About a year ago, I was finally graduating from just taking a group class to also attending a practica. I moved from learning tango to trying to practice it, be social about it, actually dance it. I didn’t know anything about colgadas, volcadas, ganchos, boleos … I didn’t even feel comfortable in close embrace. It’s amazing to think back to that point and consider how far I have come in the last year. How different my life is because of tango. I wouldn’t give up a moment of it.
Early last fall I attended my first workshops with visiting instructors. I remember a few things clearly – the idea that the follower needs to project energy into her leader, the “woosh” feeling of release that grounds me, the projection of personality and communication into the dance to avoid being a follower-robot. (Thank you, Sean and Charity!)
Later in the fall, I attended another set of workshops. I fell head over heels for Michelle’s style of movement, for the way that she and Murat play with the music, for their approach to teaching. I took some of their classes, but looking back I see that I understood more of the connections to modern dance than the tango that they were teaching. There was a point when something clicked and my tango skills spiked, but not until later.
I just had an opportunity to take more workshops with Murat and Michelle. I love their focus on really using the fundamentals. They rely on exercising the fundamentals and using those exercises to make more difficult things happen. I realized that a good number of the things that Michelle does in the various videos online – the videos that sometimes get reactions of “Nice, but too many embellishments” – are completely led, not embellished at all. We also had a nice discussion about moving your hips that made me feel better. (I love moving my hips as I dance, but I have been reprimanded for it from time to time. I now have a better sense for “good” v. “bad” hippiness.) Anyway, these were very successful workshops from my perspective – I’m pleased with how much more I could get from them this time around, how far I have come (and how much farther I could go).