Several months ago I posted a question on Ask Arlene’s about taking lessons from Javier and Andrea and I raised a lot more attention than I had anticipated.
I think it would be fair to respond to those who were kind enough to offer me advice.
In short, the workshops were very good and I was glad I went. While Javier did not speak English, he was very animated when explaining concepts and Andrea done some translating when required.
For those who expected to learn exactly what was advertised will be a little disappointed. The workshops vaguely followed the topics but often Javier saw some things he wanted to correct and would focus on those points instead.
Throughout the weekend, Javier emphasied a couple of points for us to focus on:
- Stop thinking about doing something fancy with the stepping leg and think more about the pushing off the stepping leg
- When a woman accepts an invitation to dance, she embraces him 100% – she doesn’t look at him and think that he’s only worth 50% of an embrace
- Ladies need to work on a look that makes the men come to them, they shouldn’t go out looking for the men.
- Ladies need to free their legs, some are so worried that they must close their legs, knees and ankles that their walk is restricted.
- Learn to relax in the dance – especially the lower back and feet. Otherwise after an hour of dancing, you’ll be in pain and can’t go on any more.
- and so on … the point is, I didn’t learn one new ‘step’ or ‘figure’ from the workshops
The milonga was a little disappointing, the music was great but it wasn’t so well attended. There were loads of room but being used to a packed London milonga, I was hoping a bit more people turn up. Also, Javier and Andrea didn’t dance socially in the milonga either. I always like to see how teachers dance in a social environment.
Overall it was a good weekend and I’m glad they taught useful things like connection and embrace as opposed to Tango Fantasia (which is what they sometimes teach in other countries).
If the event is held again, I’d go providing that the topics of the workshops are similar to this year’s. If they change to what we have millions of visiting teachers teach use like ganchos, colgadas and flashy combinations, I’d give it a miss.