As is fairly characteristic of Argentine Tango courses, we're down to about 50% of our initial attendance, though we're hopeful that more students will bounce back into the fold as we keep covering the basics.
Nonetheless, we had a fun - if somewhat unusually challenging class tonight; starting with review of the forward and back ochos, interchanging between ochos and reiterating a partnered ocho exercise with a few new refinements.
Taking the class up a notch - we built on the concept of keeping the free leg truly free and supple for the full duration of the pivot-step phase of the ocho.
With this everyone had to try inverting their ocho with extra torsion, to experience a few of the dynamics behind generating boleos (whips) to play with at the practica.
...... While I won't exactly nail up a disclaimer about not trying this at home - I should point out that it was mostly food-for-thought.
Our class plan for the day proved to be slightly ambitious, since we only arrived at the main theme for the day - giros (turns) - most of the way through the hour.
We jumped straight into molinette (a move where the follow turns around a leader with ocho-like pivots while he remains in one place) without really warming up.
In theory, it then should've started dawning on everyone how the same mechanics, movement and feeling from steps learned before - simply transposed and reconfigured - could at least outline how to do the basic for another step - in this case molinette - without much premeditation (or otherwise reinventing the wheel).
We also played with the polarity of the lead-follow relationship during turns by having them alternatie "pulling" (with torsion) or "pushing" more to drive the sequence - exagerrating to help everyone find that sweet spot where both partners are present in the moment and participating equally and purposefully in the dance.
At first we made it easy on the guys by allowing them to practise molinette by focussing purely on the connection, embrace and the lead - shuffling their feet in whatever way.
Everyone's learning so fast.
With just a few more tricks to add to the toolbox, we're almost through the complete beginners syllabus - but the best is yet to come!
However uncomfortable the idea may be at first - I would like to encourage everyone to think about entering the social dance scene to get more hours or practise under their socks - get a feel for what the community is like and to try the same steps with complete strangers.
To help with this, we're hosting our own monthly milonga right here in Corvallis this Sunday. If you're in town there's just no better or more conveniet opportunity to give it a try.
As for next week, the sixth class in our free 8-week Tango lesson series will take place on the 5th of November.
We'll meet at the OSU Women's Building - in room 205 from 7-8 pm, with an open dance session from 8-8:45.