A lesson in more than the medio giro

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Monday evening was the first of two Tango Space lessons this week on the medio giro.

One thing that has really fallen into place with me now with pivots is realising that it’s not about the precise steps – it’s more about thinking about the direction and energy and feeling you want to impart. When Federico and Julia were demonstrating the medio giro, I noticed his exact foot placement varied, and as soon as I realised that, it became much easier to do it myself – because I was now focused on the objective and feel rather than whether the angle between my feet on the back cross should be 75 degrees or 90 degrees …

Which is not to say that foot placement doesn’t matter. I’m sure in refining the figure, there will be value in tweaking the details – but when my focus was on where I wanted me and my follower to end up, it flowed much more smoothly.

As with Thursday’s lesson in Holborn, we were short of followers, so I got to lead both Federico and Julia, and was really impressed by the detail of the feedback they were able to offer. Once they could see I had the basic movement, they then stopped me after each element of it and offered feedback on one before allowing me to do the next.

For example, I was told to begin the dissociation of the chest ahead of the side-step, so I was already leading the follower into the position I needed her to be in to create space for my next step. Next, remember to fully collect before the forward step. Then, remember that the forward step is a walk, so push with the back foot in the same way as when walking. It’s a really good methodical approach.

Julia noticed that I was collapsing my hip when I turned, which would lead to being off-balance. Once she pointed this out, I was able to feel it, but wasn’t sure how to fix it. Focusing on the direction of the movement helped immediately, and then she suggested practicing it in front of a mirror and looking for when it happened and when it didn’t – and then figuring out from the feel what my muscles were doing. Then I will know how it should feel when doing it right.

The final time I led it with her got a ‘wow,’ so I took it that their teaching was successful!

Trying it out with Steph at home, she said she didn’t think she’d ever been explicitly taught it, but it was working, so I took that as a good sign.

Don’t take any of this to mean that I was sailing through the figure! There were times I wasn’t in my axis, times when I was sloppy in my movement, times when my left hand was collapsing, times when … well, you get the idea. I’m a beginner at this movement, and the results were mostly what you’d expect of a beginner. But the version that got me the ‘wow,’ it did feel like that all came together.

And, more importantly than one good example out of many, I was feeling comfortable with the whole pivot thing. Something has definitely clicked for me, and it feels really great. I’m now feeling slightly nervous that this high can’t go on indefinitely, and there has to be a tango crash lurking out there somewhere, waiting for me.

But for now, I’ll ride the high. Tomorrow, I’ll be in Farringdon doing the Tuesday version of the class – hopefully with a practice session afterwards, and a little venturing out into the milonga. Will I dare to try a medio giro there? Watch this space!

Photo: Shutterstock

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