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Janus: Looking To The Past and Future

Normally, after Amanda and Wilson do a workshop, they tend to sit down and take stock of what went wrong (or right). Was it well advertised? Well attended? Did people enjoy themselves, learn something new, enjoy the food? (Okay, that’s a question I’d like to think that they ask themselves, because the food is fantastic every time).

A dance workshop is the focus on technique, of learning tips and tricks (something simple as say, maintaining one’s posture for a clean, fluid move) , as well as building upon what’s already there.

One, two, three...

One, two, three...

The general outline of a dance workshop is this: the aims are affirmed (today, we’ll be learning – beats, techniques, namely X and Y), there’s the build up of mechanics, line by line, step by step.

Bachata is a paired dance, and as such it being a paired dance,  Amanda has the task of making sure that the leaders (male dancers) and the followers (female dancers) know their role.   For leaders, their role is to guide (with a firm and sure hand) their followers  into doing the steps needed.  Now, being English,  there’s the concept of personal space to get over, and just get into the movement itself.  For the followers, their job is to keep in time, and make sure that they only lead when they are instructed to, and not to push the leaders around.

Alas, no one likes a pushy follower. The thing is, Bachata is a female dance of power.

It’s there to show the woman’s sexuality and fertility , it allows the woman to take stock of the man leading her, around the floor and deciding if she wants to take him inside her home, or leave him there on the curb. There is something that’s mighty powerful about a woman who’s secure in herself to allow the man to take the lead, and see what he brings to the table there (for dancing). Does he lead well? Is he gentle, yet firm? Can you feel that he’s in control when he leads you into the spins and and turns? This is why couples used to go courting and dance back in the day. Now,  the courting is  over Nintendo Wii and Wkd drinks, I fear.  No romance, bah.

Amanda taking her leaders through their paces. PULL!

Amanda taking her leaders through their paces. "PULL!"

Oh, what was I saying again? A workshop.  A good workshop will have about twenty to twenty eight people (Amanda reckons she can take up to thirty).  A good dance workshop should help you develop musicality. As in, when you hear the music, you’re going to be aware of the beats to the point of  hyperawareness. That’s good, because a lot of dancing is moving to the beat, not past it or behind it.  Or worse, as if it isn’t even there at all.

After the workshop is over, there’s food!

I tend to come to the workshops for the food, I’m afraid. You see, Wilson cooks, and it’s the best of Caribbean food. There’s  intense flavours, exploding on one’s tongue, but no spice. Although I’m from a different island from Snr Castro,  us islanders know our food, and how it’s supposed to be cooked, and I will begrudgingly admit, Wilson knows his way around a stove. Amanda’s mum normally handles the vegetarian meals,  and her food is so amazing, I don’t miss meat.  Much. ¬_¬

The workshop is done, the techniques are tweaked, tempered, improved.  Good points are developed and expanded on – posture, footsteps, awareness of beats to the music, the leaders confident in their leading, the followers graceful,  this side of regal.  So, what’s next?

The workshop is done, catching a breath, waiting on some food! Yum.

The workshop is done, catching a breath, waiting on some food! Yum.

A party of course! This is the time for one to cut a rug, to show off your moves. Late in the night, there’s a party! That’s when, now fuelled by food, and buoyed by the lessons well learned in the class, you’re able to show it off! Alas, I have no picture for that event, but I hear that loads of fun was had.  It’s enough to make me want to shimmy out of my pyjama bottoms (the ones with the feet, and little sheep jumping over fences on an aqua background) and come and see what the fun is about.

Speaking of which, there’s a part on this Saturday.  Remember this post?  Stop me if you’re heard this before – no don’t, because I shall tell you again.  What, you didn’t click? Let me repeat myself:

On July 24th, there’s a party at The Charnwood Golf Range, Derby Road, Loughborogh. Classes begin  at 8pm, and dancing is at 9-2am. Latin mix, Caribbean Barbeque available throughout the evening. Dancing will be both indoor and outdoor (so come rain or shine, this party will still be going on until (sort of) dawn, mates. So BE THERE!

I’ll be at the door. You will stop and say hello, before going in, won’t you?


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