Monday, March 10, 2008

Atlanta Tango Weekend :: Part I

This past Saturday morning, I decided to get the hell of out Dodge and head to Atlanta for some tango. I also reasoned that it would be good for me to max out my dancing prior to the upcoming Atlanta Tango Social/Festival.

I did Ilya’s class first – which was billed as an intermediate class – but was more of a beginner level class. Which was fine. I am a firm believer in going back to the basics – tweakage you might say. It’s good to refine/define technique – clean up any bad habits. It’s also good to check out the various teachers – style/form/content/approach/personality – that kinda thing. The class focused on some technique/balance exercises first, then went into the check step in depth. My only issue was being (wo)man handled by a follower jerking/forcing me into her preferred embrace position. Besides that, the class was good – good material – gender balanced too, which is rare. Oh, and I almost forgot about the beautiful older woman – very new – her first class I think – very sweet and tiny lady.

It reminds me of another class I did a few weeks ago – again a beginner class that I was taking from the teaching aspect. At the risk of being politically incorrect or even crass, there was a “little old lady” at this class too. I ended up dancing a lot with her. She was in her late 70’s or early 80’s, slight, but not frail. When we finally got to the point of walking fairly well, she was beaming with a big smile on her face. It seemed as though she was remembering the days when dancing was more common here – the 1950’s and earlier I suppose. Especially the 30’s and 40’s – the “Big Band” era I suppose.

Anyway, her expressions and posture made me think of that time, that memories were coming back to her. She was a beautiful woman. I notice that a lot. Older women who you can tell were very beautiful in their youth. The wrinkles and age are there now – but their beauty is still there – the structure and the eyes never change – and the smile. It was nice dancing with her.

Next I moved on to Barbara & Angel’s “Intensive Close Embrace” workshop. Good stuff and good teaching. I’ve taken some of Barbara’s classes before at festivals (with Robert Hauk – who is hilarious by the way). It’s nice to take a class and get some good dancing in – connected dancing – there were definitely some cutie pies there. The level of dancers was higher here – true intermediate level – with no problems or real issues (at least the followers). Tweakage.

It’s been a while since I’ve danced (followed) close embrace with another guy. I had a teacher a while back who was a damn good follower – but I was leading him. Maybe I’ve never danced close embrace with another man...? Hmmm... Because this class was leader heavy – by four or five leads – I ended up following twice. It was a syncopated counter clockwise turn – molinete type of thing. I think I did pretty good. The first guy could lead it pretty well – clear lead. The second one was less clear – I wasn’t getting the back step – it should have been a back step for me as the follower, but I was getting a forward cross signal.

A couple of times I cheated in the rotation. Not really cheated, but just ended up where I wanted to end up in the LOD – on purpose - so that I would end up with the desired follower when the leaders would rotate. Is that cheating? Hogging? This one follower in particular – mmmm mmm mm. Goodness gracious. She felt good. She looked good. Some women just know how to surrender themselves. She was nervous in my embrace at first. I tried to calm her by breathing deeply and holding her close. Not tight, just close…just holding her in my arms. Hoo boy...boy howdy... just thinking about her in my arms is making me all wispy.

Anyway, it was a very good class – one of the better, more productive as far as technique – and, as my buddy back in Aspen says – “a target rich environment”. Not that women are “targets” – but it’s just our way of communicating (in stupid high school code language) that there is a high proportion of tango babes – potrancas. Followers who know how to follow and feel good doing it.

Stay tuned for Part II...

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