This weekend I took some world class tango lessons. Jenny Frances and Ricardo Oria were the guest teachers at the Tango UK Tango Tangk and they were AMAZING! Jenny and Ricardo are lovely people, breathtaking dancers and inspiring teachers. They work as a team in the group classes to break down and then rebuild the sequence they are teaching. By the time I was dancing the sequence in full, I completely understood what I was doing. It was like magic! And it was great to have both the male and female perspective explained. Jenny and Ricardo made the classes relaxed and fun. There was alot of laughter as well as hard work. I found myself able to dance beautiful sequences with confidence. I loved every minute except for one…
At about 4.30pm during the second workshop on Saturday I felt an intense pain arrive and remain in the arch of my left foot! Alas I had to sit out accompanied by freeze spray, Ibuprofen rub and bandages for support! I couldn’t dance at all on Saturday night and my spirits plunged.
But then Jenny and Ricardo performed for us. I was mesmerised. I have never seen tango danced live with such intimacy and passion. I wanted the dance to continue forever. As I sat watching, I determined that my foot would recover. I would have my scheduled private lesson with Pastor Jurado on Sunday and I would enjoy the remaining group workshops. The will is a powerful tool. On Sunday, with freeze spray and bandages to hand I was back in action. Jenny suggested I dance in my flat shoes with socks over the top. It worked – no pain!
My lesson with Pastor was a revelation. We worked on three things:
- Energy and connection in the chest, tilting forward from the feet. I learned to give more energy through my chest while keeping my stomach taut so that I could feel every lead in the closed embrace. If I ever backed off even a millimetre he whispered ‘Push’ or ‘I’ve lost you’ and I knew it. As long as I gave my energy in to meet his there was NO DOUBT what he was asking me to follow. More magic!
- Extension of the leg from the hip but placing the heels DOWN everytime. Much greater stability in every move. I felt rock solid.
- Relaxing the right arm but maintaining the position of the hands in the central line of the embrace. I learned to push back slightly into the leader’s hand if he is pushing into my hand to maintain that line but otherwise I must RELAX that arm.
I am fully aware that these are all things that Eduardo has taught me. He is a great teacher. I hope though that hearing it all from someone else has forced the penny to drop. The hardest one for me is the right arm. I tense it all the time. Pastor and Eduardo have made me dance without using it at all and maybe this is something I need to practice until my brain and muscles finally get the message!
As we danced, Pastor let me into many secrets of the Buenos Aires Milongas, the etiquette and unspoken codes that a single girl in the city needs to know. My eyes were certainly opened, so more of those in a future post… The fantastic news is that he is going to be in BA while I am there and we have exchanged details. What a ‘kick ass’ time we could have if we meet up. It might mean I actually get a dance or two with an Argentine…
As a follow up to an earlier post on this blog, I have more fantastic pictures that Shevki took at the Coco Rio Argentine Tango night. There are even some of me and my dream dance partner of Hampshire dancing a tango for our friends. Enjoy!