Category Archives: Following

Improvisation, initiation, following, accessible Pugliese and the perfect ending to a milonga

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I decided last time that Juan Martin and Steffi’s classes are so good that I had to take full advantage of their limited time in London, despite my determination to do fewer classes and more milongas. The classes do at least double as a way to get to know followers for the Los Angelitos milonga which follows, so I can kind of claim they are in the spirit of dancing more.

Today’s classes were again advertised as technique-focused, with ‘pivots and communication’ the theme, though interestingly that turned out to be more true of the beginner/improver class than the intermediate one …

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Dropping the beginner class, and getting some bonus experience as a follower

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Many years ago, I did an introductory scuba diving course. Known as the PADI Open Water Diver course, it took four days, and comprised about a day’s theory, some swimming pool exercises and then a couple of days of diving. Do that, and you emerge as a certified diver.

Want to become an Advanced Open Water Diver? Certainly: go on to do one deep dive (30m), one navigation dive (following a compass to swim in a triangle) and three other ‘adventure’ dives (eg. a night dive), and suddenly I’m an ‘advanced’ diver – with all of eight days in the water.

Tango gradings aren’t quite that bad, but schools definitely use inflated levels designed to flatter the student …

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All about the embrace

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Today was going to be more following, this time with Bridgitta, in the practica at Tango Garden. As things turned out, we switched back and forth, me leading something and then Bridgitta having me follow the same thing to illustrate how different versions feel …

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Michael Lavocah on Troilo, and more learning about leading through following

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Sunday’s tango-related fun kicked off with a 90-minute talk on Troilo by Michael Lavocah, author of Tango Stories, Musical Secrets.

I couldn’t even begin to do justice to the talk in a brief blog post. Lavocah clearly has an immense breadth and depth of knowledge, and boundless enthusiasm for sharing as much of it as humanly possible …

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One of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever had

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I mentioned last time my plan to spend a little time learning to follow in order to help inform my lead. The question was: could I, within say 4-5 hours of private lessons, reach the point where I would get ‘aha!’ moments about my leading?

The initial idea was to devote a two-hour lesson with Maeve to following, then see whether we both felt I might hit that 4-5 hour deadline …

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A major realisation, and a bold plan

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Tuesday evenings are straight into the improver’s class, as that precedes the beginner’s one. After a warm-up dance, we started with outside walking and then moved onto the cross.

I hadn’t been happy with my lead of the cross. It felt sloppy, and followers often ended up in a kind of half-hearted one. But tonight it clicked into place, and the key was fairly obvious in retrospect …

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Follower’s liberation – and this leader’s too!

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Every now and then, Steph tries to persuade me to do a class which is clearly aimed at a much higher level than my own.

It’s not normally as crazy as it seems, as I’ve noticed that advanced classes run by visiting teachers are often wholly or mostly technique focused, so it wouldn’t be a show-stopper if I couldn’t do any specific sequence they happened to use as an example. But on this particular occasion, Steph and Bridgitta were both lobbying for me to do a class that seemed to apply only to some dimly-imagined point in my far-off future …

Continue reading Follower’s liberation – and this leader’s too!