Vals musicality workshop (Salem tango)

Good work lastnight, folks!

Last night, we began class with a variation on Luciana Valle's drill that I call "Bim bam" (from the noises she uses for syncopation). There are several different ways to use the music:

  • 1 2 3 1 2 3--move on count 1 of each measure
  • 1 2 3 1 2 3--moving on counts 1 and 3 of the measure for a SLOW quick SLOW quick
  • 1 2 3 1 2 3 --moving on counts  1 and 2 of the measure for a QUICK slow QUICK slow feeling 
  • 1 2 3 1 2 3--moving on counts 1, 2 and 3 (please use this sparingly!) for QUICK QUICK QUICK slow
  • using pauses (remember to begin on count 1 after a pause!)

Using those ideas, we did:

  • the Blob: interacting with your group to make a "melody" of syncopation (think scat singing!)
  • Backseat driver: leading your partner around, getting the hang of combining all the possibilities, without stepping on toes
  • Dancing: here we go!

As you discovered, more people have trouble finding the 12.12. variation. However, by the end of the evening, some of you had it nicely!

Teaching (not so-) old dogs new tricks:
We then worked on variations of timing in steps that we already do; going to the cross and turns, in particular.

Turns: Using either counts 1 and 3, or counts 1 and 2, for the QUICK QUICK steps in the turn. In addition, you can slow everything down to using only count 1 per step, or speed up to all quicks, although your follower may not like you after that!

Going to the cross: The only way I can remember these when I am trying to do a bunch of different variations, is to sing them to myself. When I dance, I just do what feels right, but I may not be able to tell you which variation I did.

  • MAYBE yes cross (in 1 2 3 1) timing
  • MAYBE yes cross (in 1 2 3 1) timing
  • maybe YES CROSS walk (in 1 2 3 1) timing
  • maybe YES CROSS walk (in 1 2 3 1) timing
  • Of course, all slows (1 2 3 1 2 3) timing is a nice standby

Rock steps: You can use all the timings in rock steps as well, either in place or to change direction. We played with these in the rock step turns that we learned a few weeks ago.

There are TONS more places to play with rhythm, and we'll learn some new moves next week for milonga, as well as in the new session in September, that you will be able to apply to vals as well.

Musicality: We mostly danced to Canaro's valses for this class. However, different orchestras have different flavors of vals. I like Tanturi, d'Arienzo, Biagi (hard but fun) and Laurenz as well, and recently have started to learn Lomuto and Donato's music.

Listen to a piece of music: what does it suggest that you do? Which syncopations are evident in the song? Do you want to play along and mirror those? Do you want to create a counterpoint of your own rhythms? Try different things!

See you next week for milonga!