Two weeks with Daniel Lapadula

In February '99, I signed up for a workshop at the Danceasy in El Cerrito by someone I had never heard of Daniel Lapadula. The promo flyer language had greatly intrigued me because he would focus on specific areas I needed to work on, i.e., displacements, boleos, secadas, adornments, among others. I would definitely check him out and looked forward to meeting him.

Later - Broadway on a Sunday - I met a Daniel from Miami and danced with him a couple of times. My, my, what a great dancer - how nice - we fit very well together! I heard him introducing himself to someone and only then realized that THIS was the unknown Daniel Lapadula - "OH, you're Daniel Lapadula! I signed up for your workshop sight unseen!" (And very glad I did, too, I thought.) He asked me to demonstrate with him that night, and it was a blast - very comfortable, creative and challenging.

Daniel's workshop delivered all and more than I was expecting. Not only did he emphasize and clarify the intricacies of the various movements, but his delivery was personable, fun and interesting with an entertaining command of English. This guy is a treasure trove of information, execution and experience! How come I've never heard of him?! Where's he been; what's he done; will he return?

Return he did in May for two weeks. I'd agreed to sponsor workshops for him in San Francisco, little realizing what a fine little odyssey was in store for me. Seems Daniel's been around for quite some time - dancing professionally since '77 and in Miami since '86. (See Daniel's full bio at Tango Reviews - Elaine's Corner; Summary of an Interview With Daniel Lapadula in this TangoTime Magazine site.) Though the workshops were a bit thin due to a plethora of show people and other Argentine teachers in the Bay Area, those who attended can testify to the sterling quality of presentation and material he covered. He's not afraid to dance with all the girls (and sometimes the guys, too) and works hard with individuals, making major or subtle corrections as needed and explaining visually what happens and why when you do something right or wrong. He's got patience galore and a vast storehouse of tango knowledge to call upon and share.

The workshops focused on intermediate and advanced techniques in Tango/Vals (working in traspie [syncopation]; transferring weight; properly done molinettes; displacements using the upper body to displace the legs; boleos; and how to work syncopation with the music and cross the music with steps]) and Tango/Milonga Oriyero (traspie; displacements; corridas and cuts). Milonga Oriyero is one of the first styles of milonga without using tango steps. Daniel says, "Why use tango steps in milonga when there are many milonga steps more applicable to milonga music?" Daniel specifically and especially emphasized propelled walking (as opposed to reaching), balance, posture and frame, collecting, and contra-body motion. Attendees found the material enriching and presented in a clear, concise manner. Said one: "...besides being a excellent dancer, his classes were well paced and fun." Another commented to Daniel: "Your professional skills are inspirational... I have a much better understanding of leading and doing molinetes, saccadas and boleos." And everyone agreed what a great teacher he is.

Daniel's performances at various venues in the Bay Area showcased his talents as a dancer of tango and also evidenced his background in jazz and ballet. His versatility rose to the occasion as he demonstrated with at least three different partners, all of whom were relative dance strangers to him, and made it all look polished.

In the final analysis, Daniel Lapadula is a new-found wealth of tango talent and personality, as well as being an interesting and interested person in many other fields, as well. It was delightful and refreshing to have him here and we eagerly anticipate his return in September of this year.

The reviews that appear here reflect the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of InScenes Magazine.

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