It would be a daunting task to add up all the tango festivals I have attended over the past 10 years (October is my official 10 year mark for starting tango!). Each one has it’s own character, experiences, heavenly magic tandas, balanced with a few “community service” dances, and memories to last a lifetime. What struck me with the Portland Tango Festival this past weekend was that FOUR classes were offered in TECHNIQUE out of their total offerings. This is a significant shift in community focus, and I hope many folks will heed the importance of this.
To be quite frank, I think it is rude (or worse) for folks to omit solo practice, while torturing their partners with movements at milongas which cause pain, awkwardness, and frustration. I came upon this article from a well known and respected tanguera while I traveled home from Portland. I encourage you to make time at home, or come to the Wednesday Technique class, to discover those things you can do to prepare yourself for your partner experiences. Let’s make Bellingham tangueros/as famous for their freedom of movement through good technique!
“Practicing alone allows you to literally find yourself inside the dance, undisturbed by other factors. You have to understand that in tango the person you dance with is not your primary dance partner, paradoxically. The first person you need to connect to is yourself, then you need to connect to the floor and next, to the music. Only then will you be able to connect properly to another person as well.” –Veronica Toumanova https://www.facebook.com/notes/veronica-toumanova/why-you-should-practice-tango-both-alone-and-in-couple/10152775261527499
Classes are held at Rebecca’s home studio unless otherwise noted. (2610 Likely Ct. Park on street, walk down outdoor stairs on right side of house to lower entrance.) Below are summaries of what we cover in each class:
Tuesdays, 7:30-9 pm. $10. TangoOne:
For brand new students and those returning from a break. This is my class which has put many tango dancers on the floors of fine milongas throughout the Northwest and beyond. Learn fundamental tango techniques which allow partners to dance as one, without pushing or pulling. By remaining balanced in our own axis, we avoid any heavy feel to our partners, while maintaining a very cozy embrace and much more freedom of movement. We scroll through basic steps: walking, ochos, turns, parallel and cross system, while continually improving balance and presence. New students may begin (almost) anytime with a half hour pre-lesson from 7-7:30 by appointment. Please RSVP prior to first class.
Wednesdays, 5-6:30 pm. $10. Early Intermediate:
Perfect class to reinforce basics, technique, posture and discover “what can we do from here” for both leads and follows. Clear instruction on bridging into close embrace with proper connection allowing free movement and discovering the spiral in the body for balance and connection. Intermediate concepts, including the purpose behind sacadas, molinetes, back crosses, embellishments. Important social dance etiquette, including navigation, cabeceo (inviting/accepting dances), etc, are taught and practiced to ensure success at milongas. Please RSVP for space availability.
NEW CLASS–Wednesdays, 7-8+ pm. $5. TangoTechnique:
Drop in class for ALL LEVELS to improve the quality of your tango movements. Working mostly solo, we’ll scroll through exercises for various pivots, crosses, embellishments (men and women), general aesthetics, smooth walking, body spiral, use of our “hinges,” boleo options, etc. Developing body memory is powerful! Your increasing success with these techniques determines what level dancer you will become. Half hour practice time after 8 pm.
NEW TIME–Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm. $10. Intermediate:
Working into sustained close embrace, as comfort and ability allows, we polish fundamental patterns everyone should know, with variations and smooth transitions. Emphasis on musicality, including favorite steps for vals and milonga songs. Understanding differences between milonguero, salon and nuevo tango. Digging into the wisdom and surprising dynamics of the milonguero style.
Sundays, 6:30-9 pm. $5. ALL COMMUNITY PRACTICA:
Bellingham Dance Co, 1705 N State St, B’ham.
Drop in practice time for ALL LEVELS of tango dancers. Plenty of music, space, mirrors and tango friends working out the details of whatever they recall from class. Great chance to meet the rest of the gang, get feedback, help each other grow and have more than a few laughs. Dance a bit with everyone, or just one partner, whatever you wish. (PRACTICA DOES NOT MEET FIRST SUNDAY OF THE MONTH DUE TO TANGOLIFE MILONGA.)
Private lessons with Rebecca:
Still just $40/hour or $50/1.5 hour, for one or two people. (This is part of my investment in growing the community. Most teachers charge $70-90.) Typically we really do accomplish a month of progress in one session, for men or women. Taking one private every 4-6 weeks will keep bad habits in check and progress going forward. I’m available afternoons, some evenings and weekends by appointment.