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

Introduction

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...

The class

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

The sequence was as follows (instructions are for leaders unless otherwise stated):

  1. Sidestep to the left, change weight
  2. Forward on the left foot, on the "wrong" side (the lady's right side)
  3. Pivot the lady anti-clockwise and step her back
  4. Put your right foot to block her forward (her right) foot
  5. Barrida the lady's right foot, she does a sidestep to the right - important to keep her in close
  6. Repeat steps 3-5.
  7. Repeat step 3
  8. Put your right leg in between the lady's feet.
  9. Gancho the lady's right leg
  10. Lead the leady to a sidestep, and again put your right leg in between the lady's feet
  11. Gancho the lady's left leg, then out.

Summary

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

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