Mar. 13th, 2006

woolmyth: (strictly ballroom)
Lots happened this weekend, like Madicon, and an interesting scene. However, it was the tango lesson at the end which has needed lots of processing.

background )

Once again, we're reminded that tango is hard. I was the only one there who hadn't taken tango lessons with this teacher, so I got thoroughly picked on by the instructor and his partner, in that "we're not going to let you get the basics wrong" sort of way. Yeah, that's a good thing. I was pushed really hard for about 3 hours, and was impressed by how much time the instructors spent working just with me on what would have been remedial to the rest of the class, had they not been working on other things.

Processing this now, I'm becoming aware of something vitally important. Throughout the lesson I had both the instructor and a couple of other students repeatedly telling me to relax. By which I mean, in some cases, every single step. "Relax, relax, relax." Why? Here's what I've figured out. In ballroom, and just about everything in open position, in order to clear up the communication between partners you firm up your frame (the way you're holding your arms).

details )

Guess what happens in close embrace if you firm up the way your body and arms are held? You destroy the signal instead of making it clearer. So here I have this instructor telling me to relax with every step, while at the same time scolding me for waddling if my legs aren't close enough that my knees are brushing, scolding me if my feet aren't right next to each other between each step, scolding me if, in the process of leaning, my butt sticks out at all or my head leans forward, or I lift one foot as I'm swiveling on the other or turn an ankle to the side to make crossed ankles easier. Meanwhile, he's doing moves I've never followed before and scolding me every time a mistake or my own tension causes my upper body and arms to stiffen. Oh, and did I mention that when I wasn't being told to relax I was being told to reach farther backward for each step, and commit to each step without hesitation or doubt (including in those brand new moves), and getting my hand smacked for not laying flat on my partner's shoulder. I'd get my upper body relaxed for about two steps in a row if I was on a roll. That didn't happen much.

Yeah, I loved it. Well, when you ignore the fact that I was exhausted (from staying up until 5am the night before) when I started and near falling down when I finished. The instructor was very good, pushed me to the limit of my abilities, and was enthusiastic about working with me. He also told me that I was could be really good if I kept working at it, pointed out two women who I should be watching to the exclusion of others, and by mid-class was grabbing me to demonstrate relatively simple moves to other pairs. So I'll be going back on those Sunday afternoons when there aren't waltzes (waltzes are more aerobic, less stressful, and pure joy for me - no way I'm giving them up despite missing every other class in his two-month series). My next challenge. And I'm not even fabulous at Blues yet.


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