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 …

Continue reading Another great private, and another change to the blog

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 …

Continue reading Clicking giros; continuing variations; and leading with my breath

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 …

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Voleo variations

I once swore I was never going to learn to lead voleos as I’d seen (and on one occasion felt) them led dangerously on quite a few occasions. But after a brain-melting lesson last week, I wanted to make sure we kept things simple this week.

I told David I wanted to understand the principles, work on my technique and then have him show me some variations – all of which was achieved …

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A mystery solved, and five take-outs from a lesson which fried my brain

Five takeouts fried brain.jpg

David’s view of what I can manage is flattering, but not always entirely accurate! Cross-system always fries my brain, so a sequence involving crossing, uncrossing and then exiting in cross-system was never likely to end well – especially after I’d been woken at 4am by damned mosquitos and so was really tired.

I did, however, partly solve a mystery around this, and got five really useful things from the lesson …

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Wobbly leader crosses, but a less wobbly understanding

Leader crosses

I’m not looking for more figures, especially not complex ones, but sometimes a whole new type of figure can be a really effective way to open my eyes to new possibilities in terms of types of movement.

I would have sworn there couldn’t be a version of the forward ocho I didn’t know, but I was wrong …

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A successful variation on the volcada

Practice.jpg

The resumption of milongas still feels a way off yet, but there are definite signs that the tango world is beginning to ready itself. Some group classes are resuming, albeit for solo technique or with fixed partners, and privates are resuming on the same basis.

But lessons are of limited value without practice, so Wai Fong and I did a practice session, trying out the things we’d been learning in our privates with David – managing to choose one of the hottest days of the year to do it …

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An introduction to the world of off-axis dance

Off-axis

When David asked what we wanted to focus on in tonight’s lesson with Wai Fong, I took a deep breath and asked him how realistic it would be to tackle a volcada.

My only previous experience of one was when it was just thrown in for fun at the end of a Tango Space improver class, but it had always struck me as a lovely-looking movement …

Continue reading An introduction to the world of off-axis dance

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