Archive for June, 2008

The follow going into a back ocho away from you to your left; perform an outside secada with your right foot as simultaneously: a) your intention sends her away b) your right hand on her shoulder blade pushes her down and twists to her left c) you also lower your height by flexing your knees into a split (but keeping posture) .. Her left should describe a large arc before you draw her up.

Variation: With a little closer embrace, step forward onto that foot doing the secada, pivot on it clockwise as your left goes back and you do something like a split seen in aerobics – performing the rest the same.


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A private lesson with Angel Coria at Carina’s studio really busted my chops in the best way; I have had to reflect on it for a day or so.

Four main points to good dancing from him:

1. Posture, which gives us (2).
2. Lead
3. Musicality.
4. Improvisation, which comes out of a good comfort level with the first three.

In my possession also a hand-drawn diagram that helps illuminate my understanding of musicality for vals, tango, and milonga. I will try to decrypt my notes shortly.

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More ganchos..

A session with A. at Cococabana leaves me reeling; and I feel like a young child learning to walk as I see possible gancho permutations. It seems that what I have learned thus far is something like “gancho training wheels” the way that the basic eight count steps are “tango training wheels.”.

Here’s one thing to take away from this lesson, at least. Practice doing planeos in place like this: Right forward, rotate on both both feet so you are facing away from the line of dance, perform a quality planeo, and repeat. Then do this with a partner performing molinetas around you. Exquisite.

BACK SECADA: For the figure to the lead’s left, a forward enrosque to the left, stepping forward with the right (remember, this is a forward enrosque), and pivot on that right, with the left sliding back for the secada. Remember to slide.

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ganchos, sort of

With Jake at McGinty’s:

When doing rock stops within ochos for the purpose of turning, make sure with the back step to your left that you bring your left into a collecting position to give her space. To the right, make sure there is a strong lead with your right shoulder.

Successfully deploying gancho leads! … But I have a profound hurt in my left knee and toe; probably from practicing spins in my shoes at work, which are designed to hang on to the floor rather than slide. It is a sign of profound tango addiction or something that I consider the wisdom, or not, of having a pair of dance shoes at work. Which I don’t. Yet..

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Sigh, II

Drills: (Performing a glacis first) practice spins, enrosques, and planeos until you can do them on-axis with either left or right foot, a full 360 degrees; without using your arms or legs (only the hips) for inertia. Make sure you get your weight out there on the pivoting foot.

Use the planeo for performing a barrida to finish a molineta when you are feeling up to it.

Also some satisfying intro work with ganchoes.


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Sometimes a guest instructor comes through — one of these types from BsAs with the energy of a salsero hyped up on lattes and the elegance of a maestro de tango out of some black and white film from the Golden Age past.. He’ll have you doing incredible stuff, which you will actually get, but the half-life of this knowledge, both for leads and follows, is about 2 hours or so.


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Ochos again

At McGinty’s, the new venue for the Eastern Market crowd, I commiserated with a fellow struggler about how being in a foul mood (which I was not in) helps your best tango come out; perhaps it has to do with shutting off your rational side.

With Jake: Hesitation and rock steps within ochos, both “in the middle” and at the parabola. Something I can “get” if I basically ignore an understanding follow and concentrate on my move, but which I cannot otherwise do, is this: Imagine the lead twisting his frame into a left over right cruz as the follow is stepping forward across him left to right, inside leg forward; lead pivoting in place almost 3/4 of turn and coming out of the cross with a glacis. I can do the pivot, and the glacis, but I can’t make this work (yet….) consistently. The trick is to pivot together.

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