Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Why We Love D'Arienzo

Song: Pensalo Bien by Juan D'Arienzo
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
December 28, 2009, The Beat, Berkeley, CA

This is an intuitive movement class, as well as a class where we explore phrasing and rhythm, and how they are connected, focusing on the music of D'Arienzo.

Exercise 1:
We were to dance using only:
(1) weight change movement
(2) rock steps
(3) walking
as the building blocks for class. We were not to use any ochos or molinetes (turns).

Exercise 2:
The song for the exercise was Pensalo Bien.
The class was divided into two groups: (A) and (B).
Large phrase = paragraph.
During the first paragraph of the song, the first group (A), was to move around by themselves, using only (1) weight changes, (2) rock steps, or (3) walking.
During the second paragraph of the song, the second group (B), was to move around by themselves, using only (1) weight changes, (2) rock steps, or (3) walking.
During the next paragraph, group (A) would move around by themselves.
During the next paragraph, group (B) would move around by themselves.
The song Pensalo Bien was chosen because it has good structure and tight phrasing, as is typical with D'Arienzo, and on an overall paragraph level, he tells a good story.

Exercise 3:
The song for this exercise was also Pensalo Bien.
In the same group divisions, (A) and (B), each group would dance just the sentences.
Here, the point was not to count the beats. The goal was to intuitively feel where the sentence begins and ends.

Exercise 4:
Continuing our work with Pensalo Bien, we worked on microphrasing. Here, we broke up the sentence structure even further. Leaders would use one tool (weight change, rock steps, walking) for the whole sentence, working with the strong beat. That is, he would lead 1 sentence of walking only, 1 sentence of weight changes only, and 1 sentence of rock steps only. We attempted to dance this only on single time during the whole song, and noticed that for some moves, such as the rock step, it was very difficult to do in single time. The natural inclination is to do the rock step in double time. However, if we do it in single time, it enables us to pivot more.

Exercise 5:
Subdividing the Rhythm:
(1) Minimalism
(2) Maximalism

The idea behind Maximalism is to throw everything in there, and do it on the beat, including all the beats, if possible.
The idea behind Minimalism is to be restrained and let some beats go by without stepping on them.

To help us understand this difference, we danced to Pensalo Bien doing double time in most of our steps.

Exercise 6:
The song for this exercise was El Flete.
The class was divided into three groups: (A), (B), and (C).
During the first paragraph of the song, the first group (A), was to move around by themselves, using only (1) weight changes, (2) rock step, or (3) walking.
During the second paragraph of the song, the second group (B), was to move around by themselves, using only (1) weight changes, (2) rock step, or (3) walking.
During the third paragraph, the third group (C), was to move around by themselves, using only (1) weight changes, (2) rock step, or (3) walking.
During the next paragraph, group (A) would move around by themselves, etc.
For this song, it was noted that at the end, sometimes the sections overlap, so groups (A) and (C) could both be moving at the same time.

The Variacion:
A discussion followed on the "Variacion", which is the crazy part of the song at the end where typically the bandoneons do their solo in double time or double-double time or double-double-double time -- "almost" 1/16 time. Here is where the concept of Minimalism can be applied in our dancing, where the dancers can do something the exact opposite of what the music is doing. For example in this case during the variacion, the dancers can step emphasizing only the strong beat or step on every other beat, as opposed to Maximalism, where they would try to step on every beat during the variacion, in "almost" 1/16 time.

Chaos Factor:
A discussion followed on the Chaos Factor, where we could dance in single time, and throw in a double time when you feel like it, and it will likely work if you are dancing to D'Arienzo. This is because there is always the double time undertone of "chaka chaka chaka" in D'Arienzo's songs. That is why he is called "El Rey del Compas" -- the King of Rhythm. The train is always rolling underneath.

Switching from Single Time to Double Time
The question came up of how can/do Leaders prepare to switch from single to double time.
The answer was that they need to prepare a step before the switch actually occurs.
Sometimes they can lift, and take shorter steps, especially for double-double-double time ("almost" 1/16 time).
There is a very distinctive change of flavor, change of embrace to have more elasticity or breathing.
It helps if the Leader stays on the same flavor for a little bit (at least two steps) before changing.
It can be like a calm before the storm, with a pause or slowing down to build up, then an accelerating, then a stop, then a pause.
It also helps if the Leader knows the song well. The same goes for the Follower.

Exercise 7:
We were to dance the last song with no restrictions, but make clean phrasing. So we could do ochos, ganchos, boleos, etc., or keep the same movement if we choose.

Maestros concluded with a demo to D'Arienzo's Pensalo Bien.

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

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Close to Open Transition to Promenade Plus One Alteration

Song: Una Fija by Carlos DiSarli
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
December 20, 2009, Cafe Cocomo, San Francisco

Video courtesy of Jodel

Close to Open Transition
We began with dancing with a transition from close embrace to open embrace and back to close embrace, seeing what we do, and how we do it. The music we used for the entire lesson was Di Sarli musicals from the 1950s.

Next, we worked on a specific transition close to open embrace, beginning with a side step, up, change weight, settling, and reaching with the other foot to make a side step one side to the other and back. Leader be clear with your intention and movement in your body. There is a "U" shaped energy in this side step action.

We continued to practice the side step and "U" energy intention.

Next, in practice hold and open embrace, from the side step, the Leader steps down in the "U" part to pivot into the Promenade (Americana) on the open side of the embrace. For the two dancers, it is like gears meshing, with the Leader right hip counterclockwise turn to face forward, and the Follower left hip clockwise turn to face forward.

Next, we added the arms to close embrace. Our bodies rolled together and opened up. The movement to lead the promenade (Americana) comes from the Leader's hips. The Leader steps to the left and then pivots with his right hip. It should have a whipping, surprise sensation to the energy.

We danced to one song in the line of dance, incorporating this step.

To end this step, the Leader's chest is up and open. The Leader stops after her step on the outside (right) leg, then he leads the Follower to step forward on her left leg inside and return to be in front of the Leader, back into close embrace.

Next, we did the human magnet exercise in open embrace with our feet 6-8 inches away from each other. Our bodies were straight up and down and we were on axis. Then we were to meet each other in the middle with our chests, matching each other's energy.

Then we did the same pattern going from open to close embrace and then back to open. The Leader at some points lets go of his right hand, while the Follower's left hand slides up as her body tilts forward in response to his lead to invite her to come back to close embrace.

The Follower's forward step to return in front of the Leader should be long and around (curved) into the Leader to transition to close embrace. The Leader opens up his left shoulder, and his axis tilts forward a little. The Follower should be able to sense this forward Leader tilt, and answer with a forward tilt of her own to meet the Leader.

From the promenade position, the Leader out steps the Follower with his right foot on her left foot forward step and turns clockwise so that after Follower gets back in front of Leader, she pivots on her left foot, to do a back step with her right foot and side step with her left foot in a half of a clockwise molinete. Here, it is important for the Follower to collect on her left foot with her right foot before she steps back with her right foot.

Next, we worked on the musicality of the sequence, doing it on all single beats. Then we added double beats (QQ time) on the Follower's back and side step, accelerating into the alteration.

We continued with dancing this simple sequence in the line of dance, and with the music, to make it feel good and to have the hip twist surprise element in our step into the promenade (Americana).

Maestros concluded with a demo to DiSarli's Una Fija

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Anatomy of the Contra Back Boleo

Song: El Encopao by Enrique Rodriguez
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
December 21, 2009, The Beat, Berkeley, CA

We began with the Pendulum Exercise, making sure there was at least 3 feet of clear space behind us. We were to plant our weight on one foot (either left or right), and let the other foot swing freely. Our arms were in beach ball pose, being calm in our upper body with our rib cage up and core engaged so that there was no movement in our upper body. Both knees were bent. The Follower needs to find the sweet spot on her foot to distribute the weight on four corners of her foot to be stable and strong.

Tonight, we were to work on four categorical shapes of boleos. In all of these four categories, the Follower should always have control of her body. So she might not do a big boleo, even if the Leader asks her to do it that way.

(1) Keep foot to the floor
(2) Blade of Zorro
(3) Circular
(4) Circular but bigger

(1) Open up with hips, but foot stays on the ground. We can do this on either foot. Our goal was to find balance, make it tight, and imagine dancing on a crowded dance floor. We can add a little bit of pivot to it. The Follower heel points down on the floor so that she does not stab anyone with her heel.

(2) Blade of Zorro. The leg and foot movement is a flick, like a razor, a little out to the side across the back of her body, and then back down. The boleoing leg goes a little behind the standing knee so that the legs do not open up. There is no light between the thighs. Be sure not to sickle the foot. Turn the foot out a little and point the toes before the leg flicks and leaves the floor. The energy of the movement is similar to a match strike.

(3) Circular. This boleo shape begins with the Flick of Zorro, but the hips open more, and there is a semicircular movement to the leg before it drops back down. We can also add a little pivot to make it sweeter.

(4) Circular but bigger. Recalling the Pendulum exercise with our leg going straight back, we were to send the Follower's leg out in a line, but bring it back in with adding circular energy. For the Follower, she is more open in the knees. This is a more rare articulation.

We began with an exercise in tea kettle embrace with both arms of Leader behind him with his hands at the small of his back. Follower's holds on to Leader's biceps. The goal was for the Leader to lead the Follower to pivot her hips, either slow or fast, with Follower maintaining particularly strong connection with her embrace when the Leader led a faster pivot.

For the Leader, two things:
(1) The rotation comes from his spine, regardless of how slow or fast he is moving. He needs to contract his core muscles for faster rotation.
(2) There is a slight delay of the Follower's movements, so he needs to take time for the energy to travel from the Follower's embrace to her spine, and then to her hips.

For the Follower:
(1) Don't anticipate so that the Leader can calibrate his lead to your movements.

Leader: Observe how long it takes Follower to complete her movement. Wait. Do it slowly. Observe.

Follower: Engage your core so that there is no reverberation in your arms/embrace. Have resistance in your arms.

For the first contra boleo, Maestros noted that all boleos have both "send" and "rebound" energy to more or less degrees, even if they are called "with" boleos or "contra" boleos. The difference is in the way the Leader steps that makes the boleo "with" or "contra"/against the Follower's rotation in the hips.

Again in tea kettle embrace, the Leader steps against the Follower with a bit of send energy and a lot of rebound energy. The Leader would start with the slow shimmy, and then try to figure out how to step into / against the Follower to get the hip rotation to boleo.

Next, we added the open embrace, working on doing boleos on the easy side (the open side). Leader would walk in parallel system, making a very dynamic step with left foot. We were to focus on the contra energy. It is all about the Leader's left foot making a long step that is fully engaged and attacking like a karate chop into the floor. He needs to keep his embrace firm and totally engaged and compressed. He should be solid like a statue so that the Follower can hang on to him for that one moment in the boleo.

Boleos usually happen on the strong beat, so to lead it the Leader has to lead it a little ahead of the strong beat. However, he is limited by how well the Follower hears the music. Leader should not push with his right hand, otherwise the Follower will step (he will change her weight).

Next, we attempted to do this on the hard side (the close side). Here, the Leader's right hand has to detach, but be strong from the shoulder up (similar to the teapot embrace).

The next boleo step, which Maestros only demonstrated and we did not try as students, included a step with the Leader's right foot, to pivot on his right foot (collecting with his left), to rebound back with a left foot back cross step, really working his hips.

Next, we practiced linking two boleos as if dancing in a small space, in the line of dance. The sequence went something like step, boleo, promenade, step back, boleo, etc.

Concluding comments on boleos: The Follower decides how big or small, how high in the air or low on the floor, and the shape (linear or circular) of the boleo, depending on the music and space availability. She does, however, need to react when the boleo is led, and exercise discretion and common sense when doing boleos on the social dance floor.

Maestro concluded with a demo to Rodriguez's El Encopao

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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Linear & Circular Impulsive Movements

Song: Cordobesita by Osvaldo Fresedo
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
December 16, 2009, Cellspace, San Francisco

Our goal for the lesson was to work developing communication with our partners, focusing on the energy in communication to lead the Follower's leg to make certain shapes, linear or circular.

Exercise 1: Follower Small Circles
Done in open or close embrace, the Leader communicates a Follower small circle. The Leader leads the circle of the Follower's left or right leg, and he guides the direction of the circle, clockwise or counterclockwise. This exercise requires that dancers are able to do small circles by themselves. For Follower's technique, there are two different articulations of her feet on the floor: (1) the toe making the circle, or (2) the heel making the circle. The circle should be made from the hip bone and using the whole leg (not just below the knee). The freeness of the free circling leg depends on the stability of the standing leg. For Leader's technique, it is important that he pays attention to how he puts the Follower on one leg before starting to lead the circle so that he does not knock her off axis. The Leader communicates with the center of his body, not just his arms, when he communicates the circle. Leader tilts forward, then the Follower's leg goes back. Then he swings her leg around by swinging his body around a little, with the movement concentrated in his belly button.

Exercise 2: Linear or Circular Free Leg Exercise
Leader frees the Follower's leg so that it moves either in line or circular. Note that it takes time for the Follower to complete the movement, so the Leader needs to wait for her to collect before leading something else. The Leaders attempted to communicate the energy outward to do a counterclockwise circle of the Follower's right leg, or a clockwise circle of the Follower's left leg. Then the Leaders attempted to communicate the energy inward to do a clockwise circle of the Follower's right leg and a counterclockwise circle of the left leg. We recognized that in this exercise, being subtle is difficult. So our homework is to master the subtle feeling before going big.

Exercise 3: Follower Linear Side Extension
The Leader leads the Follower's leg out to the side as if for a side step while he remains in the same spot. There was no verbal instruction on how to do this; Leaders had to figure it out themselves. For the Follower there was no step or weight transfer, it was just a leg extension out to the side as the standing supporting leg grounds down into the floor.

Exercise 4: Pendulum Leg Exercise
We were to do this exercise with care and caution, and be responsible with our bodies and legs so that we do not cause harm to our fellow students. For the exercise, individually, we swung our whole leg back and forth like a pendulum, remaining strong and stable on our supporting standing leg, and with our rib cages up and upper bodies stable. Our arms were such that they looked like we were holding large imaginary beach balls. The Follower needs to be centered on her whole foot, not pushed forward on the ball of her foot because of her high heels, so that she will be maximally stable and not prone to being knocked over or imbalanced. The knees should be bent, not locked.

Exercise 5: Developing the Linear Boleo from the Pendulum Leg Exercise
Same as the Pendulum Leg exercise, only done with more energy and in partnership. The goal here was to get the Follower leg to go really high back behind her. The Leader takes one step forward to lead her to step back, but stops abruptly, preventing her body from continuing to go back (though it may continue to go back by one centimeter), but her back leg goes free and up behind her. This is a timing exercise. Then he steps back with her forward step as her back free leg returns forward. Leaders technique: Do not be afraid to lead her back. Prepare with your whole body. Use your breath, exhaling as he sends her back. Follower's technique: Go back with the whole body, just just the shoulders or butt.

Exercise 6: Colgada Counterbalancing
In partnership holding each other at the wrists, with our toes straight in line and touching each other at the tips, the Leader sends the energy back and goes back at the same time with his body so that both dancers counterbalance each other. The bodies are not bent or sitting. We were to maintain our rib cages up, cores engaged, and our bodies straight. We hung back a while counterbalanced, then came back to axis, then hung back again, then back to axis, several times. Maestro noted that the Follower going out and up with the leg is a consequence of the Leader counterbalancing her.

Exercise 7: Back Linear Boleo
The Leader takes one or two steps to have Follower's leg go back really high. Maestra emphatically pointed out this is just an exercise, and that on the social dance floor, the Follower should keep her leg down so that she does not kick or gouge anyone with her heel.

Exercise 8: Forward Linear Boleo
We were to build on the back linear boleo to a forward linear boleo between the Leader's legs. Here, we were to focus on the use of axis and energy, using it carefully otherwise you or your partner can get hurt. The Leader leads the forward linear boleo through his legs by creating a wall with his embrace after the Follower's leg goes back in the back linear boleo. He needs to make sure his legs are apart when leading the Forward linear boleo (otherwise she will kick him).

Comments about Linear Boleos on the Social Dance Floor:

Leaders need to be mindful when leading the back linear boleo (as well as all boleos). Ideally, the Follower's boleoing leg should be pointed out and away from the dance floor so that she will not kick anyone with her back linear boleoing leg. The Follower always has the option to do boleos low on the floor, not high, especially if conditions are crowded and it is dangerous to do on the social dance floor. In keeping the boleos low on the floor, she still responds to the energy and lead, but is also considerate toward other dancers on the social dance floor. The Follower is in control of her leg to answer big or small, no matter what the Leader's intentions are.

Maestros concluded with a demo to Fresedo's Cordobesita.

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

Friday, December 4, 2009

Teacher Training - Transitions

Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
December 2009, St. Louis, Missouri

This is the class outline prepared and distributed by Homer and Cristina at their teacher training workshop during the St. Louis Hot Winter Tango Fest 2009

In this teacher training session we will define and explore “transitions” in tango and the teaching concepts behind them. We will cover a few example transitions, games, and special cases. Several of our most useful teaching tips are included at the bottom.

What is a Transition?
In its basic form, a transition is moving from one embrace to another (i.e. open to close) and can include a change of each partner’s body position and/or axis tilt. A transition usually starts & ends at the same time. Many experienced dancers use transitions to move between variations of the standard embrace (open and close) to accomplish basic dance ideas. Transitions can be functional, dynamic, musical, fun, creative, and add flexibility.

Embrace Terminology
Standard Embrace – A forward facing embrace with each partner in a given body position and axis tilt.
Body Position – The angle between the open and close sides of the embrace (varies from ‘flat’ to a large ‘V’).
Axis Tilt – Line from the ankles thru the chest relative to the floor (can be tilted forward, neutral, or tilted backwards).
Open – No forward (chest/ribs/stomach) body connection (usually with engaged but elastic arms)
Close – A more or less forward facing body connection (can be fixed, hinged, or rolling) thru the chest/ribs/stomach.

Example Transitions
1. Side step (open-close-colgada options)
2. Back ochos (Vanilla Bean to Mocha Java)
3. Forward step in turn (open to close; difficult)
4. Forward ocho (open to close; very difficult)
5. Ocho cortado vs. ocho (To Cortado or Not?)
6. Transition at The Cross (fwd & back)
7. Side step to promenade (close to open)
8. Basic back volcada (very compact/useful)
9. Step-over colgada (with L.O.D. pattern)

Teaching Quotes
Cristina - “Focus on the middle of the step.”
Homer - “Transition during a transition.”

1. Human Magnet w/ & w/o embrace (develops the basic concept)
2. Falling Trust Game (mostly for volcadas)
3. Batman & Robin (for step-over colgadas)

Special Cases
1. Use wraps to transition (in turns & ochos)
2. Colgada to volcada (i.e. collapsible volcada)
3. Functional vs. expressive use of a colgada (for boleos, sacadas, wraps, etc)
4. Non-Standard Embrace Transitions (sweet-heart, etc)

Teaching basic transitions as early as possible broadens whom we can dance with! It allows a tango couple to easily dance in an open or close embrace with balance and stability. Further developing transitions to include more off-axis concepts (colgadas / volcadas) and non-standard embrace transitions add functionality, musicality, and creativity to the dance.

Homer & Cristina’s List of General Teaching Tips
1. Teach what you know & what you dance socially. Do your research not only by practicing but also by social dancing a lot.
2. Have an outline but be prepared to modify it (according the student level, time constraints, partner/gender balance, etc)
3. Make it fun or at least interesting (i.e. add a few games, exercises, drills, anecdotes, etc).
4. Make eye contact with students and speak clearly.
5. Have a system for partner rotation and be consistent.
6. With ‘talkers’ let them feel the move with you.
7. Demonstrate move or idea with a student from time to time not just your partner.
8. Use positive reinforcement if possible (reward vs. punishment).
9. Never contradict your teaching partner – use “and also”.
10. Try to always incorporate navigation (L.O.D. vs. middle) and musical integration (so it doesn’t sound like an after-thought).
11. For music choices have either a theme, orchestra, singer, or song. It’s ok to repeat the same song many times.
12. Balance group time vs. individual attention time.
13. If you must talk a lot keep students moving or doing something.
14. Encourage group to offer comments and ask questions (verbally participate).
15. End with a review quiz and demo.
16. Try to keep an open mind. Don’t consider yourself the last word... Learn from your students.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Vals Turns and Phrasing

Song: El Dia Que Te Fuiste by Francisco Canaro
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
November 30, 2009, The Beat, Berkeley, CA

Working in open and close embrace, the goal of this class was to make the molinete turn more dynamic, including working on the weak side (Leader’s right). The underlying theme of the class was for the dancers, but especially the Follower, to be really active in hearing the music and making a good effort of knowing the vals rhythm and cadence.

We began with an exercise of just walking by ourselves to the vals rhythm with two options:

(1) only on the boom (the strong beat, the 1)

(2) on the boom - chick - boom (the strong beat and a weak beat, in this case the 1-2-1), with the “chick” step a real step (not just a collection).

We built on this exercise, by then doing the grapevine pattern stepping only on the boom (stepping each step of forward, side, back, side, forward, on the strong beat, the 1, the boom), and then doing the grapevine pattern in the boom - chick - boom (1-2-1) rhythm. We first did this grapevine pattern to a slow vals, and then challenged ourselves more with a faster vals.

When the Follower feels the Leader accelerate the turn, he is probably looking for the rhythm. Since it’s integral, it’s important for the Follower to have control.


Next, maestro introduced the Leader’s footwork of the Paddle and Kickstand. This is a Leader footwork technique during the Follower molinete turn. This Leader technique accomplishes two things:

(1) It maintains the Leader’s axis either tilted forward in the close embrace, or more vertically straight up and down in the open embrace. Note that in the close embrace, there is less room for the Follower’s hips to pivot, and that in the open embrace, there is more room for the Follower’s hips to pivot.

(2) It gives the Leader extra power for the turn to get around on the boom-chick-boom (1-2-1) syncopation.

Our goal is to fit the molinete turn to the music.

In the Paddle and the Kickstand footwork, the Leader lifts his heel off the ground and kicks his heel around to turn. The kickstand foot is where the Leader pivots on the ball of his foot with his supporting, standing leg. The Leader’s paddling foot should be in line or slightly behind his hips as he paddles around. We first began with the left foot as the kickstand, and the right foot as the paddle.

The Leader’s right foot or left foot can be the supporting, standing, kickstand leg, while the left foot or right foot can be the paddling leg, depending on the direction of the molinete turn, clockwise or counterclockwise.

We drilled to many different valses, first slow ones, and then faster ones, with Leader’s Paddle footwork with Follower molinete turn, both clockwise and counterclockwise, using the boom-chick-boom (1-2-1) rhythm.

The boom can be difficult to lead after the chick syncopation because you have to slow your partner down.

Follower should lock herself to the music to know where the boom - chick - chick syncopation is, and to pay attention to the music and the lead. The more the Follower’s body locks into the music, the more she will be with the vals cadence.

Leading the boom - chick - boom (1-2-1) rhythm is easiest on the back step of the molinete turn, and in the Leader’s paddle footwork, he is doing exactly what he is asking the Follower to do.

We also played with doing the boom - chick - boom (1-2-1) at different points of the Follower footwork, such as the side, forward, side, and in open and close embrace, clockwise and counterclockwise.

Follower should not fall on the boom (generally the side step), but be controlled, and not transfer the weight too fast, otherwise she will arrive too early. She needs to really lock her body onto the music for better control.

It was noted that in the close embrace, it is more difficult to get the Follower to go all slow (boom) steps. In the open embrace, it is easier for the Follower to go all slow, though slightly more difficult to lead the boom - chick - boom (1-2-1) syncopation. In the close embrace, the Follower’s back steps can be very short and quick, rather than with substantial hip pivot and drag around.


Next, we worked on vals musical phrasing in the context of doing turns. Our goal was that within a musical phrase, we were to be consistent, fall into a groove, and when it feels like it’s time to turn, to connect the turn to the music.

First we backed up with a little game of Vals - Chacarera, where in Chacarera formation of Leaders all in one line facing Followers all in one line, we took four steps forward and four steps back similar, similar to the Avanzado and Regreso initial steps of the Chacarera. The 4 forward steps were done in 4 beats, and the 4 back steps were done in 4 beats. During this game, maestro played a very regular vals so we could clearly hear the musical phrasing and sentence. He noted that the lyrics/song poetry falls directly on top of the sentence/musical structure of this particular vals, as is the case with many valses. Mastro demo’d this concept by dancing by himself, walking forward and back with the musical phrasing, showing that we could hear the sighs, and take a pause to start the next phrase (like a comma). At the comma or the end of a sentence (phrase) is where the Leader should start the turn in the other direction.

Next, we attempted to dance with trying to change the direction of the molinete turn at the macro phrasing points. It was noted that it often took two turns [(1) forward, side, back, side, (2) forward, side, back, side] in the same direction before the appropriate phrasing point arrived, and that most times in our dance we do not even do one complete molinete (we usually do half or three quarters of a molinete turn). The Paddle keeps the Leader in one place, so it’s a good technique.

In the open embrace, the Follower whips her hips around on the chick, really pivoting a lot to get them around quickly. She should use the embrace of the Leader to get herself around and add whip / energy in her hips.

It was noted that there was asymmetry of the close embrace turn where the Follower’s back step is almost just a snappy short back cross with no pivot in the hips in order to maintain the integrity of the embrace. This is quite different from the open embrace turn with a lot of Follower hip pivot for an overturned full back cross step.

Maestros demo’d to Canaro’s El Dia Que Te Fuiste.

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