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

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