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Tango: my life as a not-so-good leader

And you thought that YOU were the worst dancer in the world ?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Choreography workshop #2 

Things are becoming to repeat in this blog, and I'm not sure I'm liking this. So after "CITA #2", now comes
a second report about the annual choreography workshop which closes the tango classes. This time,
I somehow tried to prepare (unlike last year), as there is some competition between pupils, and
this is more or less the occasion to see who is the better couple among the students.

So, two months before, I had e-mailed the teachers to know which music they had chosen. Getting no answer, I tried to make logical guesses. What I knew was:

- The song must be familiar to everybody and frequently played in milongas
- It can't be La Cumparsita (for some reason all teachers here just hate La Cumparsita), nor Recuerdo (already used last year)
- It must have some structure: intro, theme A, theme B, adagio, fantasia, final
- It must not be too difficult or too rich (No Piazzolla, no Color Tango)

After listening to everything I had, the winner was A Evaristo Carriego (Pugliese version), with three
runner-ups: Orlando Goni (Mores), Quejas de bandoneon (Troilo) and Cafe Dominguez (D'Agostino).
Nice try... but they actually chose Quejas de bandoneon by Sexteto Mayor, an orchestra I had written off as "not danceable enough". Go figure...

Also, it turned out my partner wasn't in a "show off" mood. While most of the other couples worked off nice seduction play for the intro part (the first notes of the song. In milongas, it's when you chat with your partner), she rejected all my imaginative ideas, such as:

In fact, she threatened to just leave if I even tried to implement my ideas. So we did it her (most unimaginative) way: I walk to her, I invite her, she stands up, we dance. The dullest intro ever. 16 tempi wasted. By the way, like most couple during these two days, we argued all the time, on every sequence. But mainly about the lift. She didn't want to jump, and until the last minute she tried to persuade me with silly reasons:

"- We never do it in milongas!
- Sure, but today it's a *choreography* workshop.
- What if I land badly and break my foot?
- It's at the end, there is nothing after the lift, you can break all your toes and feet if you want..."

Eventually she realised she was the only opponent. Everybody wanted to see a lift, and we were the only couple with one. There was too much pressure. So she jumped reluctantly, not high, but she jumped.
And when, at the end of the two-day workshop, every couple "performed" in front of everybody (the students
plus the people who came for the ensuing milonga), here is what we demonstrated :

0:01 - 0:16 intro dull invitation

0:17 - 0:33 giro CW with double-time things

0:34 - 0:55 two sacadas with colgada-volcada effect
estrella
footwork on 8CB

0:56 - 1:11 two giros CCW with lapiz
Three boleos (back, front, line)
sandwich and sacada with shared axis pivot

1:12 - 1:32 adagio bicycle
piernazos
low-slow boleo

1:33 - 1:48 adagio four alterations

1:49 - 2:12 fantasia cadena of linear back sacadas
giro CW with double-time things (the same)

2:13 - 2:26 fantasia cadena of circle back sacadas

2:27 - 2:36 final lift
freeze in a more or less dramatic pause


Last year I had really felt the stage fright when the teachers had called our names. Not only fear, but the physical sensation that the feet were frozen and would not move. This time it went all smoothly, I kept my composure despite all the mistakes I was continuously doing. It seems I've learned to live with my mediocrity.


posted by Pablo  # 4:12 AM

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