Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Tango in Paris 2

My final night, Monday night. Another vals workshop. We dance a vals or two to warm up, and then get a lecture on keeping to the line of dance. Tete and Syliva then teach two turning and advancing moves they often use. I'm very familiar with these moves from video but I've never tried to use them in dance, so it's a useful class. Two turning moves: then a saccada is added to one of the turns, and we are then shown the walk, in single and double time, to the left of the follower. Four useful sequences. As ever, musicality is emphasised, and there's a lot of personal attention to detail. In my experience few teachers work so hard with individual couples, give so much individual attention. As with their other workshops it is demanding, intense, and very rewarding. Silvia has a very positive, even a forceful personality, is very encouraging, leads as easily as she follows, seems to be everywhere at the same time, helping everyone, and has a big laugh to go with it. They both work hard, give the impression they feel they owe it to us.

I've been immensely impressed that at any of the three workshops or the practica, it has been immediately possible to make a good connection with any partner I get to dance with. Coming from London, where I find few partners with whom I can easily make a good connection, this seems extraordinary. I've no idea if this applies to Paris tango generally or just to Nathalie's students. The only partner I had any problem with was very much a beginner who made a good connection but had problems interpreting the lead, and even she managed a lot easier second time round. & some of the partners were unusually good to dance with. My impression is of a very good level of dance in Nathalie's group.

After the Monday evening workshop was a milonga, a great ending to the visit. It wasn't organised by Nathalie, and like any milonga was open to anyone who paid admission. I would like to say that the floorcraft was immaculate, that everyone followed the line of dance perfectly and that there were no backward steps or high kicks, but... Actually the floor was quite crowded with enthusiastic dancers, and quite difficult to navigate early on, although there must have been a higher percentage of good close dancing than you'd usually see in London. It was a crowded evening, very cheerful and friendly. Considerably more women than men, perhaps one reason why I found all the partners I danced with extremely pleasant and friendly, but I think that's just the way it is in Paris tango. It was incredible to be able to make such immediate and friendly contact with people from another city. If any of them happens to read this, thanks for everything, and do keep in touch.

One thing I really liked: in France you don't have 'leaders' and 'followers': you have 'danseurs' and 'danseuses'.

Tete and Silvia gave a demonstration, which I filmed part of. The floor thinned out quite a bit after that, and I had a dance first with Silvia, and then with a partner I'd danced with earlier in the evening. A great half-hour of tango to end up with. Tete was also on the floor, ignoring his own lecture about the line of dance... & so I rushed out into the cool night for a late Metro and an early-morning Eurostar. Tangocommuting could hardly be better, except that I didn't really want to come back...


Anonymous said...

If I don't speak French - would doing classes or workshops in France be a problem? I'm thinking we don't get the kind of dancers in the UK that I want to learn from.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you noticed Tete doesn't follow the line of dance. It's the same in the milongas in BA.

Anonymous said...

And in Buenos Aires there are hombres y mujeres.

Tango commuter said...

Hi, anon. Well, if you don't speak French you're limited, obviously. But if you watch very carefully you can pick up a lot, even if you don't understand. &, to our shame, most French people, particularly the kind of people who dance tango, speak some English. There was an English-speaking couple in most of the classes, and they got help. & there seemed a shortage of leaders, so if you are a leader and have some dance skills you will be welcome.

You might find it useful to go over with a partner and spend a weekend dancing. I've linked the Paris listings in Tango in Paris 3: you could dance almost non-stop for an entire weekend. You'd meet people along the way, and might find a way in to workshops. I found it a very friendly scene, with plenty of good dancing.