Semester Finishes and Volcadas on Saturday

Semester Finishes and Volcadas on Saturday

legs by lindaI’m at the tail end of another semester of tango classes at ASU. Even though enrollment is down from previous years, the enthusiasm and interest in tango still manages to be there. It surprises me each semester what brings the students to try something like Argentine Tango. Some are curious, some come for their friends, or because of their friends, and some just need something different from their usual; a stress-reliever too.

As I am almost done with grades I am excited that this Saturday’s workshop is on volcadas. The verb volcar translates to overturn, like when a car overturns. I looked up the definition in Spanish as I was trying to tie a blog in with reminders of the weekend workshop. The Spanish dictionary suggest that you are turning something so it is no longer in its normal position but on a side. From these definitions it would sound like we would be practicing handstands or rolling around on the floor! It’s a funny idea that this word defines such a much wanted move in tango! The leader does take the follower off of her normal position but does not put her on her side, thankfully.

I remember when I was first exposed to the infamous volcada by an Argentine and an American teacher. As I watched as they dissected and explained how to execute it I found that it completely made sense to my visual learning sensibilities. The trick is in the axes! (not the chopping ones but the ones that we need to be centered on – our axis!) I told a student recently that I still think sacadas are so much harder than volcadas to learn and to execute. Well, you can be the judge. Saturday’s workshop starts at 12 – 1:30pm at the Solana Tango Room. $15 and RSVP’ing would be great.

See you soon.

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Leading Ladies this Weekend!

La paz JumpingJust back from La Paz Tango Festival and jumping for joy that I am hosting another Leading Ladies workshop on Saturday from 12 – 2pm at the Solana Tango Room. RSVP to me if you will be joining us. Leading Ladies is a time for ladies to play with leading and following in a comfortable relaxed atmosphere. Come join us!

La Paz Tango Festival was a relaxed affair. We met so many wonderfully nice, open, and receptive people who have promised to come visit us in Phoenix! It was such a joy sharing tango with them. Rommel and I even got to  snorkel with the sea lions on our day off.  Now that was spectacular and fun!

The long weekend offered me the opportunity to remember that everyone has a story, something that may have changed the course of their life forever. And in Tango – to be open and receptive allows for the intimate dialogue of tango to emerge. I also know that I just have to be myself, to dance my dance, the best way that I can.

A little philosophy for the day!
I look forward to classes over the next few weeks.
Remember: Tuesday practicas for the next 3 weeks until the 17th (with Rommel hosting and teaching). Saturday the 6th – Leading Ladies, Saturday the 14th – Intermediate workshop on Volcadas.  And lastly 2 more Sunday night classes and practicas, with a new schedule rolling out in the new year! Always check accesstango.com for information and updates.

 

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Happiest of Thanksgivings to you!

I am in the airport waiting for my flight to La Paz, Mexico, where Rommel Oramas and I are teaching and performing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This time of year is always busy between the end of the semester grading and planning for the new year but the change of pace for the weekend will be nice.

As a time of gratitude I do want to thank all my students who have supported me this year and throughout the years.  And all of those of you who follow my blog and share comments with me. As you know I love what I do and it has been a pleasure to share what I know with you.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

In gratitude,

Daniela

 

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Chin Jutting to Sternum Hanging

I have been heavily immersed in a weekly seminar with my former Kinesiology professor and now Mindful Movement (TM) coach, Pam Matt. The goal is to add Mindful Movement to my alignment offering. Mindful Movement is a branch of Ideokinesis which is defined as the use of images as a means to improve muscle patterns. All that being said, this week in my studies I came across another great image for our chin jutters! Remember those are the dancers that lead into their embrace with their chins, thus smushing their cervicle (neck) vertebrae.

Sternocleidomastoid MuscleThe this “new” idea stems from the premise that our bodies are like a building, an architectural structure with similar principles. Weights can either sit upon structures or hang from them and in this case of the body, we are talking bony structures. In terms of chin jutting I am speaking about the Sternocleidomastoid muscle! Are you impressed? The greatest part of this name is that all the points of connection are in the name: sternum, clavicle, and mastoid process. So basically this muscle connects the sternum and the clavicle to the head, behind the ear.

I think it’s much nicer to imagine having a weight hanging from the bones then to imagine them sitting on top. So here’s an opportunity for a hanging weight image. Imagine that when you lift the back 1/2 of your head properly the sternum can hang from here. What this does for me is to create a lengthening in the cervical spine and a looseness or release of tension in my chest.
sternumYou don’t have to add or do anything extra just imagine your sternum dangling from the back of your head. Close your eyes and see what happens… If that doesn’t work for you just drop your chin and elongate the back of your neck!

More images to come and see how it changes your dancing!

 

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Teaching in Anchorage, Alaska was Wonderful!

Rommel and I just returned from 5 days in Anchorage, Alaska teaching and enjoying their first snow, or more honestly enjoying it from the window of our lovelyDancing in Anchorage host’s house! We had a sunny day, a rainy day and a couple of snowy days!

We taught 5 classes ranging from technique to milonga and simple dancing patterns enhancing the concepts we were focused on.

It was amazing to teach to such an open and receptive community and to receive the support of their more “senior” members.

Sometimes you teach a class and well, frankly, I can feel the resistance to try something new or to embrace a different concept. And I think this is natural on some level but you have to gain students’ trust as an essential part of learning.

Rommel (as always) made his way around the room during the 2 milongas, dancing with all the ladies who attended the classes. His endless enthusiasm and energy are admirable. And clearly the results were mentionable. Community members noted his active participation in the milongas, not as an observer but as a dancer. I find that it is easier for him as a male to ask the ladies to dance. I find that being a woman teacher that often the leaders in a community are shy and tentative to ask the visiting teacher to dance at a milonga. I think this is ok. I think the leader mentality is that he needs to feel confident and not intimidated to ask someone to dance and to this measure I have found that if I pursue this as the guest that it often feels like pressure for the leader. (I know that I feel stressed sometimes as a leader in a new community!) I did make my rounds on Friday night dancing with all the ladies who attended the class at this lovely community-centered-house milonga.House Milonga in Anchorage

The highlights of the weekend were many – our hosts’ fabulous cooking and always having food for us, the openness of the dancers in the classes, the moose that crossed our path, the home studios and Café that were generously offered as teaching spaces and milonga venues. We had 22 people dancing at the same time at the  Saturday night milonga – very fun!

Some things that we hope the dancers will remember are: the tango attitude; all the things you can do with a dowel rod; the importance of their standing legs and their axis positions 1, 2, 3 (3, 2, 1); 50% “up” and embracing the partner and 50% “grounding” or reaching constantly into the earth, and to keep having fun dancing!
Rommel adds: Precision, Practice and Patience; and when all else fails “cross-training”!

Until we see you again Anchorage – maybe via skype for a practica or in Phoenix – keep dancing!

Teaching for us is about building relationships and we so enjoyed embracing tango with you.Sunday's Class

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