Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 3-9

Saturday, November 5, 2011
Mariela Franganillo’s La Práctica @ Dance Manhattan

I got there a little late, but so did everyone else. It must have been one of those days. I only danced with two people, but that was OK since one was a truly amazing tanda, and the other one was with a beginner who has only been dancing a year, but who I think has excellent potential. I chatted away with this budding tanguero about his tango development, and it was striking that there are vast differences in how Leaders and how Followers learn to tango.

Maestra stopped the practica twice to do her 5-10 minute thing (she does not call it a “mini lesson”, she calls it exposing us to “ideas that we can work on”). The first time she stopped the practica, it was early on and just for a 5-minute review of last week’s idea (which few people seemed to remember).

Maestra is an excellent teacher of the Leader’s part, but since this is an intermediate/advanced practica, and she only dedicates 10 minutes to the idea, it is taught at a very brisk pace in a typical heavily BsAs style where she demonstrates it, and the students are expected to do it (although she does verbally walk us through it in more detail than the typical BsAs teacher). And they are fun, fluid, interesting steps that I haven’t seen before. The 10 minutes she dedicates to the idea are extremely challenging, even to my learning abilities and I have to make a real concerted effort to put to words what I see. Her 10-minute ideas for us to work on really stretch us all as students, no matter what our learning abilities. It takes all of my concentration to get the step she is teaching.

For the main 10-minute idea, I wanted to really focus on the Leader’s part since I realize that most of the value of my H&C work is how well I can convey the Lead (which is a challenge for me since I am a Follower). And actually, for this particular step, it worked (I was able to verbalize accurately what she did), but I was so focused on the Leader’s part that when someone pulled me up to practice it during the 10 minutes, I totally blew the Follower’s part. So basically, I got the Leader’s footwork down, but not the torso lead, and I couldn’t compensate for it because I wasn’t focused on what the Follower was doing, or what the Leader’s chest was doing.

After the practica, I made my way over to Boqueria again. Gosh, I really love this place. I took a seat perched at the bar, and ordered two of the special tapas dishes and a glass of wine. Soon afterwards, a few people from practicalonga came in, one couple for just drinks, and the other for some nibblies, too. The couple who came in for nibblies sat next to me, and we had a blast chatting away about his wife (the couple was a married man and a friend of his wife’s who is a great wing woman/c*** b****** [who laughed when I christened her with the moniker]), tango royalty and tango rogues (some of whom are one and the same person), and various milongas in NY and NJ, where they are from.

They asked what my evening plans were, and I told them I was heading over to Triangulo for the afternoon/early evening milonga, just a couple of blocks away. Since they are at the early stages of tango addiction, they were up for it and decided to join me, all the while trying to get me to go to the NJ milonga that night, hosted by Angeles Chanaha and Michael Nadtochi. (I bumped into Michael several years ago in BsAs at NeoTango, not knowing who he was, but knowing he was somebody by the way he moved with such natural elegance and ease. After chatting with me, he gave me a business card, which made my eyes grow wide. I’ve never met Angeles, but always though she was incredibly beautiful). Despite their persuasive efforts, I declined since I wasn’t in the mental frame of mind to go all the way to NJ, but I promised I’d go next month.

My meal at Boqueria was delicious. I even had dessert, which I usually don’t, and it was A-MA-ZING. I told my dining companions that had we come at any other time (instead of the culinarily whacky slot of 2-4 p.m.), the place would be packed and we’d have a long wait to get seated (the bartender confirmed this). This will probably be my usual stop after Mariela’s since the food is sublime (yet reasonably priced).

The Afternoon Milonga @ Triangulo was fun. I danced with several new people, all excellent dancers. There was one Leader who had such an extraordinarily sweet, sensitive and gentle but clearly articulate musicality, that I just HAD to dance with him. Fortunately, he must have picked up on my vibes without my having to resort to a forceful, insistent, laser-beam cabaceo (did I mention he was sensitive?), because he asked me to dance (woo hoo!). The dance was very nice. I’ve never encountered such a sweet way of hearing the music through a Leader’s interpretation. It was a real treat. It would be really interesting to dance with him again, especially for a D’Arienzo, Biagi, or Pugliese(!) tanda for a total musical head trip. :o)

I decided to go after that since I was very tired and seemed to hit a brick wall energywise.


My spur-of-the-moment trip to see JSE, where I will pack in as many privates with Chino as possible (now there I’ve done it. I bet she is going to hold me to it if she’s read this far, which she probably has). :o)

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