Thump. Okay, that’s how not to do it… but luckily our intermediate class knew this already. Yesterday was many of our first experiences with ganchos – kicks wrapped around the leaders’ legs to those of us not too hot on tango terminology. Well, that’s hopefully where the kicks finish up anyway (a few found some obstacles along the way – sorry guys).
As always, the class began with a warm up and stretches, closely followed by a reminder on balance and posture. The class then practiced walking in time to the music using the floor; eight steps forward, eight back, wait for four, then four steps right, left, and right, left. Beginners will be more than familiar with this activity. This was followed by a pivoting and dissociation exercise, involving travelling across the room in a short sequence in order to work on individual balance and technique before getting into partners. (Note-to-self: pivoting into other students probably wasn’t what Nathalie and Bruno were looking for.) If you’re completely baffled, don’t worry it’s not as confusing after a demonstration.
Nathalie and Bruno then began demonstrating ganchos in all different directions, some involving the follower putting all their trust in their partners by leaning on them fully for support. Nobody ended up on the floor – thank you leaders! Between each demonstration was the opportunity to practice, each time switching partners.
The final step of the night was learning how to get from the Americana, a beautiful synchronised combination of steps, into ganchos whilst leaning all the followers’ weight on one hip. Sound simple? Ha. Although admittedly getting out of the ganchos loop was the hardest part – a few times we feared we’d be stuck gancho-ing forever!
To wrap the class up (no, not Eminem style), there was half an hour’s improvisation. This was a chance to use the newly acquired steps in a variety of combinations, really focusing on the music and the emotion between partners and the dance. There were some very creative leaders and elegant followers on the dance floor, you should all be very proud.
In the last 5/10 minutes of the class we interviewed a handful of dancers, focusing on why they love tango – and Tanguito in particular. These videos will soon be available on our website. Thank you to everybody that took part.
Written by Emma Langschied