6 PM Eugene tango class review, 21Jul08

This week in class, we split the time between improving our technique and learning new moves.

Improving technique:

  1. We continued working on stretching up and grounding at the same time (those weird three-person exercises!), so that the solar plexus opens wide.
  2. Hot hands: stand close to your partner and breathe until your axis is stable and you feel energy throughout your body. Then, gently touch one hand to your partner's hand, and try to heat up the space between your palm. This requires that you do not tense muscles between your center and your partner's body. Some people find it helpful to imagine electricity, or fire, or water, or bubbles, or a favorite color, etc. flowing out of the center of the body, into the partner's palm. As soon as you feel the heat build, add the other palms touching. When both are hot, move into tango embrace and keep that same flow of energy to create the connection between the partners.
  3. Look at your hand drill: This is a drill Oscar Mandagaran taught me in 2000 or 2001. In tango embrace, have the follower watch his/her right hand and be the motor that drives a left turn. Use the energy from the last drill, but in a circular shape, and draw a circle of energy around the leader with your embrace. BEFORE YOU GET DIZZY, reverse this to the other side. It is easiest (although strange) to completely reverse the embrace, in order to feel the same thing to the other side. Then, use this information to improve both your embrace and your turns.
  4. Follower turns: Using the ballet barres, we worked on balance, foot placement and arriving on axis with energy. Then, we tried this around a "post" (leader) and then in the dance.
  5. Follower ochos: We worked on keeping ankles together on pivots, using the big toes to push off and make dynamic front cross steps, and arriving on axis.
  6. Leader turns: We had "helpers" keep hips stable while finding how to turn the chest (not from the shoulders ;-)) to start/continue/end a turn. We put this together with the followers to practice strong right and left turns, as well as front ochos at the cross.

Well, OK, I guess we mostly did technique this class. Next class, we'll work on traveling back ochos while polishing what we did this week.

Musicality: I chose to play d'Arienzo this week to beef up the energy. It's hard to keep energy levels up in such a huge room, but you are doing a good job.