Arlene's London Tango Pages

Taking Classes – Back to Basics

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Most of you know that I am not a great fan of taking classes.  Although I am not a big fan of them, it doesn’t mean that I am down on taking them.  Quite the contrary.  I have taken many classes offered by most of the London teachers.  In fact, if you have been following my Tango story, you will know that when I first started Tango, my obsession knew no boundaries and I went everywhere to learn and dance Tango.

Because of a lot of conflicting advice and various teaching methods and styles,  I ultimately gave up going to regular classes.  The milongas became my classes and my leaders became my teachers.  As with the classes that I had taken, some were good and some not so great, but I always learned something.

In the last couple of years I haven’t been dancing so much for various reasons.  I am ok with that.  However, I lost something with my dance that I hadn’t realised until this past weekend.  I came up to London to see my children and to do some dancing.  I wasn’t planning on taking a class, but I had some time on my hands and I managed to get to the class at Corrientes with Giraldo and Mina.

Taking a class with Giraldo and Mina is not a new thing for me.  I used to take regular classes with them before the milonga when they were at Tavistock Place.  It had been a long time since I had taken a class.  However, it was not that long ago, all being relative, that I was given advice by Giraldo.  Not only did he say what I should do, he also put his hands on me and showed me how to do it.  I can still remember how he did it.  I have had lessons with another teacher that does the same thing.  It is as if they have healing Tango hands.  They can position your body they way it should be and then the body remembers.

The class started with the walk.  How to walk, especially in heels, is difficult in slow motion.  I was tense.  Mina watched me and told me how to relax my feet.  Relax the feet!  Something that should have been so natural, without thinking, was something that I had to consciously focus on.  I put my attention to my feet and relaxed them.  Good, I could do that.  Then Giraldo put his hands on me again.  I wasn’t the only one he did that to. 🙂    God, how much I had forgotten.  After the walk, we worked on ochos.  Slow-motion ochos are difficult in heels.  I have done this exercise before.  It was coming back to me, but I was still out of practice.  That was just the beginning of the class.  The warm-up.  Then came the lesson.  I don’t remember what the sequence was, but I managed to follow, mas o menos.  I was better with my eyes closed.  There were more followers than leaders and I was fortunate to be led by the teachers, both of them.  I learned a lot.  There was nothing tricky, just the basics.  This was my kind of class.  If only all classes could be like this

During the milonga, I was conscious of my placement and relaxing my feet.  I really felt that my dance was better.  I was more relaxed.  I had a great time.  Thanks guys!

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