper into the technicality of leading and following the sequence. The milonga itself was just OK. It was sparsely attended, and there were several female tango hog ambushers who kept monopolizing the preferred leaders. Such a pity that dancing with these skilled leaders has not improved the ambushers’ dancing much if at all in the last several months. I guess they’d rather go the lazy route rather than work on their own technique and foot and ankle strength. But I suppose working on foot and ankle strength must be a scary proposition when the risk of fractures is so high because of extremely compromised bone density and long-term calcium deficiency (and at such a young age! tsk tsk). Still, I did manage to dance a couple of tandas with Milan, who is an outstanding dancer, so it made the night totally worth it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Homer and Cristina Ladas workshops at Stanford.
I got to the place in record time, thanks to my handy dandy GPS (I don’t know how I ever got around without it), and so decided to make a quick run to Subway for fuel for the day. (They are having a special right now where their non-premium subs are all $5 footlongs. To optimize fueling, I load up on the veggies, sans the raw onions, and have them cut the footlong into three sandwiches.) I had time to snarfle down one of the 1/3 sandwich before class began.

At the break, Cheena and Cristobal of CCSF were in a bit of a pickle because they didn’t want to forage for food. So Cheena asked for the last third of my sandwich, which of course I gave to her, and which she shared with Cristobal. Then I spoke to Cristobal about the importance of fueling for the day for the body and for the brain when you plan to spend 5 hours at workshops. Normally, he knows this of course, but since we all had to head out for Stanford at 11:00 a.m. from our homes, lunch/food were not on the top of their list of things they thought about. I also told Cristobal about the stash of food I have in the trunk of my car (which he probably thought was a little strange), inspired by YouTube’s Scooby’s video. I don’t have all of Scooby’s recommended food items in my stash, but the concepts and ideas are what I applied based on my lifestyle, the goals of which are to prevent me from getting to the point of gnawing hunger or dehydration and to even out blood sugar fluctuations so that my brain function is not compromised. My stash isn’t appetizing from a culinary standpoint (whey protein shake, anyone?), but mentally it’s just a nicer place for me to be to not worry about food and when or where my next meal comes from.

The notes from the specific workshops, and eventually the videos (once the Mac conversion thing gets figured out by the real tangostudent) are at

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Late Shift Milonga with lesson beforehand by Juan Cantone & Sol Orozco from Buenos Aires.
Maestros are excellent teachers. They hail from Buenos Aires, but are both fluent in English. Their teaching style is clear and balanced with lots of technical detail on the both the Leader and Follower side. They also have excellent eyes for detail, and showed ample individual attention to the students in this group class. They are here for a week or so more, and it would be definitely worth it to go to more of their lessons. They are particularly excited about the workshops they are co-teaching with Santiago Croce and Amy Lincoln (see for date and details). The milonga was fun. El Russo is visiting from Portland, so we had a chance to catch up on our tango lives since Luciana Valle’s Intensivo. I asked him about Valentango, and he confirmed that there was indeed significantly more followers than leaders. It was great fun dancing with him. I had no idea he was such a good dancer, since at the Intensivo we only danced with the Maestra’s hand-picked student assistants. Later on, I had a chance to finally dance with several of the leaders I wanted to dance with the night before, and sure enough, they confirmed the hog ambushing behavior of several followers.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Homer and Cristina Ladas workshops at Stanford.
For some strange reason, on this day both lessons had twice as many leaders as followers, so we had to double up, two leaders to one follower, which actually worked out OK. (Though maybe leaders would have a different opinion on that.)

After the workshops, we had a chance to work on the material (or just dance) with our classmates at the practica. I must say, I had more fun at this practica than I have had at a lot of milongas I’ve attended. I was able to dance with some very skilled new-to-me leaders, which was a true pleasure, very refreshing and re-inspiring. There was plenty of space to do real-estate intensive dancing without disturbing others sharing the dance floor. We also had a chance to work out in our heads and bodies the material we learned in class. I had planned on going to a milonga later on that night, but was in such a happy place after the practica, that I decided not to push my tango luck.

These workshops organized and hosted by the Stanford Tango Club were great. The facility is new with maple hardwood floors, clean bathrooms, and a kitchen area with microwave, sink, and refrigerator. The most well-attended workshop had ~50 people (25 couples), and everyone behaved respectfully toward each other. Many of the attendees came from Santa Cruz and Monterey, so it was fun dancing with them as normally I don’t venture down south far enough for us to cross paths. On the weekend, there is ample, free lot parking within steps of the facility. Some might find it tricky to navigate the Stanford campus, so I was glad I had my GPS. The half hour breaks in between the 75-minute lessons were ample time to get food if necessary, or work on the material on the dance floor with guidance from Maestros, if requested.

The notes from the specific workshops, and eventually the videos (once the Mac conversion thing gets figured out by the real tangostudent) are at

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