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Monday, November 12, 2007

Playing Hooky

Today I played hooky from work.

Not all day... just for a couple of hours.

I *cough* had a doctor's appointment. (Ms. Wellspring, you won't tell on me, right?)

Actually, I had a private lesson with Ney Melo.

Last Tuesday, I took a group class with Ms. Wellspring at La Pista. I have to tell you, honestly, this was the best group class I've taken in recent memory. Maybe ever.

The class had a good gender balance, and everyone was about the same level so rotating partners was not one of those dreaded events we've all experienced. But that's not what made the class exceptional. It was all about Ney.

Seriously, he taught something that I've never seen addressed so completely, clearly and with such honesty, fun and creativity: how to embrace your partner. First, he got us all on the right foot, literally, by making us walk. And walk. And then walk with each other. And then walk closer together.

Taking us by baby increments and with really fun and imaginative exercises, Ney taught us how to feel comfortable with close embrace. Really comfortable. But not intimidated. That was the best part.

Now, I know you're thinking why we would need a class on this when we already know it, but the truth is that close embrace is never really explained well. Or at least it has never been in my dance education. I started out with salon style, thought that was tango, and then went to Buenos Aires and felt like I hadn't learned a thing at home.

It was the only class I've ever taken where parts of it felt like a milonga. You learned but the classroom feel was missing. Everyone seemed to be having a great time, and right afterwards I signed up for my private lesson.

I knew from listening to Ney very closely that I'm going to have to unlearn some things I've been doing for a long time. And actually, I'm really okay with that. I feel like my first teachers got me to a great place with my tango, and now I'm ready to move forward.

Ney's teaching, to me, is very natural. His dancing looks very organic and effortless. He's already given me a lot of food for thought, and what he's shown me so far makes a lot of sense. I'm excited to see how his influence will help me develop and grow because I've been looking for my next teacher and now I think I've found him.

If you ever have the opportunity to take a class with Ney, please do. I think you'll get a lot out of it, and really enjoy yourself in the process. He's at http://neymelo.com


NYC Tango Pilgrim November 12, 2007 at 11:07 PM  


Ney started from New York. I saw him at La Nacional a few times this year. Too bad he and Jennifer left NY.

Glad that you like the way of embrace that he teaches. That's the embrace I am mostly comfortable with too.

If you come to NY and my maestro is in town, I will treat you with a shared private with him.

Carlos is the best. Aside from Andrea and Javier, that is. In ten days, I will be taking seven privates with J&A. Psyched!

hope you are feeling better with your cough. :)


La Tanguera November 13, 2007 at 6:41 AM  

Dear Tango Baby,

I fully agree about Ney. I had the opportunity to take some private lessons with him last year, and I really think he's fantastic.


5:45AM November 13, 2007 at 6:54 AM  

Indeed, Ney and Jennifer are brilliant teachers :) They've been here in Romania not long ago and what amazed me about them is that they feel and teach so... natural, for lack of a better word.

Psyche November 13, 2007 at 7:00 AM  

Oh, I'm so envious! I'd love to take some lessons with Ney. One day...

Are there any little nuggets of wisdom which you can pass on, or was it all too individual to be transferable?

studio wellspring November 13, 2007 at 9:55 AM  

oooo la la
your secret is safe with me! he's a wonderful teacher & i'm so glad you like his group classes as much as i do. last week's was quite marvelous. i'm so evnious of your private lesson .... i'd love to do that someday too. maybe next month my finances will allow. finger's crossed.

tangobaby November 13, 2007 at 11:40 AM  

Guys, I'm slammed at work right now. I promise to address all of you later...


Tina November 13, 2007 at 1:16 PM  

I "heart" lessons with Ney. I had my lesson with both him and Jennifer and what an incredible dynamic! Fabulous.

Ney is amazing though, with an approach that, as you said, makes the "classroom" feel disappear.

I'm glad you had a lesson with him. :-)

La Nuit Blanche November 14, 2007 at 3:30 PM  

why oh why did they have to leave new york??


tangobaby November 14, 2007 at 6:50 PM  

Dear TB,

I'm sad for New York but happy for San Francisco! I wish Jennifer lived here too but at least she's visiting so we can have them together sometimes.

I would love to have a lesson with you and your maestro. What an honor and a privilege. Thank you for the generous offer.

I think I am over my cough since Ney and Jennifer will be out of town until January. ;-)

Dear Tanguera,

I'm glad you had a chance to take private lessons too. The group classes are great but having him all to yourself is very special.

Dear 5:45,

Ney mentioned his recent trip to Romania and said he had such a wonderful time. Sounds like Romania should be a tango destination as there are some devoted and passionate dancers where you are!

Dear Psyche,

I'm sure I could give you some thoughts, although I don't know how helpful they would be in written form without any experiental sensation. I don't know that I'd make a blog post about it, but if you want to email me I can give you some notes and you can see if the information helps you.

Or you can come out to SF and I'll drive you to class!

Dear Tina,

I remember reading your post about your lesson and how happy you were. Everything you said about them was true.

Dear Nuit,

Come out here! You can still have your lessons! Here, kitty kitty!

xoxo to all of you. We are the Ney Groupies, aren't we?

NYC Tango Pilgrim November 15, 2007 at 8:23 AM  


FYI, I am actually a big Jen fan. Maybe next time she is back in town, I will gather all the courage that I have and ask her for a tanda at La Nacional.

That's if after I dance with Andrea Misse and I don't suck so much that I vow never to dance again. :0)

May your "coughing" continue...