Bring out your lion

2009 October 12
by Simba
Lion Love by digitalART2, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License by  digitalART2

How could Simba not like a workshop that started by working with bringing out your inner lion? Not the little cute one, but the grown up, strong one?

The day started rather low, though. –I am not feeling well, and I had been looking forward to this for so long. La princesa went straight back to bed and needed to stay there, it seemed. I was taking our little guy to his arts class, and she would go to the women’s technique class with Graciela. At least that was the plan. So while she almost fainted on the couch, Simba and his son prepared themselves for a little time witout her and took off. It turned out that a couple of tractors were way more interesting to investigate than the paint the teacher made ready, but nevermind. Just before the class was over, La princesa is on the phone. –I left my keys with you, can I just leave the door open?

Good thing she went, she looks very refreshed as she strides down the stairs when we join her just as the next class is about to start, and most of the women have already left. After handing over the little one, Simba enters as one of the very last, and gets to dance with the organizer. Following. No use telling her he hasn’t been dancing for about 16 months and follows like… Well, truth to be told, he doesn’t really follow at all. This is going to be a tough one, he thinks to himself. Another clueless dancer among the rest…

Never mind that, just take in what Graciela has to say. Bringing out the lions (and lionesses for the women) is all good. Quoting Gavito even more so. I had expected more drills, but the exercises are quite good, working a lot on posture and intention, how to start the dance even before starting. I won’t try listing all the details, there was little new, but all very useful and well presented. I think the only negative thing about the workshop is something inherent in basically all technique workshops where men and women work separated. It is hard to work on new concepts when your partner basically don’t know how to do their part. Changing roles is of course very useful, and that is what comes with it, but at times I felt I was working more on my women’s technique. Not that improving my following skills would be a waste of time.

Day two started difficult for us as well. I think we spent about four hours eating breakfast. In Buenos Aires we once put on the alarm clock, yet had trouble not coming late to a class that started 15:30, but that was because we stayed up all night dancing the night before. 1300 should be possible when you get up before 06:00… But this time it was the youngest in our family who was a bit out of sorts, and refused to go to sleep when he was supposed to and definitely needed to.

The topics were Estilo Villa Urquiza and Milonga. Steps from the great masters Pupi Castello, Lampazo, Petroleo and ‘El Turco’ José in the first, Pepito Avellaneda in the second. Many of the combinations/steps in the first we did with los Disparis a couple of years ago, but had mostly forgotten, and it was all good material. Graciela was very attentive and corrected things that I kind of knew about already, and it was a good time to have someone give some feedback after not dancing for a long while. The little guy that didn’t want to sleep was sitting on the back of La Princesa in a mei tai, and fell asleep after a while. It made the dancing a little more difficult for both of us, so we avoided changing partners, and I believe the others attending did not mind.

The milonga class was more new stuff, and she covered a lot of material during the class. We wanted a little different perspective to add to our milonga, so it was just what we were looking for. It is hard to emulate the groundedness that comes with a body like Pepito’s but one can always try. At one point Graciela told Simba and La Princesa to demonstrate the embrace. –See how she stands with the baby on her back? This is exactly how your posture should be. The baby makes her do it. You should all bring a baby next time!

A great success it was. We had a good time, and the organizer took wonderfully well care of us, very sweet she was. Our friends that beat us to the open air tango went to their beginners’ class the same weekend, and the ladies exchanged their thoughts on how things went with the small assistants in a late night chat session. Our friends felt a little like robots, they said, but could see that this was something they could find with time. La Princesa wrote back that our viejo amor de tango was blooming. It was good to be back.

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