Dance specialty : Argentine tango
Years teaching at Atomic : 2
Fast fact : Classically trained opera singer
Born in Springfield, Illinois and raised in the Southern California town of Redondo Beach, Lauren Woods showed artistic promise from a young age, but didn’t begin seriously dancing until high school. She began with solo dances like modern, jazz, hip-hop and even stomp and cheerleading. While Lauren always dreamt of a future career in the arts, she wouldn’t have believed that she’d be teaching Argentine tango if you had told her years ago. Lauren found her way into tango almost on accident. It all began with her love of classical music. A fan of music by Puccini, Mozart and Verde, she studied opera and classical music in college and went onto work as a professional opera singer. This appreciation for the nuances and distinct sound of each classical instrument led Lauren to an appreciation for Argentine tango music, and thus led to a natural segue into tango dance.
While social dancing at Atomic ballroom, she couldn’t resist an opportunity to assist other instructors in their classes. This ultimately led to her teaching her own dance classes at ATOMCI. Now dancing Argentine tango for about 7 years, Lauren currently performs and teaches with her dance partner Claudio Otero, who is a long time Argentine tango instructor, and fellow ATOMIC instructor, originally from Argentina. Together, they lead a company called Otero Productions which features an assortment of Argentinian dances such as gaucho, folklore and Argentine tango of course.
Although tango is now the primary dance that Lauren teaches an performs, she credits her backgrounding in hip-hop and other solo freestyle dancing, in part, for her current foundation in tango, stating “It allowed me to feel the music in the moment.”
While Lauren’s teaching style can be described as modern, lively and engaging, she brands herself as a modern shell with a traditional connection. Understanding that she, like many other tango dancers have evolved to include elements of fusing different styles like salon with milonguero style and Nuevo steps (whether they realize it or not). Adding that “No one is really dancing strictly traditional style or strictly modern these days.”
In her classes, she helps leaders be clear with their suggestions, and helps followers to receive those suggestions and be patient. A principle concept that she hopes students get out of her classes is to focus on proficiency, not perfection. She finds that most of her students seek instruction with the goal of wanting to be able to social dance, or become a better social dancer if they are already part of the scene.
When asked how dance has impacted her life, Lauren answered, “Partner dancing impacted my life by helping me with my spiritual journey, and the concept of surrendering. It also helped me find patience and forgiveness, which had deeper meaning and understanding when I started dancing Argentine tango.”
Some fun facts about Lauren:
This classical trained artist was once really into alternative punk music and the Goth club scene!
Favorite color : Blue (but not necessarily to wear. For that, she prefers pink or red).
Enjoys : Picnics, quiet time in nature and yoga.
Favorite quote : “Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent.”
What dance means to her : “The freedom to express.”
What she enjoys most about working at ATOMIC : “It’s very much a friendly atmosphere, a welcoming open door for people that want to try something new. This is a friendly place for milongas and to practice, both for new dancers, while being open to the rest of the community.”
What you can expect in Lauren’s classes : Attention to clarity of intention and cleanliness of movement, balanced out in a fun, light hearted atmosphere.
Lauren teaches at ATOMIC on Wednesdays and Sundays, and by appointment for private lessons. See schedule for up to date class times, and come check out her engaging classes for yourself, along with other fabulous ATOMIC instructors. http://atomicballroom.com/calendar.php