Workshop Review: Jango

Date: Saturday 16th August 2008

Time: 12 - 2pm, 2:30-4:30pm

Teacher: Amir Giles, Monica

Class Type Intermediates / Advanced

Location: St. Mary's Church Hall, Twickenham TW1 3NJ

Class review and comments: There were two 2-hour classes in the workshop day, one from noon until 2pm, and one from 2:30 - 4:30pm. The venue's a lovely church hall, there's a car park just next to the venue, although as it only allows up to 2 hours parking, som quick popping out and refreshing of tickets is required.

Class 1: Sensual Argentinean Tango Steps - Beg/Int level

The first class started with a series of standard connection exercises - transferring weight, moving forwards and backwards in synch, progressing to sidesteps and so on. We then spent some time walking forwards and backwards, then covered the rockstep, and how to lead differences in timing and in speed - the key to leading faster movements is to go lower, as Amir demonstrated with a sprinter stance...

We then moved on to a new way of leading ochos, "A favor", which basically worked in a way so that the leaders didn't need to change weight when leading ochos. The trick is to step in opposition, but to think of yourselves as both going the same way around the circle which your frame creates. So leading a lady to a front ocho to your left, the leader steps to his right, and vice versa. It's an interesting way of doing things, and with practice I think it could look neater than the standard way, because no weight change is needed to get into or out of it.

Class 2: Flashy Footwork Combos Perfect for Both Tango and Jango - Int/Adv

The second class was billed as more of a "Jango" class, for intermediates / advanced,. The MJ content was quite minimal - although to be fair Amir showed how the moves could be applicable to both AT and MJ. Amir had the lovely Monica turn up to help teach this class - she's a highly-experienced Tango follower, and she added in a number of tips to supplement the class.

We started with an Americana movement, walking side-by-side, but on opposite feet (so both inside then both outside). We moved from this into leading a clockwise backwards half-giro routine, and spent some time on getting the timing and the leading of the giro correct.

We then did a box-step giro exercise - the standard "walking around a chair" exercise which seems to be taught everywhere in AT classes. Good stuff, of course.

We did a lovely check-and-replace step to get into the Americana movement, which I'll definitely try to use in future.

Finally, we returned to the giro part, and added a nice flashy hook manoeuvre to finish it off - can be used in a forward ocho also; basically the woman is on her right foot, side-by-side with to the man's right, and her left leg swings and hooks around the man's right leg.

We spent a bit of time then on technique for men and women, and then we rested.

As always, an excellent class, and I took several things from it.

More class details:

- David Bailey