Appropriately called “PROGRESSIVE”
Tango Fantastico introduces a new class format!
On the cutting edge: Tango Fantástico is attributed with introducing innovative instructional and educational ideas to the San Francisco Bay Area tango community.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TANGO FANTASTICO CLASS STRUCTURE
The 90 minute weekly Class
Eight years ago Tango Fantástico was the first in the Bay Area to offer the 90 minute weekly class. Experience as a student had shown me that a one hour class provided sufficient time to replicate steps demonstrated by the teacher(s) but insufficient time to explore technical aspects of movement, connection and responsibility in the dance. As a teacher I decided to increase the time for a group class to 90 minutes to provide time to focus on technical aspects. This has achieved a higher level of individual technical skills in the dancers I train and develop.
In 2009 I introduced “Technique” classes where the approach to movement in tango was explored at a more technical level. Technique should not be confused with style. Technical skills are the result of specific neuro/skeletal/muscular training. The class attracted students who were already experienced social dancers. The format was to study multiple technical aspects of an individual move for 90 minutes.
Wanting to speed up the process I experimented by expanding the Technique class into two levels, Simplificada and Dificil, so that newer dancers could work on technical skills at their level without delaying the progress of the more advanced group. This was only marginally successful from which I learned that everyone needs experience in order to appreciate perfection. The outcome was that the technique class eventually assumed an ‘advanced’ designation.
2012 was a very successful year for Tango Fantástico, culminating in the second, significantly larger TESO Tango Festival. Many of my students wanted to acquire the skills to feel comfortable dancing and performing in front of their peers and friends in the TESO professional evaluation. To accommodate the requests I developed three Intesivo courses in technical skills for Leaders, Followers, and Couples. The Leaders’ Intensivo ran the longest and attracted leaders from a considerable distance.
Following the second TESO Tango Festival in 2012 I introduced a 90 minute Drills Only class. Repetitive solo practice of individual movements to develop skills is unlike a regular Tango class. The Drills class consisted of exercises and stretches to prepare the body for Tango followed by specific exercises to sustain ones axis and balance while gradually adding more dissociative elements. The last 30 minutes was used to practice the integration of the drills into movement with a partner.
It is time to reinvent the wheel. Starting in 2016 I am introducing a new class format that encapsulates the current situation, the need for students to integrate and excel in a friendly environment conducive to learning.
…..and I thought to myself, how about a two hour session of ever increasing technical difficulty, providing every dancer an opportunity to push their individual skills to achieve their personal best: A single two hour class of continuous education in Argentine Tango. As the name suggests, the format will be one of progressive training, steadily increasing dissociative skills. The concept is one of continuous education: Incorporating new students with experienced dancers but providing the opportunity for each to achieve progressively more challenging skills through exposure to increasing complexities of the dance.
Novices and Beginners are encouraged to attend the first hour as participating students, enjoy moving with more experienced dancers and making new acquaintances while acquiring a solid foundation. In addition, all beginners are invited to watch the second hour to see how a fundamental move they have learned is applied in more complex situations. All classes will start with a few drills and exercises to focus the mind and prepare the body for dance. Fundamental moves will be studied to provide a foundation from which the more complex aspects will be explored.
All students are required to start at the beginning of the Progressive class. Elements of the first hour will determine a student’s technical acuity and suitability to continue into the more advanced portion. At approximately the one hour mark the teacher will ask the less technically skilled dancers to leave the floor. Those remaining will be attempting what at first may seem impossible, such is the motivation to acquire a higher skill set. Reward is found in personal achievement.
…….progress will be made!