Miguel Zotto Workshops 11th to 18th May 2009 and Floorcraft

Miguel Zotto and Daiana Guspero will be back in London in May for a week of workshops with Tango in Action.

I did a few of these last year and thoroughly enjoyed them.  I went for the Intermediate and General Level classes as I just wanted to improve on what I already knew and because I feel it is important to get back to basics every once in awhile.  It was the first time I had ever done a workshop with a famous ‘name’ in Tango and I thought Miguel and Daiana were very down to earth with their teaching.

Regardless, I have to admit that even I was a bit star struck when I managed to partner with Miguel a few times.  I couldn’t help feeling a bit weak at the knees, excited and nervous at the same time.  The man moves like an Angel (isn’t that his middle name?) and got me to do things that the others were only trying to do.  I may have had that Tango moment while only in hold. 🙂

I especially recommend/implore that all men take the class on Saturday 16th May – 2.00 to 3.30 Social Dancing Etiquette: Dancing creatively in a crowded Milonga. Elegant and Stylish moves, which require little space.

I arrived at Negracha at 9:30pm last Friday, which is unusually early for me.  I found the floor crowded with people dancing willy-nilly.  I wondered what was going on and wanted to know why there were so many people there at that time of the evening.  Then I remembered that Stefano and Alexandra had been teaching the class earlier.  They are very popular teachers.

So why the hell didn’t anyone pay any attention to what they taught in the class?!!!

They were teaching floorcraft!  Might as well have gone in one ear and out the other.  In this instance, I blame the men.  I had quite a few people come up to me to tell me about the class and the result was that very few people took any notice of what was said and just did their own thing.  This is one instance where I cannot blame the teachers.  Although there were a few teachers on the dance floor that should really know better – the usual culprits.

I didn’t dance much only because I got bumped in the butt a few times, narrowly missed being sliced by a high voleo, or got sideswiped.  My men had to dance defensively so I opted out.  And yet I still managed to stick around until 2am and have a good time.  Go figure!

In any event, I can wholeheartedly recommend these workshops.  Please find more information listed below and visit www.tangoinaction.com for more information.

The week will culminate on Saturday, 16th May, in a performance by Miguel and Daiana during a special party “Fiesta De Tango” held in a glamorous venue in the heart of Old London, Glaziers Hall (London Bridge), which offers a 2.500 sq ft (230m sq) Ballroom with sprung wooden floor, chandeliers and elegant décor.

On the 18th of May, Miguel will be in London for private lessons.

Take a look at the programme of weekly/weekend classes and details of the party on the web site www.tangoinaction.com and start booking now…


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jantango
    Mar 17, 2009 @ 21:45:40

    Hi Arlene,

    This post popped up in my tag surfer today, and I am compelled to comment.

    I met Miguel Angel Zotto in 1995, so I’m no longer starstruck by him. I have seen him on stage on more occasions than I have seen him dancing socially. One of the reasons that people are dancing “willy-nilly” is that social dancers are being taught stage choreography by performers who rarely dance socially themselves. If you want to learn to be a better social dancer, you have to study with those who go to the milongas. Miguel dances either on an empty stage or an open floor where he has all the space he needs to give a performance. I don’t believe he could survive on the crowded floor at Centro Region Leonesa on a Friday night. Dancers need to learn these skills from those who have experience dancing in very little space without bumping into others.

    As long as the “big names” continue teaching their complicated sequences without any mention of dance floor rules, the milongas of the world will be disasters and dancers will remain confused as to what to do.

    It’s nice that you promote local activities, but it’s strictly for the purpose of making money at the expense of poor social dancing.


  2. Carol
    Mar 17, 2009 @ 22:59:33

    Lucky you – the last time Zotto visited Australia it was for reasons other than to teach or dance tango and though he visited a couple of milongas he only danced rarely – and mostly with piranhas (yes we have them here in Oz).
    As for floorcraft – I notice that some milongas are worse than others for floorcraft and wonder if the shape of the floor could be a contributor. Floors that are very small, abutt a stage or are a funny shape seem to be worse than big rectangles or squares…just a thought.

  3. Arlene
    Mar 18, 2009 @ 07:37:43

    Dear Janis,

    I understand what you are trying to say, however, in the classes that I took with Miguel last year, surprisingly he taught normal salon style classes. Nothing tricky, except for one class that was geared for Tango Fantasia that I didn’t attend. The schedule this year seems to be pretty much the same as last time.

    So I stand by my earlier comment. If you are a regular reader of my blog, or have read my other postings on TangoUK, you will know that I am not a big fan of dancing large and do not generally promote those that do. In fact, I usually try to be neutral in my comments about the teachers on the whole.

    What was great about the classes with Miguel and Daiana, we had show dancers teaching salon style dancing. They were very particular about hold and musicality. They spent a great deal of time assisting the students. I highly recommend taking the classes. They are great value for money compared to some of the other big ‘names’ that come to town.

    That’s it from me.

  4. tangobob
    Mar 20, 2009 @ 23:34:48

    The only way to get rid of the flash dancers is to insist on, no fantasia and stick to the line of dance. In our area there is a growing movement to keep tango simple. All the high voleos and ganchos are gradually being side lined.
    Tango is still fairly new up here so we do not have ingrained faults, maybe one day Londoners will come to us and not the other way around.

  5. yunki
    Mar 22, 2009 @ 11:58:00

    Here’s an interesting post about Miguel Zotto that’s worth reading –

    This seems consistent with what Arlene is suggesting in her posts and comments.

  6. Game Cat
    Mar 23, 2009 @ 09:53:14

    I took a small number of classes with Miguel last year he was in London (probably the same ones Arlene mentioned), and I agree he taught basic salon. In fact, for one class all we did was walk and salida. I still do the salida the way he taught it, because it is the best way that has worked for me.

    On another note, the salida is actually really tricky to lead well – I don’t understand why it is often taught so early on in beginner classes. Thoughts welcome.

    Carol – I think the dimensions of the floor do have an influence. There is a venue in Sheffield called the Octogan (for obvious reasons). I recall things flowed pretty smoothly….the only issue was it disoriented leaders as we could not get our bearings on where we started and where we ended up. Felt like goldfish in a bowl!

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