It was a great experience for me to take the classes of this great teachers. Of course the providing an excellent teaching in techniques and elegant style of embrace, but was really impressed me was their musicality classes. I was expecting the usual way, 1 lesson Di Sarli, 1 lesson D’Arienzo, 1 lesson Pugliese and I never could imagine how much I can explore and enjoy by dancing 3 x 1.5 hours to one and only one song. It was a complete new way to listen and approach to the music, focusing on the rhythmic part.
So in the first lesson they put on D’Arienzo’s version of “Corrientes y esmeralda” with Alberto Echagüe’s strong lunfardo voice and ask us to walk to the beat. So I embraced my partner and started bravely to dance, just “caminata y pausa”, marking the beats as requested by the master. Me and my partner looked happy and satisfied until Jorge and Maria showing us with their dance how casual and shallow we danced, how many pauses we missed. Shocking – I realized this will be a tough lesson.
So we started to dance this song again, listening and dancing with more cautions. It was slightly better but fare from being good. I paused on the end of each phrase correctly, but on the semi phrase I was never sure, pause or not and the part in media tempo I was completely wrong. Of course I was not the only one. Jorge recommended us to listen better to the double-bass and with some help of Jorge’s and Maria’s hand-clapping we did pretty well (after some songs). The song is actually not to complicated, just one tricky pause immediately after the first vocal part needs really attention.
I was surprised how quickly passed 1.5 hours and I was able to setting my pause to 70-80% percent correctly.
The second lesson continued with the same song and yes I enjoyed this song more and more with each dance. But yes, this is only half of the story, we had only on time and half time
confusingly dancers and musicians using the terms exactly opposite – dancers working on half time speed what the musicians writes down with a double length note
and we have now to put in the double time steps. So beside of the double-bass we need to pay attention to the second bandoneon and voice. Big confusion on the dance floor, the order we created before for a nice flow on the dance floor was completely altered in a big mess after the first double time phrase. Some of us missed it, some of us was rushing it, like usually in the most milongas. But we had there the master of the Villa Urquiza style. After some walking exercise, listening and clapping and under the guide and indication from Jorge and Maria it worked much better. Walking straight in double time goes well but on my walk in double time changing from left to the right (elegant and maintaining a close embrace) I still have to practice a lot.
We still had one lesson ahead and guys you can guess what comes – syncopation.
as usual the first try was the expected disaster again. So first we needed to understand what syncopation means and how the rhythmic pattern changes. So listening clapping and walking a complete song in syncopation pattern improved our skills fast. Of course a lot of correction in our steps for keeping them in the line and direction as well as progressing forward.
It is not an easy task to put all the tempos together, even “Corrientes y esmeralda” is still one of the songs with a simpler rhythmical structure (more about the song in my next post) and I still have to listen a couple of more times to master it. Than only 44.999 other tangos left.