Saturday, May 21, 2011

No thoughts for follower feets

When I am going to sit down I occasionally fall the last bit. Do you also know the feeling?

This mistake of my automatic calculator for distances reveals how much experience is loaded and used for all these everyday movements. I just decide to go somewhere and my body is analyzing the surroundings and adapting my movements along the way. I never could do this with total awareness of every detail and when my walking is proceeding as planned even the feedback impulses are blocked out from my awareness.

One year ago the technically (my opinion) best teacher told me that it was time to forget the followers feet and start to place her. I didn't understand so much about that but during these months I have noticed some changes in my thinking.

I don't feel the individual steps anymore but there is some kind of light awareness so I know that the step has been taken. It is partly a follower skill to take this kind of silent steps but I think I have stopped to report some signals to my awareness too. Just like when walking ....

I have even a strange feeling of that followers do not have legs at all! In the same time followers tell me how easily, without hesitation their feet find the way now and how her body is floating in music during our dance.

I think this is not a single skill. I think a bunch of skills must reach a required level and then you are mature for a new way to lead.

Hats off for a skilled teacher knowing the signs!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May God save the leader who's not knowing better....

Dear leader friend when you see a bored or frustrated follower don't feel pity for her and do not, not even in your thoughts plan to rescue her!   Read this and be strong!

This experience hit me just after midnight as black surprices use to do. Some steps in the second song she whispered in my ear: Try me!

                                        ...... warning......

I tried to press my tired body to volgadas and some extra ganchos but I understood it wasn't enough. Shiiiiiit! During the last song she then got mad and exploded in activity. I could not see anything of the happenings in front of me, but just felt the pulling and pushing on my arms. When the situation was calm again I found her clinging on my left hip while I was turning aimlessly around my axis as a wheel after an accident.

When in Berlin my leader friend found a lady sitting with her elbow on the table and resting her chin on the palm.

                                         ...... warning.....

He is tall, quite strong and had never had problems before! But she got mad from the beginning..... CANCHOS en mass and then BOLEOS of all kinds with stilettos out. No leading needed there! He consentrated to save the surroundings, placing her towards the corners and leading fast steps to the next corner. He is a gentleman and danced the tanda but he was resting at the bar the following two!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Musicality Book Club, (10)

In the last chapter (10) Mathieu summarizes his goals for his book in this way: "My primary purpose in this bok has been to point out a more direct path to clear listening. This has been motivated partly by my pleasure in sharing aural delight .... Another purpose has been to point out how sound in general and music in particular connect humans to humans and humanity to the cosmos." (p. 245)

He presents music in roles I never had thought before: Music as Body, as Mind, as Heart. Above this his explanations were always deviated from the ordinary thinking. When I tried to follow his reasoning I started to think my university friends. When they were studying theoretical physics one or two of the exam items were impossibly to solve; this forced them to think as far as they could and professor got an idea about students' level of knowledge and creativity.

This book attracted me to a similar effort and I must say that it has been intellectually rewarding; very rewarding!

Here you can hear when W.A. Mathieu improvises at his home studio. Impromptu No. 1

Monday, May 9, 2011

Musicality Book Club, (9)

The enlightened Listener

A musician trains his or her entire life to never not listen. - says Mathieu here (p.211) and on some other pages. To repeat and to phrase in this way shows how important this idea is for him - he avoids the easy way "always listens " to express it. This wording made me to think about it longer but there may be more to find. Can you see something more in this wording?

This training is not easy - True practice - when your listening is focused and your musical memory is awake - addresses the challenge of rewiring, or newly wiring, the brain. ... really learning them [sounds] until they live comfortably in you - is for the most of us very hard work. Even the most loving teachers often have to be tough cops and insist that students do their inner of work of hearing. (p. 240)

Somehow I had imagined that a musician is developing quietly, learning new things and changing accordingly. I was not aware of how the inner process is forcing her to change, against her will, fear or resistance.

Mathieu asks the reader to push her limits of concentration and do it repeatedly. After a series of these exercises her earlier music gets 'amazing transparency'.

There is also difficulties and dangers with all this music surrounding us today. To explain his standpoint he asks me to think about the music as kissing and hugging. (p.226) When I am taking a walk all unknowns are coming and just hugging me and I am supposed to accept and appreciate it. At a restaurant someone is kissing and hugging me continuously, yes sophisticated, but I can not ask him to go away. I just can ask the waiter to keep it at an appropriate level!

This music hugging us everywhere has given his ears a kind of chronic exhaustion, like aural jet lag. He uses the recorded music with great care, chooses acoustic music when there is a choice and he retreats to silence whenever he can.

Despite of all this he accepts the situation - as a characteristic of human life here on this planet at this time. (p. 227) He is also generous and open minded about the quality of the music for inner training ... any music in any style. There is no best music.

Here you can read what Joy-in-motin appreciated in this chapter. She is the intiator of this BookClub.

Leaders resources - should I feel quilty?

We have a small training team of four people; two lady followers, one male leader and me. 

We leaders provide nearly all the resources; cameras, projectors, music, training plan, training studio hours and so on. We two leaders are quite equal there. Followers make sandwiches and clean after the coffe. They feel that the sandwiches is their part of the resources and when they are cleaning we leaders prepare technique for the next training session.

When asked what we should work on followers say: Everything!
Leaders: We have a list or some videos as suggestions.

Earlier I have tried to share the work by asking my follower to film the course summary from another angle but she forgot her camera, the battery was empty or the memory card full. Now I speak to another leader to get a copy! (She actually had the resource but did not want to use it)

In the beginning I was quite upset and disturbed about all this, especially about the cleaning part. Today I/we just put up some pressure on the ladies to break down their Everything! to workable sections.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Do you hate FIGURE guys?

For many people the large movements following the most significant features in music is the only way to start dancing. It is like learning to read was for me - I was presented capital letters or words with LARGE ordinary letters. Little by little I learned to read different sizes, types of letters - even the small ones and started to forget the letters and consentrate on the MEANING these letters were mediating.

I started as a nuevotype of leader. My primary source of joy was large movements and fast moving forward. Most of the information was visual and I could only recognize relatively large changes. My focus was external but only up to my partner - then I got capacity problem!

During the following years I learned to regulate my movements - I got small steps when I planned and long ones when needed. I learned to lead all this stuff with different followers and life got easier. I started to see and appreciate smaller movements.

When the production of movements did not take that much of my capacity anymore I started to listen to music when dancing (!) as well as to my inner reactions. That time I noticed that a movements effect in my body can be as deeply joyful as a corresponding effect of music. When a follower is taking her step and clearly rising on her standing leg, the moment she reaches her highest position can be totally beautiful! It is not visuell, not auditive but a kinaesthetic experience!

Today my primary source of joy are small, precise movements and if they match perfectly the music, enormous joy is exploding inside me - So great that it can break down a dance and we stop to shake hands! When learning a new figure I need to dance with the teacher to get the movement right. On certain level there is not much visual signs but kinaesthetic needs to be tuned in.

It seems to me that the change of my dance is based on change in control of movements and on development of for me new sense - kinaesthetic. The work on musicality is there also!

There will always be people who just love the large steps and fast giros. We have them with us and we need to learn to cope with it!

But the others? Could it be that there is a common path the most people are walking in their tangolives? Starting with large and growing to smaller? If so how could we facilitate that development?