Tag Archives: basics

Tango Edge

My socks are red, so are my shoes. It appears that the colour on Spar carriers is not fast, certainly not so in almost constant torrential rain. To be fair we did have some let up, that allowed us to go exploring on the bikes. There is a lot to see around here, and the campsite is right in the centre of things.During one of our shoping trips I found some Regatta waterproof shoes, and these have proven to be a real boon, not only in keeping my feet dry, but also free of red dye.
The Chapter House Arts Centre was to be our next Tango venue, not a difficuly place to find, as it turned out,but quite difficult to reach from where we were. We had three journeys there on our bikes, even the local postman could not direct us to it, eventually we used the GPS and a lot of instinct. When we finally figured it out, it was less than a mile and almost a straight line. It may be a man thing not to ask directions but after my experience of local knowledge, I think I should trust my instincts more not less.
So on Friday after what had been a good day, we had managed four hours on the bikes without rain, we showered and got ourselves ready to go out. Of course, just as we were ready the rain started again. Viv was in a panic about her wig getting wet and she insisted on wearing her wellies to the Tango, but in the end decked out in our waterproofs we headed off to the Arts Centre in good spirits.
We arrived at the new temporary entrance, and there was a beautiful sign that proclaimed Tango Edge. Of course once inside we headed off in the wrong direction, to be sent back time and again until we found the room. There were signs to the tango but somehow we always missed them. Viv went off to the toilet to make herself beautiful, while I changed my shoes and waited for her.
Our arrival was as usual miss timed, we had intended to just arrive for the improvers class, but we were here at the start of the beginners.
I quite enjoyed a bit of walking backwards and some basics. One should never forget the basics and only by going over and over the basics will the dance become better.
The teacher in this class is called Xenia, the sort of name that makes you think of sword wielding female warriors, not tango dancers.Far from the warrior princess she was slim, blond and slightly built,with a happy smiling face, and she looked like she thoroughly enjoyed what she is doing.
She obviously had not remembered us from Monday as when she began the improvers class, she asked about our experience. Like all good teachers, she did not want absolute beginners in the intermediate class. Once I had reminded her who we were she then remembered us from Monday.I forgot to mention in my last post, it was her birthday last Monday and we had a birthday dance for her, so of course she rememberd me more than Viv.
Despite some in the class not quite getting what was being taught it was very enjoyable. The levels of the students are always diverse and I well understand the difficulty of organising a class of this nature, some get it some do not. The main thing is that everyone enjoys it, that after all is why we tango. We do not come to be misserable or stressed, so it was good to see so many happy faces.
After the class there was more time to practice. Viv was determined to foist me off onto the beginners again, but I had my eyes on one or two of the more experienced ladies.
I did my bit with the beginners of course, it is great to be able to pass on experience to them, it lifts my ego,and makes me feel good, but the more experienced ladies here were a joy to dance with. I led voleos secadas leg wraps anything I threw at them they followed. I was in heaven, and because the class had involved some double time stuff, and to give us time to practice it,we had more than the usual amounts of milongas. I danced a tanda with Xenia, but not much with Viv. She did however get more dances tonight, I think taking part in the class has broken the ice a bit with the men.
Soon it was time for us to go and we said our goodbyes, disappeared to the toilets to get ourselves ready to brave the elements again. Before Viv was ready I heard the sounds of Francisco Canaro coming from the dance room. I simply had to return, to leave whilst Poema is playing is not an option for me.
We did of course leave afterwards, the midnight hour was fast aproaching and the path to the campsite is dark. I now look forward to Monday and more of the same.

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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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