Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 14-20

Friday, April 15, 2011
MUSE Milonga with lesson beforehand by Neeraj Korde.
I got there early enough to take the lesson beforehand, on connection. It was an excellent lesson. We began with walking and dancing with each other with just chest-to-chest connection with no arms/embrace at all. Then we added simple turns to the left and the right. In our chest-only connection exercise, for the counterclockwise turn, the Follower's forward step in the molinete should be a tight front cross, rather than a long forward front cross step. Our goal in dancing with only chest-to-chest connection and no arms at all was to maintain connected at all times. We were not to separate away from each other, or to slide against each other. In maintaining our chest-to-chest connection, both dancers need to be upright and straight (not curled into each other at the shoulders, or tilted one way or the other), with chest up and pushing into each other. Arms were not used at all as the Leaders have a tendency to overuse their right hand, sometimes making it very evil as it pushes the Follower around or clamps her into him as he struggles for balance and support. This was a very challenging, excellent lesson. When the Leader is the center of the circle and the Follower does her molinete around him, the Leader's footwork needs to be small and tight as he is the center of the circle. If he takes big steps and shifts weight to and fro while the Follower tries to do the molinete around him, she will not have a good gauge of where the center of the circle, and thus her footwork will be off as well. There were lots of good technical tips given out during the lesson, and ample individual attention. We concluded the lesson with some drills of doing forward ocho and back ocho footwork. A more challenging level to this is to the the ochos in a straight line, not traveling, so that we increase our disassociation. It will be interesting to see and experience more lessons from Neeraj, as he seems to be a very good teacher.

The milonga was super fun. The momentum built throughout the night as a steady stream of very skilled dancers came in, both regulars and first-time to MUSE-ers, some from the South Bay and outer East Bay. This was the first time I had experienced DJ Marianna Andrly spin the tunes, and I was happily impressed. She is an excellent DJ, and a great addition to the San Francisco tango community stable of DJs. She also leads and follows, and is open to dancing with everyone, so she's a fun person to have at milongas. It was also great that we had a nice crowd of skilled social dancers.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
CellSpace ALT Milonga.
I did not make any of the lessons since I had a dinner engagement beforehand with a couple of tango cohorts. We went to the Universal Cafe, just around the corner. It had been many years since I last ate dinner here, and it was still quite good. I actually wasn't planning on dancing afterwards, and hadn't dressed for it at all. Still, my cohorts were able to twist my rubber arm, so I went anyway, jeans and velour top and all. Needless to say, after the first tanda I was sweating like a ... human (pigs don't sweat much except through their snout, which is why they wallow in mud to cool off, and dogs don't sweat at all, they just pant). I was horribly self-conscious about dripping with sweat the entire night and being hot and uncomfortable. But amazingly, it was probably the best night I've ever had dancing there. I stayed for about 8 tandas, and 6 of those were with absolutely amazing, fantastic dancers. So go figure. (You can't see me, but I am shaking my head.)

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