Monthly Archives: January 2009

Atilla

I am feeling extremely lucky of late, after what seemed to be years of dearth, suddenly there are Tango venues cropping up all over.

Despite my admiration of Atilla’s teaching methods I have been unable to attend any of her classes of late, the distance and time involved of getting to Wilmslow meant that for most of the time it was just not worth my while. I have a grouse to go with this as well, why are the workshops always when I am working? but more of this later.

After that preamble, Atilla took over The Groves Wednesday class this week. So for one week only we abandoned our usual Wednesday dance and attended The Groves.

It was really nice to meet Atilla again after so long, after all the greetings we were soon into the class. We were all asked to do a warm up dance, and I was amazed at the range of skill levels. How Atilla was going to run this class was going to be a revelation.

It was necessary to keep it simple as we had first timers in the class and even some of those who had been coming a while were still unable to grasp the basics. The class consisted of conitas and half giros, but with enough variation to keep the rest of us interested.

What happened to the hour? as usual Atilla’s class passed in a flash, and we were into the practica part of the night.

The ability to pitch a class across so many levels and keep us all interested can only be put down to her vast experience. I look forward to her next visit in a fortnight.

A new experience for me as well, I finally danced with Atilla. I do not know why but I have been too nervous to dance with her. One of those totally irrational fears that bug our lives, anyway she did not eat me, and for me anyway it was a pleasant experience.

There is an up coming weekend of workshops starting Friday 27thFebruary. This will be with Rodolfo and Miho, and again I am working the whole weekend, Thursday and Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. I could start to believe it was on purpose, except I know it is just the way it goes. Three years ago I did not miss one weekend. Those of you who followed my old blog on AOL will remember that I have not seen Miho since we met in Salon Canning in September and Rodolfo even longer.

Miho was returning for the last Wilmslow Tango weekend while I was in Buenos Aires. It is a shame that I keep missing them as I find Rudolfo not only a great teacher but also he keeps us all amused while we learn (maybe that is his secret).

They will be at The Roundhouse Theatre on Monday 2ndMarch for the usual Manchester Monday Class. I hope to catch up with them there. I must apologise beforehand  to Sharon for missing her class that night, but as I  am working all weekend this will be my first opportunity to catch up.

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Another night at the Groves

Monday saw the usual class at the Groves, the numbers here are now balancing out well, and so my services as a follower are no longer needed. Sad really I was starting to quite enjoy the feeling, but as Viv is now coming as well, if there is a small shortage, she of course will be the first to step in. This was the case last night and I was left on the sidelines, but not for long:

A new guy had arrived, and was not ready to join the class, as in the weeks since this term had begun the level had improved significantly. So my job for the night was to try and bring him through the basics. Not an easy job as the space by the bar is limited. Anyway I had him doing basic walking and changing weight, just about managing, and not minding the fact that he had to lead me.

Soon however another lady joined the class, which left Viv free to help. Now I could see more clearly what was happening, and we could get the feet right.

One of the most difficult things for new leaders is the belief that the ladies feet will not be there when they step. We worked on getting him to walk straight in both parallel and cross again no problems. Soon the class was over and I have left him with some exercises to practice. His progress was excellent and hopefully after next week he will be ready to join the class.

Again in the intermediates, I was left out. I cannot complain it allows me to better observe what is happening, and in this case there was a new guy who I had not seen before. He grabbed Viv to be his partner and as the class progressed I watched fascinated as he led Viv through manoeuvres that were no part of the class, and afterwards he again grabbed Viv for the practica.

There is no room for me to be jealous, in fact it is nice that she has had a chance to dance with someone who is not a beginner. While it is OK for me, I can lead things that the beginners have not done before, for Viv most of the time she just ends up walking and doing side steps.

We never did find out who this guy was, but I hope he will return.

Things are looking up, now we have some more advanced dancers and new ones joining all the time.

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Gobowen

This week we have an additional report, as we had a Milonga in Gobowen.

For those who do not know, Goboewen is just off the A5 (A483) coming from Wrexham before Oswestry. The Milonga was held in the Scout Hut, I do not know when it was built , but it looks in very good condition and the floor is superb,

I have been here before and it is typical of all Scout huts inside, however Sharon had done a great job in transforming the place. It is amazing what she had done with a few sheets of material, some tablecloths and fairy lights. Sorry I forgot my camera, so no pictures.

The crowd was a good mix, being where it was, people were pulled from Chester, Shrewsbury and all areas inbetween. Everyone seemed to enjoy the evening, and I think I managed to dance withe very lady there.

A good thing about this crowd is that there is no snobbery. The mix of more advanced and beginner level dancers all gel well together, with the better dancers happy to pass on their experience, without the usual stopping to teach, that I see at other venues.

I have but one grouse: Tango venues are few and far between and the number of punters is small. So why does someone organise an event in Chester on the same night? There are not enough of us to support two venues on the same night, and we do not have enough venues that we can afford to have two running at once. Please talk to one another we cannot afford to split such a small community.

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Five loaves ?

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What was I saying about miracles?  After this weeks session at the Lantern, we again reconvened at the Coracle for a drink. Now Dave may say that he is just lucky, but I reckon he has some sort of power, because there we were sating our thirsts thinking, “hm something to eat would be nice” when there appeared the landlord with a plate of sandwiches.

Is it me or are Daves eyes glowing? Summoning up the butty God.

Is it me or are Daves eyes glowing? Summoning up the butty God.

 Anyway back to the Tango: We arrived a bit earlier this week, and this gave me some more time just walking with the beginners. It is to Sharon’s credit that even though the large numbers last week were probably to do with the “Strictly Come Dancing” effect, all but six turned up again this week. Perhaps not everyone expects dancing to be like that, and can understand the concept of social dancing.

I am amazed at  the standard that is being achieved here. Nobody yet has complained about the lack of figures and they all seem happy that they can at least take the floor.  I can only put this down to the small group of dancers that is making a home here, and to no small part the efforts of Dave and Sharon.

In the intermediate class we again practiced crossing the ladies and moving around the room in cross system. Previous teachers in this area have tended toward the, shall I say, more elaborate dancing. Now the ladies are coming to the understanding that if I do not lead anything then they need do nothing.

Just looking beautiful is enough, and if they do not know what I want them to do, that is my fault not theirs.

Just a few pictures of the night, They will improve with time, I have only had this camera a very short while.

I am now entering a period where I will not be able to get to Shrewsbury every week So my reports will be sporadic. I know I can trust the team to do a great job, and I really look forward to seeing how everyone has improved when I return.

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Miracle Worker

I do not know how he does it, maybe it is because he has been doing promotions since he was seven, (or so he says) but Dave Basset has again worked miracles. The new beginners class started this Thursday at the Lantern Shrewsbury. Normally one would expect a few newcomers at these classes, but even taking into account the “Strictly Come Dancing” effect, I could never have expected the huge number who arrived this week.

Exhausted Tango Dancers relax over a drink

Exhausted Tango Dancers relax over a drink

We arrived late, as it is over an hours drive, and the beginners class was in full swing. I would have liked to join in and give some help but as the numbers were more or less even, there seemed little point at this stage.

The classes are arranged with a practica between the beginners and the intermediates, so I had half an hour to walk around with some of the new starters. I got a good feeling from the few I managed to give some time to, good posture and a feeling that they are actually there with me. Next week I hope to be a bit earlier and spend some time with them in the class.

A few stayed over for the intermediates but soon realised that it takes time to learn even the basics.

Sharon has again been asked to give the class, and again we did the things we had done last Monday. Happily when asked to help demonstrate this time I was able to oblige. Does everyone get bad dancing days? or is it just me? anyway I left feeling a lot better than I did on Monday.

There was more practice time after the class, I could not manage to get around every one, but I apologise to those I missed. There was some confusion amongst some of the women, who felt that Viv was somehow being left out when I danced with them. I can only say that I love dancing with my wife, but amongst new dancers we feel that we must share our experience, after all, the more people dance tango, the more dances we will have, and then the more opportunities we will have to dance together.

We enjoyed the night imensely, and I must again thank Dave Bassett for organising it. We stayed on right until the end, and even joined Dave and a few others for a drink in the Corracle afterwards. See the photo in the post, unfortunately Dave and Sharon were a bit shy, Dave out of picture to the right and Sharon hiding behind Viv. Don’t worry, I’ll get the two of you next time.

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Bad Night

I am finding this post particularly difficult to write, as last nights class did not go well for me.

I am at the moment suffering from a cold, not making excuses, but it may help to explain why I was not on top form.

At the start of the beginners, Viv and I joined and took partners on opposite sides of the room. This way we would mix with the most people. We begin just walking to the music, but it is when we partner up the problems start.

In the Milongas of Buenos Aires the good dancers overtake on the outside pushing the beginners and fantasia dancers into the middle. Why on earth I started doing this in an absolute beginners class I have no idea, Sharon was quickly there admonishing me, and rightly so. ChastenedI rejoined the class unfortunately just in front of Viv, so that the next change put us back together. Now while I enjoy dancing with my wife, doing a beginners class together is somewhat pointless. Sharon soon found some first timers for us to help.

In the intermediate class, things did not go well for me either. When asked to help demonstrate what we were doing, I simply did not understand what was wanted of me, not yet having led these steps, in front of a class was not the place to practice.

OK there was nothing that I should not have been able to do, but I have this problem with routine, I cannot simply do anything in a set order unless pre rehearsed. I improvise, and while this works in the dance, it is no good for demonstrating to a class.

As the evening went on I had more and more problems, and I do not know if it was because I felt rough, or was I just having a bad day, or perhaps more likely, because Mr Big had his ego deflated.

Next week I must work nights, so I will not be at the Monday class. I hope to see everyone in a fortnight, hopefully back on form.

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Back to the grind

The Christmas and new year festivities are over, and along with most of Britain, I am back to the daily grind.

Mondays Tango class saw a new influx of beginners, and judging by first impressions, we could have a whole new crowd joining this wonderful world.

Also among these new arrivals was Viv, she has agreed to attend Mondays, if I let her go to line dancing on a Tuesday, more of this later.

The basic class went well, nothing but walking so far, but it was a challenge just to stop everyone swaying, salsa style. Confidence is always an issue for the men, just believing that the woman will not be there when you step, but all this will come in time.

The intermediate class consisted of a lot of walking in cross. A nice move changing sides with a half ocho. I am afraid this confused some people, and they could not get out of the ocho once they started. This is not my class, so I must be careful, but never the less, I did get some satisfaction when a guy who was having particular problems, finally got it.

The numbers were more or less balanced, now that Viv had joined the class, so this left me free to watch and help where I could. Roberta only appeared when Sharon needed to demonstrate a step. So we have the strange sight of a man being led by a woman. (this would never happen in BsAs).

A nice thing that has happened now is that people are staying from the beginners to practice at the end, hopefully this will continue. If the group continues to grow, I may yet fulfill my dream of having a local Milonga. We plan to soon have a house party as a starter, watch this space.

Back now to Tuesday, no tango I am afraid, just ballroom and sequence, at Flexis in Acrefair. As Viv has gone to line dancing, and released me (for the night only) I can now dance with all the local ladies, unfortunately, this week they were rather thin on the ground, so I was limited to just two. Still it was a good night, shame on those of you who missed it.

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Happy New Year

First let me apologise for being a day late, but I wanted to include Dave Bassett’s party in my post.

We brought the new year in at The Memorial Hall Wrexham. Steve, who had organised the occasion was on top form. The group who normally attend these socials are not the easiest to please, but we never heard one complaint.

Steve again brought out his trumpet and gave us a blast, not having tried myself, I can only give the opinions of others, who tell me that to play the keyboard and trumpet at the same time requires some skill. All I know is that we love it and we want more.

New Years day evening is always a bit flat, and so it was nice for once to be invited to Shrewsbury again for a House Milonga. Dave Bassett had invited a few tangueros for an evening of dancing.

He, like most of us completely hooked ones, has a room dedicated to dancing. I was impressed with the technology he had, as well as the obvious sound system, he had a projector screen covering one wall and one of those back lit televisions on the other, and while we danced we were treated to tango videos from Youtube.

The group from Shrewsbury is starting to develope into a knowlegable and friendly group, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Dave. He has a battle on his hands though as the, neo, nuevo, show dance, fantasia, whatever you choose to call it faction, is still in evidence and seem determined to take over.

I will be keeping an eye on the Shrewsbury scene and Dave in particular through the coming year ( as best the distance and my work allows) because with the enthusiasm that is there, I am sure that it will grow and grow.

Prospero Año Nuevo a todos.

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