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October 15, 2002

Gladys/Ricardo workshop

Tonight was the final session in Gladys and Ricardo’s workshop in Singapore. The main topics of discussion were boleos, contraboleos, and the dynamics of movements. As usual, quite tiring (and especially so since this is the end of the series), physically and conceptually challenging but inspirational at the same time!

To me, this particular workshop was not about steps (and steps there were too) but focusing on techniques and some truly subtle movements which aim to improve the connectedness between partners. Together Gladys and Ricardo have demonstrated succinctly what is achievable using body dynamics, sense of rhythm, interplay of mutual ‘body energies’, flirtations with the music and generally all the joy in dancing the Tango. Now really really wishing that I can dance at a Milonga in Buenos Aires – the Mecca of tangueros…

As a quick summary of what I have learnt in the past few days through the Tango workshop:

  1. First rules of Tango: postures, postures and more postures!
  2. Leading by intention. Leading the giro, the walks, etc., by using the chest and transferring the body weight appropriately. This needs to be done whether in close or open embrace. When leading a giro for the follower, the leader needs to provide/create extra space in the chest to invite the follower to move into it.
  3. Before executing a giro (especially when leading the follower to go around the leader), always remember to first put the follower ‘into the orbit’. That is, subtle weight shift – forward for leader, backward for follower in the case of follower starting from backward ocho – so that the follower can be on the move.
  4. Constant reminder for the follower of the presence of the leader, i.e. not letting go.
  5. Continuing the flow of the movement, fluid and non-breaking.
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