Thursday, October 28, 2010
Verdi Club Milonga with lesson beforehand by Santiago Croce and Amy Lincoln. I paid for the lesson but didn’t participate since I got there a little late, it was quite crowded, and there were already more followers than leaders. Still, it was a good lesson, with Maestro being his usually funny self with his tango witticisms. The topic was the back colgada (milonguero style). "Every movement in tango is like life...sensation...not just a sequence." One of the subjects of the lesson was the idea of releasing each other, and then melting back again. There was an exercise of the Leader's right arm in shopping cart position, and the Follower holding onto it, and the Leader feeling the sensation of moving her by it, with the focus on the Leader send and the return feeling of the Follower, with exaggeration/attitude. Leader needs to be precise in his lead so that he can tell the Follower what he expects of her. Leader also needs to make the Follower feel comfortable. The Leader should be dancing for the Follower, not showing off how many fancy steps he knows. He wants the Follower to go back to her table and tell her friends how great he is (so that they will all want to dance with him too) -- making her feel good -- not showing off how many steps he knows. The timing of the Follower collection or attitude of the leg can be exaggerated by the Follower. The focus of the lesson was the feeling/sensation and the send/coming back together. The Follower's hips need to be either parallel or perpendicular to the Leader's hips. The Follower should not push or pull on the Leader to maintain her axis. The Leader should not drag the Follower around. Here, we ran out of time so didn't get to do the inside volcada.
Maestros did a two-song demo later on that night, which was great. http://www.youtube.com/watch?
The milonga itself was fun. It had the perfect amount of people, though there were more followers than leaders, and as it was pointed out to me by a couple of people, this is usually the case at Verdi (which I hadn’t really thought about or noticed, even though I've written it often). The place was all decked out in gory glory for the Zombie Prom (swing dance) the next night, so it made for an interesting environment to dance and socialize in. DJ Glenn did a fine job spinning the tunes. This was my first time dancing since the previous Sunday’s ball of foot sharp shooting pain, and I was happy to see that my feet seemed OK (knock on wood).
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Late Shift Halloween Costume Milonga. I missed the lesson beforehand by Christopher and Caroline because getting dressed took longer than I thought it would, as is usually the case on Halloween. The costume milongas are my favorites since they combine community, frivolity, creativity, and exploration, as well as being very equalizing and democratic. My own costume was as a tango dancer. I am kicking around the idea of going as a Tennis Player next year. ;o) There was a parachute jumper, a clown, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, bunnies and bees, the game monopoly, Jesus (who looked more like Moses to me), a Giants baseball player sporting a not-quite-black beard, Gene Simmons of Kiss, static cling, a mechanic, 80s white trash, people in masks from gruesome to mysteriously elegant, people in renaissance era garb, and the usual gaggle of witches, cats, and vampires, among many other interesting characters. Since many costumes were pretty elaborate, it was a little tricky dancing in clothes we don’t usually wear, with flowing capes for Leaders and Followers alike, Follower head accoutrements and/or Leader dark glasses that decreased the Leader’s field of vision. The floor never got super crowded even though there were lots of folks there. It was fun just people watching at times, or cooling off in between tandas since wigs, capes, overcoats and such made for warm, sometimes sweaty dancers. All in all, it was a very satisfying evening.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Studio Gracia Halloween Costume Milonga. I skipped the lesson beforehand by Negracha and Diego Lanau. The milonga was nicely, but not overly crowded, so we all got to dance with each other. The costumes overall were a little tamer than the previous night at the Late Shift, mine included since I just wore the same costume that I wore last year-- a pirate, sans the fishnets and boots. This particular costume always seems a bit confused as a lot of people think that I am just some type of Eastern European medieval bar wench or ethnic dancer rather than a pirate. I think I need to wear and eye patch and carry around a dagger for the full effect, but I fear that both would compromise my balance, so I don’t use them. My ball of foot felt a little tender, so I am wondering if dancing two nights in a row is now going to be a thing of the past for me. I hope not… I was careful to dance more on my whole foot, and am working on skimming my heel on the floor during pivots rather than having the heel all the way up...yet one more thing among the million and one things to work on in tango… I had a lot of great dances at the milonga, and there were some super fun costumes: a couple of cowboys, the Queen of Hearts, Sarah Palin, an alien king of the universe with illuminating face on his chest that he used to cabaceo the lucky ladies, and a masked wrestler (female), a rock star (or drug dealer???) among others. Some folks also wore the same costume that they had on the previous night.
Final thoughts on Halloween…
Kudos to all the men who wore wigs and make-up of any kind. You guys ROCK!!! And for all of those who didn’t come in costume…Shame on you! You now have ~360 days to get ready for next year and there are big sales on right now…so there’s no excuse. Come on now, I KNOW y’all want to get dressed up / made up for it and get in touch with your inner Halloween imp!
Just for Fun:
And here’s a bit of fun from YouTube’s tangocynic (be sure to subscribe), which you might have seen since this will likely go viral in the tango community:
COME JOIN ME!
Thursday, November 4
Verdi Club milonga with Robert Farris Thompson, author of Tango: The Art History of Love
Friday, November 5
MUSE at City Dance Annex. Lovely space, lovely people. Come get your tango groove on!
Friday, November 12
SF Tango Marathon at Broadway Studios. It's been forever since I've danced there, and back in the day, that was for swing. So it will be a fun treat to burn the floor in my old stomping grounds.