End of June, and end of the tango season as well. For the last but one class, our teacher explained that this time it would not be a "do what I do" thing. He and his partner wouldn't show any sequence. Instead, he asked us to improvise on a given theme: barrida after a sacada.
He let us improvise
for a while, then whispered something like "Oh, my God", looked at the ceiling and stopped the music.
"Well, well. Maybe I should have told you what the word improvisation means. What I'm seeing
right now is this: one of the basic, two, and so on to the cross, sacada, end of sacada, resolucion
, and now once again one of the basic, go to the cross, barrida, resolucion
This is not improvisation. I want you to make a barrida one step after the sacada."
Here he demonstrated front and back sacadas on every possible step by the follower (side,
forward, backward) followed immediately by some sacada.
"See? There are countless possibilities, you just have to find a new, improvised one.
You're supposed to be intermediates, you should have developed this ability by now. But you're
just a bunch of schizophrenics; during the class you can reproduce our difficult sequences
with our alterations, combinations, subtleties but when you're on your own right now, or when I see you in the milongas, you're doing nothing but basics and ochos. You come to our class but we're not reaching you, our teaching just glides on you like the rain on a duck's oiled feathers."
Now he asked us to add other specified elements to our improvised sequence: a change to crossed system, then back to normal system, an alteration, a giro, and a boleo. All this without using our beloved ochos and cross.
At the end, each couple demonstrated its sequence. Nobody was able to show something really convincing, but all in all it was not too bad. When the teacher called my name, my partner screamed that she didn't want to go, that she hadn't understood anything of what I had been leading during the class and that she preferred to perform with any other leader. The teacher then picked a random lady to dance with me. Our little performance was pathetic of course, despite all her goodwill.