Monday, October 24, 2016

Learning to Lead Argentine Tango • The journey continues!

I was able to travel to the University of Florida for their free Argentine Tango classes this Sunday. The beginners lesson was from 6:15 - 7:15 and the Intermediate class was from 7:15 - 8:15. It was well attended based on my experience. I suppose there were at least 20 students and an almost equal number of leaders & followers. 

I will always take a beginners class as there is always a new insight, a new way of understanding the dance, another teachers skill and formatting help me share the dance as well.  There are always new dancers to partner, and in so a new world of understanding with every dance in every class.

I enjoy dancing with beginners (I still consider myself to be one.) If I am able to lead a dancer who has had only two weeks of class successfully through a song, then I feel as if I really am improving as a leader.
Same gender dancing seems effortless on a college campus and I am very grateful for that. In my town there is still some resistance same gender dancing, but if you love the dance, the gender of your partner is not an issue. 
If you are in Jacksonville, Florida and would like to come out workshop with us, you are invited. We dance every Tuesday evening from 8:00 to 9:00 PM at 5049 Normandy Blvd in the 32205 zip code. 

I do not know the name of the instructor who offered the class this week, but I have had a lesson or two from her before. She has always provided me a valuable insights.

I like her style of teaching very much. She is straight forward and teaches the principle of movement, then we practise that principle with a partner. Next there is a rotation of partners, a new principle and more practise. 

I am now studying to lead. I have trained four years to follow. I did bring my “girl shoes” just in case there was a shortage of followers. However, no. Leaders were needed and all the students there were very gracious about having a dance with me. 

I was very glad at class end that the instructor offered me an observation. (Had I any sense I would have asked for more observations, and perhaps a Tango!!!)  

Her suggestion was that my lead not as grounded as it could be. She notice that I seemed to lead from the upper body (true) and that if I were more “into the floor” she felt that I would do much better. 

We had a short chat about grounding. She shared her observations of Argentina, people, culture and Tango to put her comments in perspective. I really look forward to applying them on Tuesday when we have our next practica. 

I believe that this grounding, the developing my relationship to the floor, of being more present, more mindfully connected to the floor as the foundation of movement, I will be able to transfer more energy to my partner and in so doing provide a more clear lead to take perhaps a back step. 

I was also happy to get another perspective on unwinding or “uncrossing” a partner from the crossed position. I asked a question about that process as a follower. When led to the cross I do not automatically transfer my weight from by right to my left foot. I wait for the lead to that transition and the follow the next invitation. 

There are some “spicy” steps that can happen in the crossed position as well as many options for the leader to invite the follower to make some dazzlingly easy patterns.  Yes, I leaned many a tip! I won’t bother to post them all. However as a leader I came to realize that following through - all the way through - after leading a step is very important. 

This concludes my Argentine Tango blog for today.

See you on the dance floor?