Tag Archives: new year

More on close hold

New Year is a good time to relax and enjoy the company of friends. We had been at a party, where we danced in the New Year. After we had helped to pack away we drove over to Chester where we had been invited by Tom and Kwai of Clan Cuban

I think it was meant to be more dancing, but we had arrived late so we just sat drinking and talking dance. As you will by now gather from this blog, I can talk a good dance, even if I do not actually dance it that well.

Talk inevitably got onto close hold and what Tom calls the choo choo hold. I think Tom finds it useful as a means of conveying, not only the move but also the lead. Kizomba despite its similarities is quite different to Tango and the way the embrace must be allowed to open is more akin to Nuevo tango than the more traditional tango I love.

Still though, this practice embrace can have its uses in tango teaching, but only as a means to an end.

I can see no benefit in teaching a class the whole time in practice embrace and then telling them to dance close hold. If you want to dance close hold, then the only way to learn is to learn in the embrace.

Tom, who has been teaching some time now comes up with a lot of things that I find useful for tango, even though, as yet, he does not dance it. One thing we talked about was the problems with close hold, and the difficulties people have with it.

I am not quoting anyone here but the ideas have sprung from the conversation that we had, so I will offer credit for them, but any blame (if anyone should choose to disagree) should all be upon me.

British men have a problem holding women. Not a sexual problem, but to hold a woman very close in a non sexual way, I think is alien to them. So when they first come to close hold dancing they are uncomfortable, to get that close is seen as something sexual. This is transmitted to the women, who will see it as either being too fresh or just creepy.

We all need time to adapt. The men need time to get comfortable and to not get aroused. The women need time to relax and understand that this is just a warm comfortable place to be, and most of all we all need to understand that this is nothing to do with the mating game.

Only by spending the whole class in close embrace with several partners can we ever become more used to this. I honestly believe that it is harder for us men to adapt, why? I do not know, but women seem to me to be more comfortable in close bodily proximity than men. This is why; I think women are more able to dance together than men, and why it has taken so much persuading to get men to dance with me.

So I believe that once we men get comfortable with the close embrace the women will just melt into our arms, and what joy this can bring.

Women who find the close hold uncomfortable, I believe have their views coloured by dancing with men who themselves are not comfortable. Men who are not comfortable are so because they have never experienced a true embrace and uncomfortable women will not give it to them.

So it is up to those of us who have spent time with tango and other close dances to share our knowledge and joy with others.  When the world can all enjoy a hug and a smile, when a man can embrace a woman with a love that is not sexual and we can all take to the dance floor with a joy and a desire to share with our partner a love of the music, then I think we are well on our way to peace and nirvana.

Finally can I take this opportunity to wish all my readers a Happy and Prosperous New Year? Felicidades y Prospero Año Nuevo a Todos.

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Filed under Dance Venues and Schools, Tango

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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Filed under Dance Venues and Schools