A temporary return to The Crazy Days, and increased milonga vocabulary

The Crazy Days.jpg

This week might look a little like a return to The Crazy Days, as it comprises one private lesson, either two or three group classes and three milongas. But that’s merely the coincidence of a teacher’s availability, the monthly Tango Space workshop falling on this weekend, and what sounds like an interesting class before the Los Angelitos milonga on Sunday. Honest.

After yesterday’s private, I was looking forward to a chance to seeing whether I could feel a difference in my ochos in a milonga, and the answer was a clear yes …

Tonight was the weekly Tango Space milonga, and the music was really good! Couple that to the fact that there were significantly more followers than leaders (so I didn’t want to turn down invitations), and I danced almost every tanda.

On the ocho front, I found it made a big difference how close the embrace was. In fully close embrace, creating that feeling of going around the follower felt natural already; with followers who tend to open the embrace somewhat for ochos, it wasn’t quite the same feeling, but I still think it made a difference to try to create that very circular feel to the pivots.

I have a lot of kind followers anyway, but I did seem to get more compliments than usual tonight, so I’m officially chalking up Maeve’s lesson as a success.

I also tried the immediate entry to the ocho from a leader-only change of weight and straight into the pivot, and that too worked well. It felt like a great small-space option. I then added in what I think of as the reverse sandwich on back ochos: from the left side. This is something Laura Heredia had pointed out as a simple variation on something I already knew how to do. In the lesson, I’d instinctively entered a giro, and tonight I tried with and without.

I wouldn’t normally have launched straight from one lesson into trying something in a milonga, but I’m fortunate enough to have several regular followers who are happy for me to experiment. My hit-rate was mixed. The very first time I tried it, it worked really well! The second time, in the same tanda, it … didn’t. Though no legs were broken. I’d say the overall average was ‘clunky,’ but followers at least knew what I was leading. It does feel like a lovely option to have, as it feels really good when I get it right, especially when continuing to rotate for one, two or three steps. I need to work on this in my next practica, or perhaps my next private.

Ocho cortados also clicked in a way they hadn’t before. Perhaps because the very rounded feeling to ochos made the ‘cut’ part of the ocho cortado a clearer contrast. I tried increasingly minimal ones, and all my partners followed it except for one who is rather new to tango and probably just thought I was badly leading a circular ocho! So I’m promoting those to a standard part of my milonga vocabulary.

Hell, I even threw in a few crosses! I’m not sure I’ll ever like them, but I know followers do. Though I do need to note that less experienced followers need a led weight-change to uncross.

Once again, I danced through to La Cumparsita.

Next up is the Tango Space intermediate class on Thursday, which is on ‘balance in the pivot, practicing movements that challenge you.’ That sounds pretty terrifying, but I can’t deny that I need it! I’m sure I can count on Luis and Natalia to be suitably gentle, and afterwards it’ll be time for more Tango Terra fun!

Image: Shutterstock

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