Tag Archives: practice

A class on the hoof

As we prepared for our night in Chester, Viv had the radio on, much to my annoyance, I prefer to listen to tango music, to get myself in the mood. The local radio station announced that the A453 was closed, by an accident, on the way to Chester. I know that Sharon needs to pass us on the way, so I immediately phoned her, it was too late, she had already left, and I did not have her mobile number.

Not having any way of knowing if she was caught up in the chaos, we rushed to get out of the house, throwing my laptop into the boot. We took the back route to Chester, which although considerably longer, missed out all the traffic. When we arrived there was no sign of Sharon. I have not been for a couple of weeks, I had no lesson plan, and did not know what was being taught. I put the music on and just asked everyone to practice what they had been learning. Viv and I helped a few of the beginners but things were not going that well, ochos seemed to be the order of the day, so we concentrated on them.

When Sharon finally arrived, she had had time to rethink her class for the night, and decided to do an hour and a half for beginners and intermediates. All praise to her, after being stuck in traffic for two and a half hours, she did a wonderful class. Everyone from the Chester class is now doing ocho cortardos with confidence. Even an old timer like myself learned something new, I have never done the cortardo in the milonga before and quite liked it, I think that will definitely be added to my repertoire.

A final word about teaching: when I dance with someone, I never stop mid floor, and say “you are doing that wrong” if something I do goes wrong, I just addapt my style and try it again. If the lady does not follow at all, I will simply do something else, so imagine my horror when I find a woman doing exactly that to me, stop mid floor and tell me what to do. The same woman has done this twice to me now, and so I broke another of my rules, I walked off the floor. I am not the best dancer in the world, I have never made that assertion, but bad manners on the floor I cannot stand. I won’t dance with her again.

The drive home was interesting, Sharon is unfamiliar with the Chester area, so I said she can follow us home. She had no desire to be caught up in the traffic again, not knowing if it would be clear or not. I think the great traffic god was no on Sharons side, because we ended up stuck behind a tractor. Normally I would have dived past, but the back road is quite twisty and difficult if you do not know it, so I was unsure if Sharon could follow. So Sharon had a nice slow view of Aldford, it would have been better in daylight, but hey it was another mini adventure. We sent Sharon back onto thA483 at Wrexham, shouting at each other out of the windows.

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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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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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