Basic eight and more

OK so last night I took the Chester class. I had planned to do something about the lead and the embrace, but Sharon had asked me to go over the basic eight in preparation for the coming year.

There was one guy who was fairly new, but in general everyone including the new guy was very soon doing the eight with no problems. We went on to make it a seven, leaving out the back step, but this was never going to fill two hours.

I decided to ask if anyone had anything they wanted help with, and everyone either said ochos or giros.  We spent some time going over the steps of the giro, until someone asked the killer question “if tango is improvised then why do we learn steps?” it was as if I had planted the question. Now I could break the moves down into their basics and show that any ocho or giro could be started or finished at any point. The lady must wait for each lead, because the man may not go the way they think he will go.

I then gave them something of a demo; I chose a fairly new partner and asked her forgiveness for what I was about to do. I played Poema by Canaro, I think one of the most beautiful pieces ever written.  I then proceeded to ignore the music and do every move I could think of, it was horrible, she hated it, and every one could see that she was struggling.

I apologised again and asked how it was for her. Now I asked for a second chance, Poema again, but this time I listened to the music, we did nothing but walk, but changing speed and direction as the music dictated. She was happy, we looked good, our audience enjoyed it and I did not even lead an ocho.

I set the class back to their tasks, telling them not to lead just giros and ochos but fill in with walking and feel the music. I picked my drink up as my mouth was dry and when I turned back everyone was dancing, not as in a class, not practicing , but just dancing.

At this point I gave up teaching and just left the music on. I no longer had a class, but a group of Tango dancers.


Filed under Dance Venues and Schools

4 responses to “Basic eight and more

  1. tangobob

    I was also sorry you miised the class you are always missed. I hope you are not going to miss too many next year, we want Beany to come out dancing.
    Besos Bob

  2. Sounds like you taught a great class, I’m sorry John and I had to miss it. I’m glad you broke the ocho and giro down for the class, so every step is led. It is that constant interpretation that brings a tango to life – being with the music in the moment, not just going through a pattern.

  3. tangobob

    Thank you Jan again for your kind comments. I cannot think of myself as a professional, just someone who has found the journey difficult. All I do is try to show people how to get around the problems that I have had myself.
    Besos Bob

  4. jantango

    Lovely!!! If only more professionals in tango would teach this way. Once dancers memorize step sequences, they are stuck in that rut.

    When we are present in the moment, we dance what we feel. That’s tango.

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