Feeling like I’m on a roll now

This evening’s lesson with David began with more technique refinement and texture.

On the former front, for example, David approved of my collecting my feet fully in the side-steps when leading ochos, but wanted me to ensure that I was dragging my feet along the floor, not lifting them …

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Finally dipping a toe into the cross-system waters!

Fede has been trying to get me into the cross-system for what feels like most of my life, and I have always fended him off with crosses, garlic and silver stakes.

But a combination of two things meant that I finally felt ready to dip a small toe into the cross-system waters …

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Adding oomph: the next step in my tango journey

More than a year ago, I wrote a lengthy post about finding my own dance.

Lengthy mostly because there’s a long pre-amble intended only as a personal reference. The relevant part here is this …

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Ganchos – something I swore I would never learn

Many tango moons ago, Steph and friends commented on ‘men who gancho,’ their less than complimentary term for sleazy men who lead a lot of ganchos and whose motivation does not appear to be to express the music.

They didn’t seem overly fond of the movement anyway, so I decided that was something I needn’t bother learning (though I have accidentally led them). But two things changed …

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The luxury of two privates in three days: A more reliable colgada lead

There’s a limit to how much I can take in at one time. With Fede and Julia, 90 minutes is usually about right: an hour can feel a bit rushed, while two hours causes my brain to melt.

But having that private on the Saturday, and another with David on the Monday, meant that we were able to work further on the colgada – and figure out the difference between getting the outward tension 50% of the time and most of the time …

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Resuming privates with Fede and Julia, and diving into colgadas

With Fede and Julia now back from Greece, I was able to resume my privates with them. Thankfully they could see progress rather than deterioration in my dance!

I know I said I wasn’t looking to learn new figures, but I am looking to expand my understanding of the building blocks of tango movements, and having been introduced to one off-axis movement in the form of the volcada, it made sense to me to understand its converse, the colgada …

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Another great private, and another change to the blog

It seems hard to even imagine it now, but there was a time when I gave tanda-by-tanda descriptions of my milongas.

That made sense at the time, because in those early days I was dancing perhaps three, four or five at a milonga, and learning significant things from each. I dropped that approach in July of last year, and I think now it’s time for another change …

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My 18-month-ish appraisal: Stage One improvisation unlocked!

I’ve given myself appraisals at six, nine and twelve months. I thought another one would fall due at 18 months – but then at 16 months, the world stopped.

I tried a few video lessons, but in the end that grew too frustrating. I had a six-week break from tango before the opportunity arose for both in-person privates and practice, albeit in compromised form …

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Clicking giros; continuing variations; and leading with my breath

Practicing giros and contra-giros yesterday, something clicked. I was able to enter the giro directly from the side-step, forward ocho and back ocho – without my customary ‘side-step then outside walk’ entry – and I could no longer recall why I ever felt the contra-giro was any harder than the giro!

That’s a pretty huge step forward, and David declared my giros relaxed and fluid …

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Fake paradas, and connections in the contra-giro

I have dim and distant memories of learning the contra-giro, but my only memory of actually using it is at Tango on the Thames with Steph and having a fantastic time just winging it!

I tried this during yesterday’s practice session, and it worked beautifully once, reasonably well other times and badly a couple of times! So tonight I decided to make that the focus of the lesson …

Continue reading Fake paradas, and connections in the contra-giro
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