Saturday, March 26, 2011

Training Week 21/3

This week was for musicality studies

I worked on the new rhythms from a DJ friend
Waltz: 123 123 123 123  = 123456 123456 and the steps go 1 3 5 1 4, 1 3 5 1 4
Tango: 1234 1234 = 12345678 and the steps go 1 4 7 1 4 7
Tango: 1234 1234 1234 ..... and steps go 1 3 1 3 1 3 12 4 2 41 3 1 3 12 4 2 41......

I still must listen to his counting but more and more I start to hear the music in the background and can start soon to step on it instead of counting. I walk at home twice these short clips (together 10 min) per day and listen some more at buss on the way to office. It seems I need oceans of time to learn this!

It is the second week for repetition of the lesson 13; 
Milonga in Amenabars book.
Constructed a mind map for the chapter and walked the 3 different rhythmic possibilities when at home. On buss I listen all the audio sections for the chapter to get used to the patterns.

I continue to spend time on Bachia Blanca
Listening on and on for long periods – trying to understand phrases 3,4. I still struggle with exact ends of phrases … or …. exact start of an phrase. There is often lot of things happening in the end of an phrase and maybe therefore it is easier for me to spot the start. I find it strange but to understand where a new start is seems easier for my brain! To separate the different parts of tango is ok now.

When walking outdoors I keep feet's on steady basic steps and listen what is happening outside that frame.
I have watched two videos to understand how teachers do choose their steps and create overall atmosphere for this tango.( Chicho and Juana, Pablo and Noelia )

Next week will be about the same
I just change the Amenabar lesson to Capter 9, Form and Structure of Tango.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Breathtaking moments in dance!

I have had some breathtaking moments when dancing with a man but not with all men and not all the time. I have also had one breathtaking moment in my ballet class when working individually - pure music/movement, dance experience.

To me a dance with a woman is a shared dance experience and can be breathtaking as such!


Exploring the rules for a couple

It seems to be an important social construction to have a male/female mix in a dance couple and to have the one with the male attributes in the leading position.

I have been thinking about the exceptions when trying to understand what is included in these rules.

  • In my teens it was accepted that young girls were dancing together at big Saturday night dances when they were learning the steps and getting used to dance flow.
  • At that time adult women could dance together only if the music was fast. Never the slow ones.
  • In family gatherings we ladies were dancing together freely!
  • It is only in Argentinian tango I have seen men dancing together in west. I have one experience in China 1987 when I and my traveling partner ended up at a 1st of October celebration. There was several male couples dancing waltz but I could not spot any female couples.
  • In many texts the mix of masculine and feminine energy in a couple is referred to. I do not understand the meaning of these two concepts yet. They are easily  understood as sexual energy but there must be something else too. Otherwise we could not accept couples where father/daughter, mother/son or brother/sister are dancing together - all grownups.
  • I always accept if a man asks for a dance as a follower. I think they have the hardest time the get a dance. We have here the right mix but in wrong positions!
  • One of our most handsome leaders is gay, sharing his life with another man. How are the energies when he is dancing with a woman? It looks great and is totally accepted combination. But to get the energy mix correct he should maybe dance with another man?

Learning situation seems to be the most open and you are even encouraged to test and learn the opposite position.
Intimacy is something for mixed couples but if the music is fast there is more playful steps and you can control the intimacy level. Within family too.
Formal situations can tolerate more. In several youtube performances I have seen the change of leader and follower taking the leading position. There is several male couples performing.
Age I think young ones and gray haired are allowed more freedom here.
Cultural preferences The rules are not in genes!

When I saw several role switches turn up in different youtube clip I got a feeling of a change in the air. We will se how it is going!

This is NOT ladies leading but ladies taking leading position!

You find Marta and Manolo shifting abrazo at 0.26

Claudia and Esteban changed the abrazo at 2.00

Nora and Juan Carlos does it several times during a milonga!

Helena and Alejandro do not shift  ;)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Searching for Improvisando

When I started to lead my main interest was the dynamic of the movements and fast steps forward. It was a true enjoyment and we were laughing a lot! It was also a dance on surface, on everyday level were we could in between the steps tell what has happened during the day.

Today I am more interested to find ways to create a quiet dance where our bodies are resting together carried by our feet's in small steps. Christine Dennistons book makes it even more interesting!

She explains there the highly appreciated state of meditative dance - Improvisando: When dancers who danced in the Golden Age talked about improvisation, they were referring to a higher level – the ultimate level of Tango to which they all aspired.This was the level where not only the follower but also the leader accessed the active meditative state, abandoning the self into the other, when a new creature was created with one heart leading all four feet, and being led by the music.

Followers have a remarkable advantage here! Followers get there first!
When they have an opportunity to relax, focus the attention to music and let their body move, they are nearly there.

I understand there is quite a lot of training needed for both to reach a technical level where steps are taken effortless and in flow to all directions. I think the music must also be suitable. Strong enough to move the bodies but not waking them up. Interesting so the brain can rest there.

For me the road is longer. According to Denniston the first step is to get the follower to the meditative state. Then I need a pista where dancers are moving regularly so I know my space and can trust that the space before me is not attacked by another couple. I need the cooperation of other leaders and I need to behave myself.

I have not been there but started to dream of it!               

                                                                  (...some kind of step forward...)

Chistine Denniston
the meaning of TANGO
The Story of the Argentinian Dance
p. 49-50

PS. Some driving friends have told me about the schock when they noticed they are at home but they have not an idea how they did drive the distance from startpoint. Some kind of active meditative state. It seems thou the Improvisando is a more memorable moment!