Starting this Sunday, April 15, Toronto’s Katya Kuznetsova offers for the first time, a four-week workshop from 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ($40 full workshop, $12 drop-in) at Bohemian Palace. The workshop will expand on the topic of “deepening the tango embrace using the technique of contact improvisation” which Katya introduced recently at a pre-milonga class at Milonga-2-3.
Katya is a dance artist who teaches, performs and choreographs. For those of us who do not know Katya or her tango, she answered some questions:
Describe what will happen during a class?
In a series of simple exercises we will play with ways to deepen our awareness of our own bodies/space/sound and of the collective movement through space. The purpose is to share and expand on the parallels between tango and other movement forms (like Contact Improvisation*) that I have found useful. For example, we may work in couples to experiment how much one can lead/follow through a physical connection of two fingertips. We will move in couples, and as a group, and will switch roles leading and following. I will use music, but probably not tango. If enough people express interest in a practica afterwards, we will play tango.
*“Contact Improvisation (CI) is a framework for an improvised duet dance. Since it is essentially a dance of investigation of weight, touch, and communication, it adheres to no single definition or pedagogical certification program. All practitioners ultimately participate in the defining, disseminating, and development of the form through their own practice and discovery.” See: www.contactquarterly.com
What kinds of tango dancers will want to consider working on these techniques?
The class is open to all tango dancers interested in exploring the possible new depths of their dance. Oftentimes, I find, reaching outside of the immediate form that we practice allows for a much deeper and more enjoyable experience. It is more about unlearning the techniques, really.
What other things do you think Toronto tango dancers should know about your classes?
We will move barefoot or in socks, so take it as another chance to “free your feet.”
What is your tango background?
I started dancing tango in Anchorage, Alaska, around 1999. My first teachers were Andrea Misse and Leandro Palu. Although I have studied with many other visiting maestros in Alaska, Seattle, Toronto, and Montreal, my turning points mostly came trough my own practice as a dancer – in cross-referencing and re-interpreting movement experiences. More than anything or anyone, it is the simple intersections that make the turning point. For example, someone says “feel how a flower blooms from your ribs into your partner’s body” – and then you find yourself exploring the life of that image – in tango and outside of it…
What brings you to teaching?
Is that another existential question? To make a long story short, it was dancing that brought me to teaching. I started dancing at the age of eight, in Russia. I never thought that it would take me on this journey through several countries, cultures, and communities. Having taught for several dance programs at university settings, I am now delighted to return to “teaching simply” – gathering people together in a beautiful space and learning from each other.
For more details about the workshops and Katya, check out her website http://kuznetka.blogspot.ca