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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 ?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Class hopping 

At the end of the day I can't force my nature. Whatever my intentions were about going to milongas during this period of the year where my regular teachers are away, I didn't go anywhere.
Instead I'm class hopping, taking one lesson here, one lesson there with teachers unknown to me, considering the time I need to go there, the place, the floor, the sound system, the attendance, the male/female balance, the style, the level. Also there is always the hope of possibly finding a tango partner.

Yesterday I went to a so-called "intermediate" class. By how they were dancing, "beginner" may have been more suitable. Nevermind, with summer classes you can never know whether a class is the last of a year-long series (in which case the students, having attended one year of intermediate classes, have actually reached the intermediate level) or the first of the next season series (in which case the students are intermediate wannabees).

The teacher explained we would "explore the cruzada". The idea being to try and vary the 8CB theme , leading the cross or not, and when the cross occurs letting or not the lady put her weight on her crossed foot; changing the possible exits; trying to switch feet on the "one", or on the "two", and so on.
Fine for me. Quickly enough though, the pupils got tired of exploring and asked the teacher to add something else. He duly obliged and demonstrated the sacada from the cross. Not a complete sequence, with a sacada, a transition and the 6-7-8 ending of the 8CB. Just the sacada. One step. He invited us to explore once again the possibilities, explaining that from the cross there were many options to lead the woman, and that the sacada could be made with either foot, thus creating a lot of possibilities.

This is where he got overwhelmed by questions. What's next? Where do we go from here? I do this, and then? I'm on the wrong foot to do 6-7-8, how do I do? I did my usual step but it did not work because he changed his foot, who is wrong?

He first tried to struggle, pointing out that this was precisely what the lesson was about, to let us explore the situations and figure out our own ways to manage them. But soon he understood that he had been somehow over-ambitious and that the students had not yet enough tango knowledge to feel comfortable and creative when in improvized, unknown patterns.
He sighed, then demonstrated a clear-cut sequence, cross, sacada, sacada by the woman, mirror, 6-7-8 of the 8CB.

posted by Pablo  # 5:35 AM
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