Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 12-18 from BsAs and SF

Jueves, 12 Agosto 2010
Day 4 - Luciana Valle Intensivo Al Cuadrado: Follower Back Sacadas and Soltadas.
We worked on various Follower Back Sacadas: to the Leader's open step, to the Leader's back cross step, to the Leader's front cross step. Follower should use the connection in her upper body with the Leader's arms to pivot so that her movement is faster and softer, not slow and heavy as when the Follower uses her own feet/hips to pivot. Then we did Leader's back sacadas to the Follower forward ocho steps (front cross steps, with power, push off, and pivot), Follower open steps, Follower back cross steps. In the afternoon, we worked on soltadas as an additional option for the 4th sacadas, which made doing them a little easier. Soltadas are different ways of changing the embrace, a changing of the arms. The sombrero is similar to a loop turn with connection maintained in the Follower's right hand with the Leader's left hand. We practiced various ways of changing the embrace while doing these back sacadas. This was a very challenging day for the Leaders, physically and mentally since they had to figure out how to lead the Follower to do a back sacada with either foot, while simultaneously working on his footwork (doing an open step, front cross step, or back cross step), or how to get the Follower in position stepping with an open step, back cross step, or front cross step, while positioning himself to do a back sacada with either foot, which required a lot of torsion and disassociation while remaining on axis on his part.

Viernes, 13 Agosto 2010
Day 5 - Luciana Valle Intensivo Al Cuadrado: Soltadas, Sombreros, and their Application in Other Steps.
We began with an extensive review of the soltadas and sombreros we learned yesterday, applying them to all the different Leader and Follower back sacada options. Pivoting is key in soltadas and sombreros. For the Follower relation to the Leader, she answers from the bottom, not the top, and she should keep her bra line with the Leader and not let herself go. We also did some fast changes of direction in soltadas, with a half soltada one way, to pivot around to a full soltada the other way. The energy of the full soltada is different from a half soltada (with a deeper pivot from the Leader). The Leader stays around her to give her support to turn around. For soltadas, we were to move our bottom first, and then our top, and then our bottom again. Pivoting and adjusting the embrace are key. Then we added soltadas and sombreros with boleos (with and contra). This was a very challenging day where we were to put all together what we learned in the last five days.

Sabado, 14 Agosto 2010
Day 6 -
Luciana Valle Intensivo Al Cuadrado: Review. We began with our usual warm-up dances. Then we reviewed (1) dynamic rebotes (Tuesday's topic), which are dynamic changes of direction, and we also did them with sacadas. We worked on rebotes from the Follower open step, front cross step, and back cross step, on both sides. Next, we reviewed (2) Piernazos (Monday's topic). We compared these to ganchos, trying out both. In piernazos, the Leader goes around the Follower. In ganchos, the Leader offers his leg and distances himself from the Follower. Finally, we reviewed (3) 4th sacadas. That was all we had time to review since it was only a half day. We did not get to reviewing Soltadas and Sombreros, but some assistants snuck them in while we reviewed the 4th sacada.

Overall thoughts on Intensivo Al Cuadrado: It was OK, but not really my cup of tea with respect to subject matter. Though I think it is important to understand the physiokinetics and biomechanical aspects of executing the topics well, they are generally not things I would personally do on the social dance floor. Dancing with Maestra's hand-picked student assistants was, as usual, truly divine, and certainly that alone, in and of itself, was worth the cost of the tuition. Many of the student assistants are teachers or performers or other tango professionals in Buenos Aires, so I believe I really was dancing with the best of the best. Many of them are open to giving privates (cost is generally in the vicinity of US$25-50 per hour). It was great fun to share another Intensivo experience with Jr. Scout Extraordinaire, El Russo de Portland, the Nip/Tuck doc with a heart, Kathleen from Boston, and Christian from Italy. Rumor has it that an Intensivo C and Intensivo D are in the works for next year. I will definitely stay tuned... but certainly ask about the topics covered before signing up.

Since this was only a half day, I had just enough time to do some last minute errands, such as pick up some contact lenses. After paying for them in cash, along with the tip for the Al Cuadrado assistants, I only had 360 pesos left.

What to do, what to do? Why, buy shoes of course!!! 360 pesos wasn't enough for anything from NeoTango, so I made my way over to Lolo Gerard (Anchorena 607) again, as I was hoping they had added to their sale shoe offerings.
Luckily, I scored! I found an excellent fitting shoe on sale for 210 pesos. No time for arches to be put in, but I was still thrilled with my last minute purchase, which left me with a cool couple of hours to spare to have a leisurely early dinner with drinks, as I did my very minor last minute packing. It was a surprisingly very relaxing day, with everything humming along, running like clockwork.

Dante (Dante´s Airport Transfers, 110 pesos) picked me up from Becka's promptly as usual, and it´s very comforting to be picked up at exactly the time scheduled and whisked off to Eziza in a quick, efficient, stress-free manner. Jr. Scout Extraordinaire was my car mate, and Dante gave us a break on the fees since he picked us up separately but our destination was the same. To me personally, he went above and beyond the call of duty on this particular trip especially.

Overall thoughts on Becka's Tango House: I admit that when I first arrived there, I had my doubts and misgivings. But I eventually grew to enjoy my stay there immensely, especially the company and knowledge of my fellow housemates (all three of them are tango teachers), and its convenient location near lots of transportation (subte and bus), walking distance to NeoTango and Tango Leike, lots of verdulerias (fresh veggie markets) nearby, the orphaned toiletries (no I am not skeeved out) and fully stocked medicine cabinet, the fully stocked kitchen with lots of tupperware and tools/accoutrements that are not found in regular apartment rentals, plenty of ballroom space to practice, and a fully stocked CD collection of tango music. It eventually came to have the feeling of home away from home -- but with housemates.

Come Join Me!

Friday, August 20, 2010
MUSE Milonga @ City Dance Annex.
David & Mariana teach the intermediate lesson @ 9:00 p.m. Two floors of tango (traditional and alt) until 1:30 a.m. This place is gorgeous. Yummy food, yummy people, and yummy El Porteno empanadas for sale. Who could ask for anything more?


Frances R said...

Thanks for writing, most useful information.
Could you please advice where in BA I can get contact lenses, and how does it work, do I need a prescription and such?

Ana de San Francisco said...

Hi Frances--

I got my contact lenses on Florida Street (there are plenty of eyeglass places and contact lense places there). I did not get fitted for them in BsAs, but I think it is a very easy and inexpensive thing to do there, on site.

I just showed them the tag from my current lenses. They did not require a prescription. I paid around 500 pesos for 4 boxes.

Frances R said...

Thank you very much!