Random Tango thoughts

Confronting the new

ON October 14th I’ll be taking a one hour guided practica for the Tango Club of Canberra, as well as hosting the following practise session. I wanted to give you some advance warning.

You know, very few exercises are new. They must have new once, but with over a decade of dance experience there are not many I have not seen and experienced myself.

I think followers have much more engaged with the pace and rythmns of technique classes because while leaders’ classes focus on acquiring new figures or sequences, followers’ classes tend to focus on the body and core strength. Most followers classes or workshops aim to work on balance, pivots and being present in the abdomen.

I can be set in my ways, you know, but when I go to other teachers’ classes I leave my expectations at the door. So most classes follow these lines:

  • warm up and stretches
  • walking forward
  • walking backwards stretching the leg
  • walk and pivot either as individuals or with a partner, usually practising ochos
  • maybe a sequence of steps to practise voleo and pivots.

Confront the new I did though, and it was hard to leave my disapproval or disbelief behind. I attend to a session with Cecilia Gonzalez and Lucia Mazer. Both are superb dancers, and their experience extends to much more than just tango.  I went along thinking we would get more of the above.

I couldn’t have been further from the truth. We had to do exercises in pairs, doing strange movements, moving in space, mirroring each other. I remember thinking at the time: “What was this all about? What’s this got to do this tango, all this modern dance stuff?”

However I do remember two of the exercises and seen them replicated with other teachers. I use them in my classes for large groups or as an end of term exercise to connect dancers. Because that’s what these were: connectivity exercises.

The other useful but challenging exercise  I learned from Bill Jarman at the last Anglesea Tango Festival. If you have been to that particular session at that festival, 7 years ago,  you may remember this exercise; if you’ve been my student then you will have experienced it.  I call it secret follower’s business.

What I am talking about are exercises to get you connected to another person.

Whether you dance in open or close embrace, tango is about two people and the music. Any two people with any tango music.

You can really teach a person to be connected, but you can provide a path. The individual needs to feel his/her way and do the work; do the feeling.

I hope to see you at the practica at 2pm on October 14, the day after my birthday.

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This entry was posted on September 22, 2017 by in Uncategorized.
September 2017
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