Level up, Tango?

Last night was Tango at Cafe Medici again!  I usually get there about 15 minutes late (not too intentionally; I just forget to watch the clock) so I end up walking in just as the lesson is progressing beyond the “if you can walk, you can tango!” part.

Anyway, I had a really enjoyable time last night.  We learned (relearned) the grapevine move – where the follow goes front, side, back, side ocho around the lead. (This has an official Spanish name that I don’t remember.)  First, the follows grapevine’d around the leads without touching – I learned I don’t actually know how to balance in my heels while doing ochos!  Oh, well. Once we went back to doing it with contact, I was much more confidant in my footwork.

The teacher uses an interesting method to correct – he’ll get behind the lead and guide their movements during the dance.  The first time he did that to a lead I was dancing with was the weirdest feeling I’ve ever had while dancing.  It’s quite odd to be dancing with someone but obviously led by another.  Now, I’m used to it, but it’s still really weird! My brain always gets a little befuddled.

I had a really pleasant time dancing during the milonga afterwards.  I’m finally becoming comfortable with a number of the leads there. I have an easy time transiting from different styles, but it can take me a while to transition between leads and it certainly takes me a while to become relaxed enough to really follow well.  Tango depends much on a subtle lead, so it’s really important to become attuned to your partner.

Oh! Afterwards I was asking Gustavo what he meant by “collecting” during the grapevine, and he told me to just come to the classes at Esquina already.  Wells, says I, making the universal sign for money by rubbing my fingers together.  As it turns out, you can volunteer at Esquina (they’re a nonprofit) and earn time towards their classes, which include several forms of South American ballroom dance and languages!  Super excited! This will give me the chance to, er, level up in Tango!