Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Lessons Learned Exploring the Ocho Cortado

I am a very fortunate woman. Always a dancer, I have finally found that dance that I always new was out there…… waiting for me. It is the Argentine Tango. 

It pleases me, entices me, and as I explore it, practicing the basics, I am becoming more balanced, more self-aware and more in love with a new music.  Tonight I was delighted by this Tango in the perfection of the physics of the demands of the walking of it. 

As it happened, a dancer in our group wanted to learn the Ocho Cortado. Properly done this step sequence is a delight to me. This move enables the leader to “show off” the follower - to flaunter her and to delight her with a move that is visually beautiful, and when properly done - in time to the music - an exhilaration to follow. It can be breath taking.

What is most fascinating at this moment, home from class, is that in showing this movement and all aspects of it, I am so impressed with the perfection of the structure of learning this dance. 

The basics of the walk are crucial to dancing his sequence. To be “one footed”,  to be in anticipation as a follower and in confident balance as a leader are critical to the successful completion of the movement.

To be on ones axis or “axe” is critical. To flow and to pivot are necessary. To be able to walk with another so that they may step into your foot steps is vital. 

Wandering off, pulling your partner off balance, anticipating the leader, being reluctant to commit to your step as a follower (all Basics of the dance) are flaws that must be address and rectified. 

I find as a leader that building physical trust with a follower is a wonderful thing. I feel honored, and moved when the follower relaxes in my arms, trusting that I do “have her”, that I will move with her, inviting her, leading her, careful of her so that she does not stumble, fall off balance, dancing so that she is able to “hear” me as we make art together.

To lead the Ocho Cortado and have followers be delighted and surprised was a joy. I could see them feel the challenge and they challenged me back! I danced with three followers and followed one leader tonight. 

Each follower expressed the ocho cortado differently, and this is another piece of the pleasure of an improvisational dance. So we workshopped that movement.  All of us.

It was in the workshopping - isolating the rock step, the parada and checking that side step that we all overcame small frustrations we may have had in not being able to do it “right” the first time. I am sure I will practice and perfect that step for all my days.

We were all open and willing to work it out. Who are we? Just a small group of people who somehow got hooked on the mastery, the Tai Chi, the chemistry of this dance. This class we had two leaders (one male, one female) and three followers. Some of us are dancers to the bone while others are simply fascinated that two people can learn to move as one. 

I am simply she who is trusted to “be in charge.” I collect the floor fee, I pay the rent. I manage the advertising, and the out reach. If there are no visiting teachers some might say I teach.

I feel as if I am always learning. I hope that I continue to be pleasant, kind, and encouraging.  I am very comfortable admitting my mistakes, owning my ignorance, and asking for help.  I am blessed to have had some very fine teachers and hope to meet many more. 

I wish you Tango! 

“Miss Ann”

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