Tag Archives: Groves

Still on Holiday

As I prepare to head off for Shrewsbury again, I realise it is a week since my last post. Viv has kept me busy for nearly a fortnight now, and stopped me spending too much time in front of the computer. Although busy at home and in the garden, there has been plenty of time for dancing.

On Friday we had the technique class with Hayden at Pant. It seemed to go down well, but everyone was exhausted afterward and few stayed long for the practica. Saturday and Sunday are still reserved for our social ballroom and sequence dances, but Monday we were back at Stanley Palace for our regular date with the ghosts. I think they are getting a bit heavy footed as the floor was being rained on by small bits of plaster. Perhaps Anne Boleyn dropped her head when walking the gallery or maybe some duelists of old were still fighting it out, who knows, but they were quiet while we were dancing anyway.

Our beginners are getting the hang of the cross, even managing to know the difference when I just walk on the outside. They were left to it in the other room with Viv as we were a man short for the improvers. More secadas were on the menu for tonight and I was enjoying myself. Sharon was not going to let that continue and insisted in a practice hold, to stop the men leading with their arms.

My problem is that when I do not have the embrace my left shoulder drops back, the very thing we are trying to avoid, so with the practice hold I am not a happy bunny. I did not realise why this is happening until Wednesdays I will say more on this in a while.

We continued the mad dance week on Tuesday, by heading off to Manchester and the afternoon tea dance at the Trafford Centre, free parking, free tea and coffee, free raffle, and a free dance with a four piece live band, what more could you ask?  Well free petrol, OK, you can’t have everything. We rushed back to Chester afterwards, a Quick meal, then off to Salsa Classes.

Wednesday, we decided to go back to Gobowen for Sharon’s tango. Now that Deryck and Geoff have retired there is nothing to keep us, so we will go as and when the mood takes us now. Sharon continued with the secada scheme, and again I was cursed with the practice hold. Now though I think I have found the answer, I simply hold my arm up as if I am in the embrace. It looks a little odd but it works for me.

At  The lantern, on Thursday we continued again with the much of the same. This is not so much drilling, as there is a different crowd at each venue. There are not many who will travel to all three, even I cannot normally manage. But it works well as if you miss one venue, you can go to another and keep up with what is happening. Anyway Shrewsbury is about the after tango drink now. We simply cannot think of travelling that far and not going to The Coracle.

Tonights discussion soon moved on to matters tango, and we had a lively debate on contra posture and dissociation. One of us is missing something, I won’t say who said what, I will simply pose the question; Is dissociation contra posture? or is contra posture moving the body and legs together, but in opposite directions, and dissociation moving the body and legs separately? Viv ended up screaming with laughter as Dave and myself walked up and down The Coracle demonstrating dissociation and contra posture. At least we kept the locals amused.

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Dancing the music

The time from our Saturday milonga to the Chester class on Monday seems an age. Of course we have a social dance on Sunday in Connah’s Quay, but these dances have now become just a fill in to the main event.

There is the usual scramble before we depart, ensuring we have the right shoes (I need my heels in case I have to follow). Then we are off again. Outside the Groves we see Katrina on her mobile, I say “hurry up we must dance before the class”. As there is only quarter of an hour before the class starts, I want to have a chance to make things up as soon as possible, but she gesticulates and mumbles something while carrying on with her phone call. That was the last I saw of her that night, what happened and why she did not come in I do not know, I do hope I get another chance to dance on Thursday.

When the beginners’ class starts there is again a shortage of women, so my heels will again come in handy. Some of the men looked rather worried, this is a fairly new group and they would not believe that I was going to dance the woman’s part. As things turned however a couple of women arrived and I could then join as a man.

The problem as always with the early class is that people arrive after the class starts and soon more men arrived, so after a short period sat out I again rejoined as a follower. The guy who had looked so worried was after all soon dancing with me.

Things continued fluctuating throughout the beginner’s class but in the main after this I led.

Something that I always notice is the difficulty that ballroom dancers have with tango. The fact that they are acquainted with the mechanics of motion and are able to move with the music seems to help little. Ballroom dancers lead from the hip and this posture of leaning back is totally at odds with the forward posture adopted by tango dancers. While I acknowledge this is Sharon’s class, her concern is with the whole class and can not devote too much time to one person. Maybe next week I can spend some time with the ballroom ladies and get their posture sorted.

In the improvers class we again worked on the giro, my problem as always is steps, so I have to take care to do the move that Sharon has taught and not just make something up as I usually do, and run the risk of confusing every one.

We also spent some time moving to the music, this is something all the British have trouble with, unlike the Spanish and Argentines, who will move to any music without training and still look better than us. We can learn steps and we can do them to the beat, but this is not the same as interpreting the music through dance. Learning that you cannot do the same thing to Canaro as you would to DiSarli is not something many teachers here put emphasis on, I take my hat off to Sharon for trying, and daring to be different.

As usual at the end we had some practice time. I managed to dance with most of the women, but it was only Sharon with whom I managed to redeem my self for Saturday.

I hope to try again Thursday and catch up with those I have missed.

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Snow

Firstly let me thank the hardy souls who turned up last night at the Groves. Because of the lack of numbers, they were unwilling to keep the place open, but never the less, they allowed us to dance until half eight. A particular apology goes out to Patricia, who turned up for the second class, only to find us packing up. I put the music back on and did two dances with her. After her battling through the snow, it was the least I could do.

Sharon had left word she wanted us to practice the cross, but after an initial start, the numbers and levels attending made a class impractical. Of course there was also the problem that I had no lesson plan. Fortunately I did have my laptop and sound system with me.

This caused it’s own problems: my laptop refused to respond to mouse strokes, even the arrows did not work at first, although they did respond later, enough for me to get the music going anyway.

Typically, it was fine when I returned home, technology, where would we be without it?

I believe Sharon was stuck somewhere on the A483 or A5, I hope she got home safely.

I must also add a word about Pete Rogers. I joke about his singing, but he always gives a good night.  It seems the act for Sunday night was worried about the snow, thankfully Pete stepped into the breach and kept us fully entertained all night. I think I can speak for everyone there, in offering our thanks.

I am a bit pressed for time so I apologise for the short post, hopefully there will be time later to add more.

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Chester Milonga

This tradition thing is catching on; Mondays class was dedicated to learning how a Milonga works, and the traditional music.

Sharon had a basic class at the beginning, where we learned a simple step that would allow the beginners to keep moving around the room. After this some time was spent on the etiquette. No overtaking, no walking across the floor, no back steps, and no stopping the flow, to teach a move that was not followed because you could not lead it. 

This is my favourite bug bear, if a woman does not follow what I have led, and asks what should I have done, I always respond “just follow” if she does not get it I will try again later, modifying my lead until she does. There is nothing worse than someone stopping the flow with both parties in a couple looking at the floor, trying to do something that is obviously beyond them. It is, ok, to just walk to the music.

OK back off my soap box; We were arranged around the room, men one side and women the other, eye contact being the only form of request allowed. Again I must admit to walking up to one or two women to ask them to dance, as they were too busy talking to catch my eye.

The music was kept traditional and arranged in tandas. I liked the choice of Aker Bilk as a cortina.

Sharon has taken a few photographs and has promised to forward them to me, I in turn promise to post some of them here as soon as I have them.

I cannot end without a note to say that all the women had made a special effort and were all beautiful, there was not one there that I would not have been proud to have on my arm.

Una cosa mas, as they say in Buenos Aires, I would be glad to hear of anyone who would like a regular Milonga in the Chester Area. If I do organise anything it would have to be irregular, maybe once a month. My shift working prevents me doing something on a weekly basis, that is unless someone else comes in with me.

I think that the size of the crowd we have at present, a weekly Milonga would anyway be unsustainable, at the moment. But any ideas or offers are welcome, lets get something moving.

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Roberta

I looks like I am to forever follow in the Chester class.

Sharon wanted to do close embrace, usung the techniques from Sven’s Class, but there was a problem, nine men and only three women. Fortunately as the class continued a few more women arrived (unfortunately also some men). So when the men walked in a circle around the outside of the room, I joined the women in the centre. I have now been renamed Roberta for the sake of the class.

Fortunately I am very hetrosexual, so that when it came to close embrace, it was well understood that there was nothing “gay” about this. It has to be thought of as a hug, like when you score a goal or it is somebody’s  birthday.

Perhaps because I was never, what they call a popular boy when in school, many years ago. I enjoy the fact that I now have some sort of popularity.

At the end of the class one lady complained that she had danced with every man in the room except me. Now those who know me will tell you I am a shy retiring type, so that my first reaction was to  say “Sharon music” I was over in a flash.

I know I will never be one of the great milongueros, but I seem to have achieved a status amongst the beginners, and I have to say I love it.

To the ladies who rush to dance with me I can only say thanks, this world gives me a joy and confidence that I have never had.

There are men out there, I know who think that dancing is a bit gay, you look a bit of a puff, also many belive that it is just too dificult “I have two left feet”. Most of this is just excuses or lack of self conficence, The confidence will come, and after the first time you will wonder why you waited so long, I know I did.

It took many years for me to gain any confidence, perhaps because of my early years, or maybe as some have said, a complete lack of coordination.

If I can do it then anyone can, So what are you waiting for, come on join the dance.

Next week is a Christmas affair, I am not sure what Sharon has in mind, but, if you are not there you won’t be able to join the fun.

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Monday Class

See. I can Follow

See. I can Follow

Last night (Monday)  I was again at the groves, and again there were more men than women. This is a strange phenomenom, it seems to be happening more and more. While I am happy to follow in the class, I am afraid that the men will not dance with me in the practice, which means of course that there are not enough women to go round.

While this is not usually a problem for me, I worry that it may eventually put some men off. Could this perhaps be why there are often more women in the intermediate classes? I do enjoy these practice sessions and am pleased to see more people from the beginners stopping for the late practica. I particularly enjoy the fact very beginners have not yet learned the steps and as such are still open to be led.

Unfortunately I had to leave early as I was up at five and next week I have to work a night shift. So I hope to see you all there in a fortnight.

Some advance warning, I will be taking the class on the 29th December. As yet I do not know what I will teach, I suspect I may concentrate on  leading and following technique, but if anyone has something that they wish to concentrate on, please drop me  a note or comment here.

PS I have just realised that I will be there (The Groves) next Monday it is the following week that I must work. Just shows that even I have problems with my shift patern.

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Northwich 2007

Northwich 2007

For those watching for events, we will be at Northwich Memorial Hall on 22nd November, Ballroom and sequence with Goodtime Combo. we will be booking two tables, and already we have fourteen names. If you wish to join us drop my a line we can always book more tables, just pay on the night.

On the Tango scene I will be at the Groves tonight probably being a leader for the absolute beginners.
It is strange that in Tango for the absolute beginners ther always seem to be more leaders, yet any higher levels and ther are never enough. I have heard many theories on this, mainly women saying that men neverstick at anything, I would love to hear yours.
We danced our hearts out last night in Connah’s Quay Navy club, a guy on the accordian called Eric Reid from Stoke. He was really lively and never gave us a moment to rest. The floor which is usually awful seemed much better maybe someone is listening.
Anyway I am off now until Sunday so watch out for reports of our activities.

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