Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Boleo & The Embrace

Song: Cara Sucia by Carlos Di Sarli
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
September 22, 2008, The Beat, Berkeley, CA

First, we began with our ocho technique for regular forward and back ochos, straight ochos in a slot, and overturned ochos. Follower technique is important in the ocho since she will execute the dynamics to develop the boleo; she must create counterspiral energy after pivoting and reaching, but her upper body still faces the Leader (hips face other direction while top of body faces the Leader). This creates good energy in the hips. Hips should be close to the Leader, chest should be back, and nose should not be down. The goal is to have Follower's head lined up over chest, over hips so that she is on top of all of her major joints (with no lean forward); weight is in the middle of her foot, not forward on the balls. Follower heels still touch the floor, but gets released/relieved at the point of pivot. For the Leader, we practiced with three embraces (most difficult kettle with both his arms behind him; easier teapot with his right arm behind him, left arm regular; and easiest regular open embrace). For the Leader's footwork, he can do the (1) regular straight side step, (2) the ocho mirror, or (3) contra ocho.

The embrace: The communication during the embrace is also key. We began with the "sticky hands" exercise: face to face, hand to hand, giving the same amount of push or neutral energy. Then we embraced, with the focus of the Follower's right hand in the Leader's left hand, the goal of the Follower to give resistance in the correct direction during the ocho. It's a little bit of push/pull, more like give/resist. In the ocho, Follower pushes forward against Leader's palm when Leader pushes forward, and Follower pulls back against back of Leader's left hand when Leader pulls back. Follower needs to do this on her own initiative; Leader does not actively engage the push/pull, and does not pump his left hand/arm to get her to do it. The proper amount of push/pull will enable the Follower to get 20% more power in her hips for the ocho, which is particularly helpful during the overturned ones.

For the boleo, the Follower must maintain her axis because she is on one leg and twisting at the point of executing the boleo. The Leader compresses a little, and he stops the energy into the floor, so it's important that he follow the rhythm of the music. For the Leader, the block occurs in the Leader's left hand; he rotates his right shoulder and then immediately steps on in the opposite side with his left foot (and the opposite sides if he wants to lead a boleo of her other leg). At the height of the boleo, the Follower's embrace gets a little more compressed or compact (but about 10%) to stabilize her core. It is important that her core be strong, and her embrace will help with this (noodle bodies will have a more difficult time). During the boleo, it is a quick core engagement, and then back to default when it's complete. Follower should let hip open first, and then let the leg fly after the knee is behind the knee of the other standing leg (not parallel -- BEHIND). The height of the free leg doing the boleo is irrelevant; it's the quick rotation in the hips that makes the boleo (not the height of the foot). Follower must keep foot on the floor in crowded milonga conditions. For the Leader, when Follower is doing the boleo, his right hand should hinge so that Follower can remain on her axis; do not push her, otherwise she may fall out of axis. Resolution was to forward promenade.

You can do the boleo from overturned ochos or overturned sacadas.

Notes courtesy of Anne at http://scoutingtour.blogspot.com

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