Class Review: The Factory
14th April 2009
Class date: Sunday 12th April 2009
Teacher: Steve and Atsuko
Class Type Intermediate
Location: The Factory, 407 Hornsey Road, London, N19
The Factory is located off Hornsey Road, in North London; it's basically a gym with a couple of dance studios. They've been teaching Tango at the Factory for a few years now, so the place is one of the more established Tango venues in London.
The teacher tonight was Steve, and the demo was the lovely Atsuko, wearing a killer set of heels.
The class format is, on Sundays, to have a beginners Class 7 - 7. 40, an intermediate class 7.30 - 8.30, then milonga to 11pm. On this occasion (Bank holiday), it was an extended session, with party food and drinks provided. And I'll go anywhere for food...
We started with a warmup - stepping forwards, backwards, then forward / back ochos.
Numbers were about even, and rotation was frequent - not up to Ceroc levels, but much better than normal in tango. It was quite busy - I'd guess around 30 of us in total.
The main body of the class was based around a sequence - basically, two consecutive sweeps, then two consecutive ganchos. We then tried it in the other direction, briefly.
The sequence was as follows (instructions are for leaders unless otherwise stated):
- Sidestep to the left, change weight
- Forward on the left foot, on the "wrong" side (the lady's right side)
- Pivot the lady anti-clockwise and step her back
- Put your right foot to block her forward (her right) foot
- Barrida the lady's right foot, she does a sidestep to the right - important to keep her in close
- Repeat steps 3-5.
- Repeat step 3
- Put your right leg in between the lady's feet.
- Gancho the lady's right leg
- Lead the leady to a sidestep, and again put your right leg in between the lady's feet
- Gancho the lady's left leg, then out.
The class is very nuevo, in my opinion - it focusses on things like ganchos and barridas. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, and I learnt a few things about these myself. And sequences are also not inherently bad - you get some muscle memory from them, which allows you to explore different techniques and ways of movement.
And Steve said, several times, that these movements were not "proper dancing" - and the teaching of the steps themselves was fine, I thought.
However, the danger is, of course, that if you only attend these classes, you'll get used to a certain style of dancing, and you'll expect certain types of lead. Over the last 3-4 months, I've personally been working on the whole "dancing small" concept (simple steps, but moving to the various musical structures); so, this sort of class is probably not going in the direction I'm currently travelling.
So I'd recommend this class, but I'd also recommend balancing it with some technique- and musicality-based classes.
- David Bailey, 14th April 2009