Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Technique Classes.

A few weeks back, I went to my first-ever Dance Class proper. As I am constantly reminded by my teacher when she complains about my technique, I began this whole process backwards, by stumbling onto a pre-milonga dance class. Being a cheap jerk, I decided that to get my money's worth I was damn well going to stay the whole night. Danced all night, messed up a lot, figured it out.

My tango MO seems to have been set that first night: mess up a lot, figure it out.

This has been good in a lot of respects, but my technique has suffered, since I learn a move through the "don't fall down" method rather than any sort of, you know...learning.

(Someone was very nice once and said that's how it used to be in the brothels of Buenos Aires when the women came from outside the city and had to learn by doing. There is no response for this, because I had no idea what she was even trying to tell me except that maybe I should watch how low my necklines are.)

So I find myself in my first real dance class, intermediate level vals and milonga. Sounds good; I'm better at milonga than anything else, since balance there is constantly shifting rather than standing swanlike on a four-inch stiletto, and I could definitely stand to learn a little more about vals.

It was a disappointment. There was not a single milonga traspie step in the class - in fact, I should say that the single step we did learn was not traspie, since the leaders never mastered the first step and so we had to stay on it the whole class. It was slightly faster tango, not milonga, and even worse, it was a move I knew - back ochos into a molinete with sacada - so I couldn't even summon any sympathy for the leaders, because it was something an intermediate leader should be able to do. (Hell, I've been leading three weeks and I can take a woman from ochos to a milonete. The close isn't pretty, but I can do it.)

The teacher got increasingly frustrated; at one point, he nearly sent a guy out of the room, saying, "This is an intermediate class. You should be proficient at the beginner level." The guy stayed, but he sat down after that, and I had been so frustrated having him as my partner that I didn't feel any sympathy for him.

Example: at the start of class, when told to begin the ochos after the cross, he raised his hand and asked, "And what's the cross?"

Yeah. No pity for that guy.

I am a terrible student. I refuse to do a move if it isn't noticeably led, so twice I got partners who didn't know how to begin the sacada. I did molinetes and then just hung out while they toed the ground in various places near the geographic region my foot could theoretically occupy. Good times!

Two hours later, I knew how to do three-quarters of a tango move.

Go me?


Tangospeak said...

I do that too, I will not budge until the leader actually leads the way. They are really bad at that in class because they assume that you are going to copy the steps the teachers showed you and thus don't need them to lead anything. I've pissed off a couple of class partners that way but at least my point was made.

La Planchadora said...

I totally refuse. I don't learn, they don't learn. Makes no sense just to go.