Archive for the ‘Diary’ Category

Festival People

At an earlier stage in my tango journey I was once despairing of getting any traction on the tango learning curve; this while chatting with a friend at a local festival —  we were both watching some out of towners dominating the floor.

“Oh” she said “…those are festival people.”  Her inflection, I think, meant she thought something like “these people are tango zombies – you are never going to catch them.”

And she was right about that.   We are all incrementally growing up; some rocketing ahead and some, like myself, more slowly; and hopefully with a little sureness.    Some of us, like me, take detours into other arts or other things; or take breaks and rests.

Now and then I still strain for a higher foothold on the mountain trail of tango learning.

….. On a good day I can process an advanced class; and in a good month incorporate one good thing so that it is intuitive.  Tomorrow I follow my muse and hit the road for my third festival in eight months; and have one coming locally this month as well.       I’m not a tango zombie; I’m not.   But now and then the Muse strikes, with the right follow, and I think I can comfortably call myself a festival person.


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Tango in Bucharest

So my travels have taken me to Romania; where of course I indulged myself in tango while also doing other touristy and personal things. The true story behind the instinct to travel there was a series of dreams of myself dancing with someone there; and this set the ball in motion. Something like a quarter of a century ago I had almost gone there on other business; but that is the past.

There are several groups in Bucharest dedicated to tango; I myself only interacted with the folk at tangotangent and Casadetango.ro. I enjoyed myself and hope to interact with them again. In nine full days in country I think I had six tango events.

These two groups are easily found in Sector 2 of that city, and I stayed at the “Tempo Hotel” also in Sector 2, which is easy walking distance from the floors of these fine groups. I observe, as others more learned in this dance have done before me, that there are something like regional “dialects” of the dance. The basic structure is the same, the movements the same … but regional “dialects.”

I want to return to Bucharest someday.

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Update the plot

Long ago and far away the military taught me to operate plotting boards – this was before there were such things as computers common in CICs. I wound up taking a different career path, so to speak.

I was put in mind of that bit of personal history because of the idea of constantly “updating the plot” when attempting more complex combinations of figures; – where is she? What is she about to do? etc.

Private session last night with S., working on some of the movements in this video, particularly the back sacada part, and some involved discussion about dance. See how he executes the lead for the sacada up until the last minute, so to speak, and then actually executes; he takes care that his chest is not too far ahead of the action.

Also work with my following technique and discussion about things not to teach a beginner, or else they will in fact do what you say; particularly viz. collecting constantly, and is this really so necessary?

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A Galaxy of fun

It so happens I have recently purchased a Samsung Galaxy tablet; which is integrating itself into my life in a variety of ways. I think I have been around for a tango first; or at least; one of the first such incidences. A lady wanted me to show her how to do linear boleos; and I had the tablet in my shoe bag (I was expecting an email.) I called up a youtube instructional video and showed her, took her to the little practice area of the venue and demonstrated the lead, and then off we went to the main floor and danced with an execution or two of said linear boleos. I am sure other people are doing this. … It’s just the first time I did it.

It so happens that I heading to Romania in a week or so; to enjoy the sights and culture and also to dance with the local community in Bucharest. I am looking forward to this.

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The Great Circle Route

A “great circle route” is when a navigator aboard a ship or aircraft plots a course across an ocean which is not a straight line, but rather is representative of an arc, which if you saw upon a globe moving in time (with the earth moving below) instead of on a flat, static map; would be seen to be in real time and space to be the shortest route that could be taken. It just looks like an arc on the flat page.

All of which means: Listen to your instructors the first time if you don’t want to move in circles. Or if you do…

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The classes I have been having are ended with a 10 or 15 minute diversion into milonga; which is a way to blow off the stress of trying to apprehend some difficult combination of figures; it ends things on a positive note after an hour and a half session. Probably for the teacher, as well.

Today we worked with what I will call a “sawtooth” pattern – I have a background in electronics, and this describes something on an oscilloscope screen – which is great. Good for a beginner follow who can’t quite move well enough for a standard “box”, and one can do tiny little ochoes with a more skilled follow during the faster-paced cadencia bits.

More work with lady’s sacadas in a pattern, and also a lead’s back sacada as a resolution of cross in the basic step after an ordinary sacada and a back ocho.

POSTURE. POSTURE. POSTURE. Pauses. Shifting the rigidness of the embrace as appropriate. Precision in foot placement.

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Bits and pieces…

In times past I have tried to use my own off-brand notation to describe what I am doing, or simply record my impressions. Sometimes life just comes at you too fast to indulge yourself in scribbling your memories. And even at that, it seems now at what level I am that getting things hard-wired into muscle memory is what counts for me, rather than scribbling a diary entry.

….It is the close of week 1. So many impressions; some to be lost to my immediate memory, I am sure… An Argentine Cub scout, stereotypically helping an elderly lady across the street (his Kerchief the albacelest). … The students of my main teacher here who welcomed me to their table at Confiteria Ideal.. the peddler’s donkey that plods by (!) with a cart early every morning. The German fellow-traveller, now on the next leg of his life’s adventure. ..And so forth.

Actually implementing the new “break-open” milonga step .. close embrace sacadas in cross and parrallel systems; actually leading front and back boleos from a molineta out of a cross, and that with a new follower. Steak. A blur…….

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