Song: El Acomodo by Edgardo Donato
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
December 15, 2008, The Beat, Berkeley, CA
This was a musicality class, with the focus to hear the concept of Kiss Me Goodnight (syncopas, syncopations) in different orchestras. KMG syncopation is prevalent in many orchestras and you'd be surprised at what you can do with it. Our goal is to capture the interesting parts in the music, that are off the square of the music.
First, Maestro played D'Arienzo's La Payanca, and danced to it alone to demo the song. He captured the "Kiss Me" with emphasizing it in rock steps (somewhat similar to traspie) and other foot and body syncopations. The question came up, "how do you know Kiss Me Goodnight (KMG) is coming?" The answer: (1) When you know the song. (2) In many types of music, including tango, the melody repeats. So if you miss it the first time, you can get to it when it comes around the second or third time. Sometimes tango orchestras try to trick you, and they might put the KMG in a different place the next time around.
Next, we did a solo movement exercise, where dancers could go in any direction and do any step, with the emphasis on accenting the KMG (catching the beat), even if it's when they are walking in a straight line.
After this, we danced one dance together with Leaders and Followers partnered up. The challenges here were that sometimes we would hit the first KMG (syncopation), but miss the second or third set of KMG. Some Leaders had difficulty leading and hitting the rhythm without shaking the Follower. Solution: be gentle and have more control. Next, Maestro taught the subtleties of leading the double touch step (to the side, and forward) and emphasized that it was more like a whisper move. Follower should be able to feel how much the Leader's center is moving (it's really short), and how much he wants you to reach, so you can follow his lead appropriately.
Next, we played a game of He Goes, She Goes. First, the Leader emphasized KMG in the song (during which Follower does not move while Leader does his thing), then Follower emphasized KMG in the song (during which Leader does not move while Follower does her thing). We practiced different steps here -- the open straddle step out, the continual side step, the double touch to one side, the triple step to one side, or some combination of back/side steps. Basically, anything goes when you try to capture, emphasize, and play with the KMG to mark the syncopation.
After doing all this work to D'Arienzo's La Payanca, Maestro changed the song to Lucio Demare's Mañana Zarpa Un Barco. Maestro noted that it was interesting that the orchestra changed the place where you'd expect to hear the KMG section, illustrating that there was a complex rhythmic underbelly to the song. We danced solo to this song to just listen and to be in a safe place to express ourselves. This was to hone our listening skills, to focus on the KMG rhythm, and to be more aware of the song predictors (repeats, syncopas). We can accent just one beat of the KMG because at least it would show that we got some of it.
Next, Maestro played DiSarli's Shusheta, and pointed out that it had a KM KM KM KM rhythm at times.
Next, we listened to Donat's El Acomodo, where KMG is everywhere in the song.
We also listed to a bit of Pugliese's La Yumba, which had a derivative KMG syncopation in it.
Maestra noted that when dancers are aware of the nuances of the music, they have a different feel or distribution of energy in their dance, which adds an entirely different dimension to how they dance to different songs and orchestras.
Finally, we danced to the most challenging song of all, DeCaro's Derecho Viejo, which had a lot of nontraditional, abstract KMG. Maestro noted that it can be disturbing if there is a lot (too much?) KMG in one song/one tanda.
Notes courtesy of Anne at http://scoutingtour.blogspot.com