Nuevo: improvising beyond sequences

30th November 2009

(More Next Steps articles.)

"No, improvising is wonderful. But, the thing is that you cannot improvise unless you know exactly what you're doing." ~ Christopher Walken


Watch most intermediate Nuevo dancers socially and you start seeing sequences. Lots and lots of complicated sequences. The horror, I tell you, the horror!

Over the past few weeks I've been re-visiting an idea mentioned in the Ghost Guide, of being able to dance any "concept" from any position.

For example, say you lead a side step. Then you choose a random concept, say a boleo, and figure out how to lead that from the position you're in. Then you try to say lead a cross after that, and so on.

There's a simple catch. Pretty much all leaders have had the experience of leading one thing and having the follower do something else. You flow with whatever they do and make a mental note not to lead that again. The problem is you can find your repertoire shrinking rapidly. Although traditional tango works fine with just walking and musicality, this doesn't really fit with the Nuevo feel (for intermediate followers - beginners will usually be quite happy just walking.)

Another way

There's an interesting alternative.

Keep leading random concepts. Forget sequences entirely. Just choose to lead a boleo or whatever next. And propose it decisively. Then flow with whatever it is she actually does decisively. The important things are

  1. Don't try and fight her to get your move to work - you chose it randomly remember. Be zen-like and don't be attached to it.
  2. Don't let her know what you're doing!

There's quite a few benefits to this. Firstly you get a nice flowing freeform dance. Secondly you'll invariably end up "creating" moves you would never have been able to lead in the first place! It also stops the problem of repeating your 6 sequences over and over again.

Interestingly you can also apply dynamics to this mix as well, but again "propose and flow".

Have fun!

Note: As Christopher Walken said, it's a Very Good Idea to be understand how everything works before you start doing this

 - Christopher O'Shea, 30th November 2009

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