Tag Archives: basic eight

Sally and Carlos Wow them

I know it’s the same old story, but I was tired again. Up at five and a twelve hour shift takes it’s toll, When we go to Shrewsbury there is no time for a rest, so I have tea, shower, change and we are straight out again. I am not a good passenger, especially in my own car, but Viv drove as at least it would give me a chance to shut my eyes for half an hour. We had to stop for fuel in Oswestry and when we get to Shrewsbury I had to direct Viv through the town, so my period of rest was short and disturbed. Nowhere near the fifty minutes that the journey has taken. Never the less I got some refreshment and felt slightly more human by the time we arrived.

We are late and there is not much pre class practica time left, so I got straight in and danced with a couple of women. Soon enough Dave took centre stage and announced the class was starting. Sally and Carlos have again graced us with their presence and they joined along with everyone else.

Tonight Dave was explaining to the class about the structure of tango music, and how it is arranged into eight walking beat phrasing. We do little actual dancing, it is more about moving to the music and pausing so that we can move off again on the first beat. When we changed partners Carlos seemed to understand enough of what was going on to be happy changing along with the rest of us. I think he enjoyed dancing with all these new women and they certainly seemed to enjoy dancing with him. As he understood the music already so getting a handle on what was happening in the class was not such a great problem for him.

Many teachers in this country teach the basic eight, and miss the whole point by not linking it to the musical phrasing. Rather than walk, for some of the time, I did the basic eight occasionally with those women who were comfortable with it. Not constantly but it gave them some idea of why it exists.

After the class we returned to the practica, and again I saw Carlos happily dancing with as many women as he could. When it was Viv’s turn she accepted with relish and was lost back in Buenos Aires for a while.

The better leaders tend to avoid dancing with Viv in the class for the same reason I do; we come here to help the beginners so there is little point in dancing together, still the chance to dance with someone straight from Buenos Aires is not to be missed.

I meanwhile was busy dancing with as many as I could, but again I could not pass up a chance to dance with Sally, we even got a couple of milongas in just for good measure.

Sally has come to the UK to celebrate her parents golden wedding anniversary this coming weekend. She has been asked to give a demo in front of a hundred people, so being the kind people we are, we said she must have a practice in front of a group of friends first, just to warm up.

Rather than try to do something too showy, they elected to dance as they normally do, hopefully this will show the world what real tango is. Every one here was impressed but despite me shouting otro they did not do an encore. I look forward to the hoards of people coming to the lantern after Saturday wanting to learn tango as it is danced in the milongas after being wowed by Sally and Carlos.

After the class we again retired to The Coracle, my tiredness completely forgotten, the dancing had again lifted me out of my torpor.

Once there the conversation again revolved around tango and the music. Carlos was sat, again looking baffled, unable to grasp anything that was said, so I thought I would ask him what he thought of Gales. This would be a good opportunity to practice my Spanish skills. He said it is totally different from Buenos Aires, the city is crowded and noisy, where as Wales is open green and quiet.

 He asked about my home and if that is also different from my apartment in Buenos Aires, so I told him about my bungalow and little garden. One thing I had to put him right on was the weather; he said it gets really cold in Buenos Aires in the winter. We were there in the “big freeze” in 2007 and I told him I was amused by people wrapping up and rushing out to take photos of the snow, he looked shocked when I told him about how the snow would come up to first floor level at our old house in Gwynfryn. I did not know the word for snow plough and neither did Sally, I guess they have never had a need for such a word.

I am afraid I cannot carry on too long in Spanish, I am not a great linguist and struggle, but it was good to get some practice before my next visit.

I had a secret chat with Sally as well, I hope I am OK to let it out here as I expect her to announce Saturday night her intention to get married. There will be, I know, a mountain of bureaucratic problems for them in Argentina but I wish them all the best and I am sure that they will be happy together. I know the others would also have wished them well if they had known.

Soon we had to go, everyone here would be tucked up in their beds long before we get home, and it had been a long day. We will not see Sally and Carlos again before they return so we kissed and wished them well and said we must meet again in October. Carlos reminds me a lot of Juan but at least we were spared the tears at our parting, I love the Argentine way, the hugs, the kisses, the way that they wear their heart on their sleeve sometimes though it is just a bit too much although it is always nice to know they care.


Filed under Dance Venues and Schools, milonga

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