Sunday, March 02, 2008

One whole extra day of dancing!! Leap Year!!

This weekend has so far been a crazy one. We went to New Haven for the Leap Milonga, which was fun. Yale is always a great place to go visit friends and dance. Unfortunately, a few hours into it, I started to feel unwell - crampy tummy, headache - and Sorin and I decided that we would drive back instead of crash with friends who had so generously offered to put us up for the night. We were all disappointed that we would leave, but if I was ill, I did not want to either make other ill, or be ill in someone's home (I hate to make other's have to deal with that). So even though the snow was falling outside, we said our goodbyes and hit the road.

Poor Sorin! He did all of the driving, and it was less than fun. Snowy, slushy, unplowed roads. What should have taken a little over 2 hours took almost 3 and that last half hour was torture for him as he was exhausted. But we made it and collapsed into bed. Not to rise until well past noon Saturday. Still feeling not quite myself, we thought about the day and what to do. I had a dye project looming, but there were workshops that MIT was sponsoring with Korey and Mila that we thought would be good to go to as we were now going to be in Boston for the weekend. So we decided to attend their workshop on single axis turns. So I prepped my dye project (pictures coming soon!!! It's "curing" as I type!) and then off to the workshop we went. And I am so glad that we did! I had never taken any instruction on single axis turns outside of practica setting, so it was great to start from the very foundation of what one needs to do in this movement and progress to various types of single axis turns. And even though this was titled as an advanced class, it was structured and taught so that everyone learned the good foundation of this movement
and was challenged on various levels. I really liked Korey and Mila's teaching style, and I hope MIT sponsors them to come back again soon. They taught ideas and concepts that lead you to discovery, and in such a way that was fun and challenging. It was a good workshop.

Later last night we went to the milonga and had a pretty good time. I was still feeling out of sorts, but I knew it was nothing contagious and after a few advil, I felt better. Had some lovely dances with some favorites, in particular was a tanda of Brazilian milonga (who knew?!?) that was a blast to dance with my favorite milonguero leader, whom I always look for when a milonga tanda comes on.

I did realize that I have to work on tension in my right arm. I tend to tense that arm when I feel tension from my partner, which causes a domino effect and my arm is sore by the end of one song. With some leaders I do not have this issue, and with others it is very present. I try to relax my muscles as soon as I realize I am doing this, but I am sure it is as problematic for the leader as it is for me. If anyone knows of a way or trick to keep your arm loose and relaxed regardless of your partner's arm, let me know! I have tried keeping my arm "rising" where I have the energy going up instead of down into my partner's hand, but that is almost as exhausting as the tension.

Anyway, at the end of the night I was thrilled when Korey asked me to dance. He has such an amazing embrace and beautiful lead, it was just lovely. And he did a single axis turn with me that he taught in class that is a 720 degree turn that he says has the "Wheeee!" factor, and let me tell you, it does!!! I was laughing as we came out of it! It was a great way to end the night. Korey also gave me some great ideas for tango clothing for men, we chatted about tango fashion and clothes earlier in the evening, and I am going to make sure to give him credit if I incorporate some of his ideas in with mine. :-)

Today there are more workshops with Korey and Mila, and we are on the fence between those and practica... what to do??? But right now I have a dye project that needs my attention. For those who know dye processes, I am using resists on cotton lawn fabric to create a stained glass effect. Once it is dried and cured, I will post the result. I am so loving grad school!!! :-)


David said...

Hi Debbie,

Yes, Korey and Mila are very good teachers and I like the way they manage to include things in their classes to occupy both the leaders and followers. So many classes seem to be centered on just the leader. They also seem good at including material for both beginners and more advanced students in mixed level classes. I always try to get to one of their workshops when they come over to the UK.

On the topic of tension in the arms, I also tend to pick up tension from my partner. I think it's all to do with mirroring what your partner is doing. If I find my partner's right arm is tense I often bring it in, close to my chest/left shoulder and this seems to help a lot. That's difficult to do as a follower, but maybe you can suggest to the leader that it might be a better position for you as your arm is feeling tired.

Tension on the closed side of the embrace is more difficult to release. I usually have to rely on deliberately relaxing my arm and on breathing.


Anonymous said...

About the arm: always keep in mind that if you want to have a good frame you should consider your arms and extension of your torso; because of this you should never relax your right shoulder too much, since you need to be somewhat solid to understand leads better from that side. Also think of holding the weight of your own arm, and whenever you practice walking or whatever, do it with the right arm up as if you were dancing with someone. With time you won't even have to think about it, it'll be up there, solid like a block and beautiful.

The sad thing is, if the dude you're dancing with has a crappy frame (as in, moves his left arm without moving his torso) then you're gonna suffer for it, 'cause no matter how good your right arm is he's gonna be shaking it around.