Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Argentine Tango 3


Tonight we were taught improvisation and intimacy with repetition of the same combos. I felt quite sleepy and didn't snap out of it until halfway in! We also dance in a dark basement cocktail bar, not like the bright lights of the Dancehouse. We didn't need to warm-up in a circle, instead we started with the 8 steps in line before partners. 'G' asked me about Monday Tango at 8pm again but I told her it's Tap and Jazz night, maybe I can spare Jazz to try one Monday with her? Can't be next week, maybe the week after?

We extended our 8-steps by inserting a couple of repetitions, repeat second steps, repeat fourth steps and close - then back to a normal 8-steps opening but keep on walking. We were taught to step properly and be more assertive, we needed more 'oompf', MEAN-each-STEP-you-MAKE. I'm alright with my footwork, just wished we had more space. My partners were G, the asian girl (urgh I'm so bad with names), my favourite older lady, the tall lady, a short lady (we partnered alright), a tall-ish girl (she's probably more advanced, came in to help out with the numbers), and errr another older lady I think. I'm so terrible with names!


I did ok tonight but was a little annoyed with the 'motorway-tango-traffic', a few don't lead their partners properly (in my opinion). I'd like to think I'm very conscious of my partners especially protecting them from bumps, hopefully it'll build their trust in me over the coming weeks. I had people ramming into the back of me, one literally tripped me up - when I glanced back - not an apology, just a cold stare. I'm sorry but can we dance with a bit of grace and stop with these big yoga LUNGES! Focus on the technique and showboat later!I concentrated on everything above my hips. Adjusted my 'frame' when necessary and my brain ticked away on the details. Every partner I danced with were observed - I needed to know how they like to be held, how much force to use, how to use my steps to steer them, where my leg placement is best for them, left arm height, right hand motions on their back, etc. I'm methodically processing - and one or two guys just sped around like they were bumper cars. I suppose they're excited but I prefer to do it properly first - similar to my methods with tap! I want to make small accomplishments all towards the big goal - with NO shortcuts.


I shouldn't have a go at them because we're all in it together. I guess I expected some courtesy or just, a bit more consideration when the 'arena' is open, I wish for more spatial awareness. Should I be more assertive? Yes and no because I have my partner to look after, and at this absolute beginners learning level, it makes more sense to keep it slow for the two of us.

I'm reminded of Mai Kishikawa from Shall We Dance (Japanese version), she left the world of competitive dancing after a collision because her partner didn't protect her. I didn't think much of it, but now I realise how true it is. Followers (often female) go backwards and it's up the leaders to steer them safely. One must not be selfish and dance alone, it might be enjoyable for the person but the partner would have an awful time - the dance must be shared, consideration is key.

We worked on the basics of leading and following, we held our partner's shoulder blades and vice versa - and practised maintaining a sturdy upper frame, no limp movements, no hunch, but straight back and meaningful strides. I really like it broken down, I can take a proper peek at the mechanism of Argentine Tango from bottom up. I'm beginning to warm to Joel and Alina, they are brilliant at explaining and demonstrating every detail, I'm having a great time!

The hour was up too fast, I lent G my Midnight Tango DVD as she's not seen it. I hoped she might stay for a little chat but she's been tired from her first week at work placement. I doodled home and watched mid-week football. I quite enjoyed today - it's been a good Wednesday!

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