Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dance class review: Tango Technique with Michelle Gorre

For the past few months, I have been attending Michelle Gorre's Tango Technique class, so I thought I'd share my thoughts. Bear in mind, I am a dance instructor myself and always have my critic's hat on when I attend another teacher's class, plus I'm picky and straightforward and tend not to give praise unless it's truly deserved. Those of you who have taken my classes know I tend to be a pretty straight shooter in that regard!

First, an overview of the class: Michelle runs this almost like an aerobics or Jazzercise type class. She starts with warm ups, then we do individual exercises, each designed to carry over directly into the dance--tondus (or maybe it's spelled tendu--pointing the foot with a straight leg), extensions (taking a step larger than your typically comfortable stride, but in a technically correct manner), turns, collection and balance exercises, ochos, and other things I don't know the name of.

After the warm-up we usually move on to things that require a lot of thought, balance, and coordination, and then end with fun rhythmic exercises that are still challenging, but require a little less thought and control. Sometimes we do partnering exercise to get some practical application for things we've been working on, work on lead and follow skills, etc. We then do a cool-down, and she puts on music to let us dance a couple of songs and put what we just worked on to the test...or just let loose a little.

My thoughts: I find this a VERY beneficial class, not only for my Tango, but for my other dances as well, especially since I've gotten out of the habit of practicing the past couple of years. It has strengthened my core and improved my balance. Certain things, like how I use  my feet, are becoming automatic, so I can concentrate on other things (like following). I like the balance of the different exercises, how Michelle explains why we do things the way we do, and rewords her explanations or adjusts the exercises if we're not getting it. She demands excellence of us, which I love, and praises us when it's deserved. Oh, and she's fun, with a positive energy. My style of teacher.

The class is currently held on Tuesdays at 6:30 at the Sierra 2 Center, Studio 1, on 24th Street and 4th Avenue in Sacramento. The price is $12 for a drop-in or $40 for the month. I wish she could do it a little cheaper, but she has to pay rent and make something for herself, so don't hold that against her. Join her facebook group to stay on top of any changes!

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