Wednesday, 30 July 2008

On Dancing with Maria Dispari

When I wrote about the classes (post 1, post 2, post 3) with Jorge and Maria Dispari I forgot to mention another conversation with a leader I dance with sometimes, who'd taken some of the classes too.

I didn't go to the closing milonga because I was pretty much too tired to speak. But he did, and he got to dance one track with Maria.

Hedgehog: What was it like?
Leader: It was amazing. Like dancing with a rollerball.
Hedgehog: What's a rollerball?
Leader: Errr ... like a hovercraft.

She told him to keep it really really simple and not worry. It was magic. It was so easy.

He couldn't really explain to me what it was she did to make it so. But I felt obscurely encouraged to hear from someone I know, and whose dancing I know, what a difference the follower can really make.

I don't know what it is specifically Maria does that makes it seem so magical, but at least I was reminded that it matters. I may never be Maria (or a hovercraft), but at least there's some point in trying to improve.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Every time I go off on a 3-month effort to improve this or that or to get of my current plateau .. I always learn that in the end if the sincerity and feeling of the dance that matters.

Which is why I love dancing with beginners who feel i sincerely than played-out acrobatic jesters.

I feel sorry for too many London teachers I see - they are constantly searching for new moves and combinations for their classes - and they lost the magic years ago ...

This is why tango is different - its the magic not the steps.

John said...

'Nobody can teach you the feeling' - the name of a Carlos Gavito video on YouTube. He was ill, but still happy to be teaching.

It's sad, the position of teachers: if they taught a month of walking to the music they'd lose all their students!

I had a dance (as leader) with a teacher a few weeks ago. Like Maria Dispari she's a porteno ('n' with a squiggle on it, someone from 'the port') although without her long experience. They always tell us they want to prepare us for social dancing in Buenos Aires and that the first thing that happens when you get a partner there is he/she will hold you firmly, and expect to be held firmly. & it was a firmer hold than in normal London dancing, and it makes leading much more immediate and certain, a heart with four legs as they say. But not like a hovercraft, no, it was physical, grounded, the sense of weight, but moved, and moving, effortlessly. Not a world away from other partners but quite a few levels up.

Sorry Ms H is indisposed. She's missed in her usual haunts and we hope she'll soon be back, following her usual trails marked on her very helpful milonga map.

msHedgehog said...

And to be fair, no one can tell me what to do with my so-called "soul"; they can instruct me what to do with my body.

They do hold quite firmly, it's true, though not stiffly. It makes sense to respond in kind and you can get a very high resolution as a follower by doing this; but it takes some practice under favourable condtions, as we were discussing at Alex's place.

Here's the Gavito vid. I hadn't seen it before, and I really like his lecture about not closing your eyes unless you feel like it. Because it's faking. I am aware that some people expect women to close their eyes automatically, and won't dance with one who doesn't, but I really think he's right and I have to treat this as their loss. I don't close my eyes unless I need to, to tune in, which is rare, or I damn well feel like it.