Craig (Sooty) Love — an interview

Craig (Sooty) Love

Sooty teaches tango with a focus on fun, including playing with some nuevo elements. He is a man of many talents, having had previous lives as an outdoor instructor, drama school student, engineer, blacksmith, and computer geek! But currently, when he is not in his dancing shoes, he is a body therapist and NLP coach at Release.

What got you into tango?

I started dancing tango in 1999, when my best friend Rima Herber (avid Tango dancer and festival photographer) showed me the movie The Tango Lesson, starring Pablo Veron, who moves like a cat, and does an interesting dance routine on the mantlepiece above the fireplace. She then coerced me into going to a lesson...

What do you love about tango, or what does tango mean to you?

Variety! A deeper simpler connection with people than the usual social chitchat: close and meditative, or fast and exciting.

I have performed or danced in some interesting settings:

As you do.

How long have you been teaching tango for?

5 years, both in Napier at the Milonga Tango Bar, and in Titirangi at the Soul Studio. I am a teacher by native aptitude, and have 15 years of experience.

Which tango dancers have you learnt from, or who inspire you?

Fabrizio Forti, Maria Plazaola, Jaimes Friedgen, Cecilia Gonzales.

Which style(s) of tango would you say you dance and/or teach?

The yummy style! Close embrace mixed up with nuevo.

What are your classes like?

My priorities whilst teaching a class are:

  1. everyone has FUN,- its the best learning environment.
  2. what tango has that is special is the FEELING. You can dance with another person with the music and with feeling from your first lesson. So thats what I aim for every lesson.
  3. MUSIC. dancing simple steps musically is realistic for beginners, so that is the other focus of my classes and lessons. Dancing complex steps musically takes a year or two, but sure is fun once you can!

If people are having fun and feeling their partner and the music, there is a good chance they will get what tango has to offer, and will stick around long enough to learn some really cool steps!

I love giving both group lessons and privates, where we can really get down to what is important for you. As a body therapist (one of my day jobs, see www.release.net.nz ), I can offer insight into getting your body moving as well as you can, as well as the intricacies of tango. Several private lessons have ended in freeing someone's ankle or shoulder, so that they can finally move how they want!

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring tango dancers?

With the right introduction and teacher you can be creating magic right from the start. Be persistent and patient, don't expect miracles in the first year, don't compare yourself to others, just get into the music and hang out with your partner. Remember you do it for fun.

See you on the dance floor,

Craig (Sooty) Love
June 2008

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