Thursday, 21 May 2009

Tango in Paris 4

So it was a really excellent weekend, a lot more dance than I'd get in London, and generally I think the quality was a lot higher. I'd recommend a visit to Paris to anyone who wants to spend a few days in tango. & I found the atmosphere very friendly and supportive.

When I first saw video of Tete and Silvia three-and-a-half years ago I was really impressed. I'd been going to classes with an ex-ballroom dancer who'd learned from a few Pablo Veron workshops. I was told that the music didn't matter, but from my very first beginners class it was clear to me that the music led the dance. Tete's musicality and energy were much closer to how I wanted to respond to the music. Since then I've seen dancing in the old style that I thought much finer, both on video and in the Buenos Aires milongas, and occasionally in London too. But I found them very committed teachers who work hard and give a lot: their commitment and attention is inspiring. & I've been grateful to them for watching my dancing and for comments that have led me to change how I stand and walk in general, without any attempt to get me to dance like them. This is the huge benefit of the teacher's presence: it's what you miss out on when you watch video. I've found video very useful, although it must be worst possible practice to copy a style you see in a video. It just takes time to learn how to lead and follow what you've watched and memorised from video or in a class, to make it your own. But in the end, what changes everything are the observations, whether of a partner or of an experienced dancer who is watching.

A few numbers: I'm trying to get an idea of the attendance and costs involved in bringing a couple to the UK. Tete and Silvia gave eight workshops and a practica. There were around nine couples at each of the workshops and 12 at the practica. At £13.25 a head for the workshops that's a total of £1,908. The practica was £7 per head, £168. There was also another milonga, so in all the total 'take' might have been around £2,400. Obviously there were additional expenses for travel, accomodation, space hire, possibly legal costs too.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy dancing with French followers who visit London. They dance closer, share their weight with the leader, and really make you work. Which feels great to me. Some even go so far as to use their left arms and hand to "pull you in closer". Again at the right moments this is great.

Is they how they dance in Paris?

Is they how they dance in BA?

I'm not being partisan against styles but I do note that in London it is danced more separate, and even when its close it is not quite a shared weight thing. One London teacher even goes so far as to suggest that you dance close but vertical taking your own weight .. which doesn't sound right to me.And over 3 years of dancing with French visitors, they don't do it!

Tango commuter said...

That's a really exact description! Sharing the weight, making the leader work, the way the left arm pulls right round. Certainly in Paris, and very similar in BsAs, but I'd say (from not a great deal of experience) that partners there are a little cooler, a little more guarded. But the position is the same.

I've heard BsAs teachers say that you dance on your own axis, but stand apart and lean together. Obviously you can't dance close and vertical or you'd be on each others toes.

Three years dancing with French visitors? Where?

Anonymous said...

I occasionally ask visitors to dance if I've never seen them before, and sometimes they turn out to be French. I can usually guess from watching them dance with others.

Where - in all the London venues, like carablanca and corrientes. I say three years, but its spread thinly over three years sadly ...

This is how I want to dance and feel it ... but as you say, we don't get it much in London.

Maybe I need to commute my tango too ... ?

What are London followers thoughts on this?