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

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