The lady is for turning

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Tonight’s Tango Space workshop was an intensive one on the giro. This is something I could do in a rather clunky fashion, but wasn’t anything like confident enough to consider trying it in a milonga, so two hours devoted to it seemed like an excellent plan.

After a little dancing to warm up, the leaders and followers separated while Pablo and Anne respectively taught us our own parts. For the leaders, we started with a 180-degree pivot, then a 270-degree one, and finally a 360-degree one …

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Deciding in future to stay far from the madding crowd

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Saturday was the 6th anniversary of the Tango Garden milonga, and it seemed as though everyone who has ever been there had turned out to celebrate.

It was great to see so many people there from a social perspective, but from a beginner dancer one, it was challenging! For five reasons …

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Planeo playtime, and back into the tango high!

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Well, that was a quick transition from ‘WTF?‘ to ‘Oh! Fun!’ …

I spent half an hour before work this morning practicing the leader movements for the beginner version, fixing one issue at a time. After about 20 minutes, everything felt right – and I even videoed myself to be sure it looked right. (No, you can’t. We’ve had this conversation before.)

Of course, without a follower, there was no reliable way to be sure, but it gave me sufficient confidence to brave the improver’s class tonight …

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Puzzling over Planeos

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Hang on, that’s a planet. No wonder I was getting confused.

Monday was the first Tango Space class of the week, this time on the Planeo. A movement in which the leader lowers his height to lead a pivot, and the follower drags one foot on the ground in a semi-circle. 

In the version we were doing, I was finding there was rather a lot to think about at once …

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Ballet fitness, musicality, and a truly shared dance

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Ballet fitness class

You’ve got the tango bug pretty bad when a friend talks you into doing a ballet fitness class.

Bridgitta’s argument was that ballet training offers a lot of benefits for dancing tango. It was hard to argue against this given that I’d already booked a ballet taster class next month for exactly that reason.

I’d expected the class to be all women. As it turned out, a third of the class was male. But that third was me …

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Three things

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I tonight did both the beginner’s and improver’s classes again – though the order is reversed on Tuesdays. All four classes taught a different version of a 180-degree turn:

  • Monday beginners: Three rebounds while pivoting
  • Monday improvers: Three back ochos into a pivot, ending with both leader and follower in a cross
  • Tuesday improvers: A cross into a medio-giro
  • Tuesday beginners: A rebound into a medio-giro …

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Changing direction

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Tango Space sends out a weekly email letting us know the theme for that week’s lessons. Usually these reveal the actual figure we’ll be learning, but this week’s email invited us on more of a magical mystery tour! The beginner’s description revealed only that it was on changing direction, while the improver’s class merely added that it would involve a cross … 

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What goes up …

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That was a long tango high! But what goes up …

Today’s lesson with Mariano wasn’t a full-on tango crash. It wasn’t like I couldn’t do anything any more. But I just wasn’t feeling it. My movement felt clumsy. I was getting mixed up with a simple sequence of steps (a new-to-me form of ocho cortado). My pace was off. And I was really inconsistent …

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Dancing the corrections

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Saturday saw me at Tango Garden for some guided practice with Bridgitta in the practica – plus a floorcraft exercise in the milonga.

Bridgitta started the latter by discussing some scenarios – like someone walking backwards into our space – and different ways to handle them. Then we just walked arm-in-arm so we could focus purely on floorcraft, with Bridgitta having the same view of the ronda as me.

I felt somewhat self-conscious about this strange arm-in-arm thing we were doing in a busy milonga, but it was obvious from quite a few knowing and approving smiles that this was a recognised and appreciated technique …

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