Category Archives: Private lesson

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 …

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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 …

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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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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 …

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Making lemonade under lockdown

Lemonade.jpg

We’ve decided to make the lessons with David a weekly fixture during the tango famine, working on that same mix of technique, and variations on things I already know how to do.

We worked this week on the planeo …

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My first in-person lesson in 4.5 months – and it was a great one!

Variations.jpg

I was shocked to look back in my blog and discover that it had been two months since my last virtual tango lesson, and a full 4.5 months since my last in-person one. Lockdown time flies by simply because there are so few events in our lives by which to measure time.

A friend has been raving about David and Kim Benitez for ages, and I’d been meaning to try a lesson with one or both of them. The gradual easing of lockdown rules provided the opportunity for at least a halfway-house lesson …

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