A relaxed milonga, and a plan to tone things down


It could be said that a case might be made for the possibility of formulating the bare bones of an argument somewhat suggestive of the idea that I may have been taking my tango schedule to something of an excess.

Mounting a defence against this accusation would be a little tricky in a week in which I was initially scheduled to have nine group classes, a practica and a milonga …

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Practicing energetic tiny steps with 89,999 other people


Bridgitta had suggested I needed to find my inner 8 year old to give me ideas about new ways to improvise to the music. I’d assured her I didn’t have one, and that I was born aged 40.

However, it turned out I was wrong: it just needed rather specific circumstances to find him …

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Momentum in lead and follow


I signed-up for an interesting-looking workshop with a teacher about whom Steph seemed enthusiastic. I hadn’t made the connection, but this turned out to be because the teacher, Veronica Toumanova, was the author of Why Tango – and Steph knew I’d enjoyed the book.

The workshop was called Using momentum to lead and follow, and it started well …

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Finding my own dance (a lengthy post)

Finding my dance

This was originally going to be a post about vocabulary. What I have. Where I’m at with it. What more I need. My next, ah, steps from here.

But, as I started writing, I realised it’s about more than that: it’s about finding my own dance …

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Musicality workshop #1 of 4: Rhythm, melody & bridge


It’s amazing how far being able to walk to the beat and the phrase will get you in your very early days in tango. I struggled with pretty much everything else, but I could land on the beat, and I could do a weight-change to mark the end of a phrase.

It was this, not any aspect of my technique, which led to experienced dancers giving me that famous ‘you’re going to be a really nice dancer‘ backhanded compliment …

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One lesson and four delicious tandas

delicious tandas

Tuesday was the second improver class of the week, with more calesitas. I really like the balance of the Monday and Tuesday classes: the Monday one is always more complex but introduces me to new things, while the Tuesday one is simpler and focuses more on technique.

Tonight, we both entered and exited the calesita via ochos. You could exit with either a front or back ocho. The back seemed to work best when I had enough momentum, while the front was plan B for when things were slower …

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Many calesitas, and two volcadas


I enjoyed tonight’s Tango Space classes a lot – in large part, I realised, because half the class are now friends. So, at best, we’re going to help each other figure it out; at worst, we’re going to laugh at our failures. Tonight was a mix of the two!

The beginner lesson was on the calesita. The improver class then introduced a couple of sequences that could follow a calesita: the first was a cross-system walk into a cross with a parada and forward ocho to exit, while the second was a volcada … 

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Figuring out the multiple steps to my one-step cross

the cross

The cross is one of those movements where I’d never felt I’d found the happy medium. If I lead it the way I think I’ve been taught it, then it only works about 50% of the time. And if I lead it clearly enough to get it up to 100%, I really feel like I’m throwing the follower around.

I’ve tried to find a compromise between the two, but that seemed to be the worst of both worlds: it didn’t always work, and it felt like I’m moving the follower rather than moving my chest and trusting her to move herself. So I wanted to devote today’s private lesson with Federico and Julia to the cross, and in particular the one-step cross …

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Dancing with the cool kids at the 3D Marathonga


The 3D Marathonga was a 12-hour milonga running from 4pm Saturday to 4pm Sunday. I had no plans whatsoever to still be there at 4am, but the opportunity to do some dancing early on, have some dinner and return for more later seemed like a good plan.

3D is named after the three original DJs: David, Diego and Daniel. I’m told Diego is no longer involved, so strictly speaking it’s now 2D …

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Back on form!


This week had looked like a solid plan for refining my ocho technique: a 90-minute private on Sunday, beginner and improver lessons on Monday, and improver lesson on Tuesday.

As things turned out, I had to work on Monday evening, so lost those two lessons. Still, I practiced in front of the mirror and it did seem like my side-steps were to the side, I wasn’t collapsing my inside shoulder to any notable degree, and I was giving a nice (if virtual) hand-push for the pivot. All that remained to be seen was whether this was a solo practice fiction or whether it manifested itself with a partner …

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