Welcome to Lizzy's Log

This blog started accidentally and rapidly took on a life of its own. Lizzy is a social dancer, inhabiting the space between dance and dreams.

10 Oct 2010

Javier and Andrea - pure decadence

Javier and Andrea attracted some of the most inspiring dancers in Europe to Birmingham.

The workshops were rigorous, technically challenging, but carefully taught, with the expectation that by the end of the 1 ½ hours we would have mastered enough to take it away and work on it. That expectation was clear. They will return in March and again next October and the curriculum will develop, keep up, or quit. A centre for excellence developing in one of the most unassuming cities in the UK, Birmingham, the land that tango forgot.

It was absorbing, challenging, but as clear and natural as teaching a child to walk, step by step, peeling off unnecessary habits and shaping the body’s ability to move and respond to movement. I felt as if I was rediscovering tango,that my body had been born knowing it, but by living had forgotten. Their teaching took away the complexity and the tension, and left my body relaxed and able to dance.

There were points of fusion where new ideas released me – not need to collect the legs let the free leg be free, use the possibility to drive momentum forwards, excellent for the giro and the other dynamic moves we were given. There were points of tension where the class was called to attention and reprimanded for our shortcomings “eaten too much spaghetti?” was Javier’s quip on the 2pm Sunday milonga class where our energy was clearly down. Andrea demonstrated every kind of embrace, the energy should flow up through our arms fingers not lie limp, or dragging.. We laughed, his energy infectious.

Our etiquette at times clearly offended. That women were left to find a partner, that men did not towel down of change shirts during classes, that women who were over were left on the edge and often left out yet again.. And finally that men were rough by Javier’s standards. Each point was dealt with clearly. Men circulate and find the next partner. Women stay still. Women over sit in the middle, men then select one of the women in the middle first. Finally, he said before I return I wants to see men only classes, where men learn with men and though experiencing the force of a man, refine their lead before they ever dance with a woman. They can also maintain the element of surprise for the woman. This element is essential to Javier, mystery and surprise.

What was unique about Javier and Andrea is that they are so incredibly funny, Javier talks and expresses himself so graphically with his body that you hardly need Andreas translation to understand what he’s saying. A modern day Charlie Chaplin, with a sense for the absurd and the ability to show us the ridiculous. Javier’s occasional use of and English word triggering waves of laughter, his accent seeming so funny. Andrea’s movements were so soft and sensuous, a whisper, a scent, and technically totally flawless.

Their performance was exceptional, words are not enough. If there's a video, I'll post a link.

And yes the milongas buzzed, with a deep energy that drove the dancers till the very last minute Damian playing the crowd perfectly with his repertoire and skill… A maestro not to be over looked

3 Oct 2010

A fetish

is a powerful thing. For shoe fetishists the following are essential reading: (La Dulce, Tango shoe divas, A Polar Bears Tale, To all the Tango Shoes I’ve Loved Before).
I count myself as one of them. Shoes, bags, costume all create the dance. They are love objects, artistry and essential elements of dance. Each one has to be perfect.
Last night I dressed to lead, cotton trousers, linen shirt, leather belt and plain flat shoes. Unexpectedly, there were more men than women, so I was required to dance as a follower. I was totally out of my comfort zone. My belt kept hooking on a men's belt and without the allure of my sparkly, spiky heels I felt naked, and shamefully exposed. After the third time our belts caught, I paused the dance, removed my belt and untucked the shirt from my trousers. We danced, it was magical. We danced all night, except for those times where for decency sake you give each other a rest and dance with someone else. I don't even remember his name.

25 Sep 2010

Viva Valeria!

An absolutely stunning class, deliciously taught, teasing us through every move, breath and intonation. Wow! we were half and hour late due to appauling PMT, an accident and wanton boys, don't ask, but eventually got there.

Yes I was a little tense, and sat out at first, but was quickly brought into the group, rehearsed through the first part and expertly led. I'd already decided to ditch the class as we were late, and would be too far behind, but that wasn't given as an option.

Excellent organisation, superb stage management and the gentlest but most thorough teaching. Valeria is an absolute gift to tango.

And Janet is the hand that rocks

19 Sep 2010

River tango "Debut" sucked

TM was well annoyed.
Fouling up a night with performers such as Aoniken Quiroga & Giovanna Di Vicenzo, Marcelo Varela & Analia Vega and Otros Aires is really not clever. They were stunning, inspirational and cutting edge.

The rave music from the next room and poor acoustics made it a travesty

13 Jul 2010

A dance, a moment in time... a broken wrist???


Are organisers total liability absolved by announcing the floor is fast and to take care?...

The professionals who danced that evening had the floor sprayed with water just prior to performing, for the rest of the public who danced before and after the floor was like ice. Professionals who are fully trained are aware of the risks and choose to perform that is informed choice but for members of the public who have paid to dance and are advised that the floor is very fast, the extent that that advise is useful is only as far as their knowledge and experience extends.It was too fast for safety, I danced only a little with well known partners.

It was the second year I had watched someone fall at this annual event. The floor this year seemed even faster. This year I think the lady broke her wrist, a totally foreseeable tragedy.

I felt for her. My mum broke her ankle last year and it took ages to heal, it had to be pinned. I'm much more careful who I dance with now and where but realise that for people who haven’t seen someone in such pain (and totally bored, not able to drive, not even to get into the shower unaided) they would probably not even see the risk

23 Jun 2010

"I can't control who comes and who doesn't!"

those immortal words were spoken by TM [tanguera mysteriosa], who withdrew it quickly, saying actually she usually can.

It was a night, not quickly to be forgotten. A local, previously unexplored venue, close, and on a hot June night seemingly the perfect option. Casually dressed and carefully arranged, we set out to sample the local talent.

We were greeted at the door by a door by a brassy blond "just rearranging my knickers" she explained, as we saw her tugging at her arse and wriggling. We paid our £8 and found ourselves a seat. It was evidentally not the usual tango venue.
Twenty minutes past. There was not a look or glance in our direction. TM and I enjoyed the spectacle of the local dancers, gossiped and then I broke and asked to go home. The football was on, I could do some gardening... It was bleak.

The owner of the club sauntered acoss the floor, now empty, greeted us and offered us a gentlemany hand. A smile passed between us, he turned on his heels and left, taking a quick exit through the nearby door.

I raised my eyebrows. TM shook her head "not even the suggestion that we may dance," I commented. I led an exit plan:- we go to the door, ask for a refund, and head for a bar. I've had better evenings painting the shed.

TM remarked if she was on the door she'd refuse refunds, "I can't control who comes and who doesn't". Our laughter shook the room! TM went off to buy a round of drinks, we were here for the night.

The next time I looked up (by now I'd settled into writing this blog), the drinks were here and the brassy blond know nicknamed "the knickerless wonder" was being paraded around the floor by Maestro...

Eventually Maestro sauntered again to our table, I was now emgrossed in my blog, but now he asked for a dance. My writing was causing comment. We had been there 50 minutes, not that I was counting.

We danced a tanda and he explained the music could run all night with out him, he choose it before he went out. I gazed around the floor, there were three couples on it. I said nothing. He then left me to walk myself back to my table.

TM remarked the evening was cheering her up. She'd been feeling a little down about her dancing but looking around she felt her dancing wasnt that bad actually.. We laughed again.

I took solace in writing my log. TM talks to friends who have just arrived, I was alone, with my pen as my closest friend.

12 May 2010

Passionately laid back...

was unanticipated and quite remarkable. I was there by chance. Candi had been caught up in world events and was delayed in Portugal, Guy needed a dance dolly, and so it seemed, I fitted the bill.

Coming to a club on its opening night as the female teacher was a complete gift. No time to think, just turn up and work with one of the most gifted teachers in the area.

How could I say no?

Donning stage clothes and make up I arrived at the appointed hour and had a ball...