Review: The Dome

20th February 2009

(Other reviews)

Teacher: Hiba Faisal and Rene Hellemons

Class Date Weds, 18th Feb 2009

Class Type Intermediates

Location: Boston Pub (upstairs), Dartmouth Park Hill, Tufnell Park, London (map)

The venue

Tufnell Park - North Lundin, my kind of town...

Easy to get to, reasonably easy to park - I parked literally outside the entrance this time.

Ms Hedgehog has some more details in her Dome review on her blog.

The Teachers

Hiba and Rene have been teaching now regularly at the Dome for a while, and I have to say that it's been a great improvement to the previous "guest-teacher" system they used to have on Wednesday evenings. It's much nicer to have a regular class with themes and progression.

The only problem is that they're too popular - the class seems to be regularly 40+ people, which to me is normally a little too large for effective teaching. On the other hand, I enjoyed the class, so they cope with it well.

Crowd control

I have to especially commend the teachers on their excellent rotation technique. Regularly and consistently rotating partners, every 3-4 minutes, made the whole experience vastly improved. It's one of the best techniques I've ever encountered, and it was ideal for such a large class. Well done, guys.


This month's theme has been all about the embrace - last week they did a discussion of close and open embrace, using sequences to get into them. This week's class was about breaking the embrace, using soltadas.

The Class

We did three sequences, demonstrating three types of soltada:

  1. Clockwise "giro" steps, with man turning anti-clockwise
  2. Weird sweep into weird back sacada thing
  3. Ochos into turns

Clockwise giro soltada

Basically, the principle of this one was to do a clockwise giro, but to break the embrace at the part where the woman does the two-beat back-side-forward part of the seqence - the man does a step-turn anti-clockwise, in the same 2 beats.

So the man has to "lead" the woman to do this, whilst turning his back to her briefly.

Weird sweep into weird back sacada thing

Again from a clockwise giro start - at the start of the back-side-forward sequence again from the lady's point of view:

  1. Man blocks the (outside of) the lady's left foot with his right foot, after she steps back on her right, doing the "back" step of the giro sequence.
  2. Lady then sweeps the man's foot as she does the "side" step of the giro sequence; simultaneously, man keeps his back foot in place (after being swept!), lifts his left hand (holding the lady's right hand) above his head, breaks the embrace and twists to the left to (sort of) face the lady.
  3. Lady steps over man's back foot, doing the "forward" step of the giro sequence. Man should bend his back leg, lowering down and allowing lady to easily step over.
  4. To finish off, man turns anti-clockwise to face the lady.

This sequence, from a lady's point of view, is exactly the same as the first - she simply does a back-side-forward sequence, as part of a giro.

The complexity is all in what the man does, in terms of breaking the embrace, and doing the "weird" things...

Note: This is quite similar to the second sequence taught by Amir Giles in his Soltadas workshop in December 2008.

Ochos into turns

We briefly covered how to lead underarm turns from ochos.

This was essentially the same the first sequence taught by Amir in his Soltadas workshop.


A good class, teaching some interesting concepts, in a professional way.

If only all Tango classes were like this.

Note: Alas, Rene and Hiba will be away in March, they're teaching in Buenos Aires. They should return in April, however.

- David Bailey, 20th February 2009

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