Song: Poema by Francisco Canaro
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
Saturday, February 20, 2010, Stanford University
Video courtesy of Chris Novak
We began with an exercise. Hand in hand in one large circle, we went counterclockwise doing the grapevine/turn/molinete footwork of side step, forward cross step, side step, back cross step. Our cross steps were to be very tight, with the sides of our feet touching at the small pinkie toes. We did this same exercise going clockwise.
Then in close embrace, we did a very simple sequence of the Leader doing a side step to his left (Follower to her right), and then leading the Follower to do a counterclockwise molinete around him, starting with a back cross step, to side, to forward cross step. The Leader collects his feet, changes his weight, and then goes, pivoting on his left foot, to end up facing the opposite place from where he started. If the Leader has trouble keeping pivoted on one foot the entire time, he can help himself by employing the Paddle Technique.
Paddle Technique: The Leader takes a left side step so that the left side of his body from his left foot on up becomes his axis. Then he paddles around with his right foot, where the right foot stays slightly behind or no more than equal to his left supporting, standing foot. The right paddling foot should never go ahead/ in front of his left foot. The use of his other foot will help stabilize his body and keep him turning while he is on axis. The Leader does not change weight when he paddles. If he does change weight, he will confuse the Follower.
The Follower needs to make her back cross tight and immediate, with no hesitation, emphasizing the marching quality of the music (it is not fluid). She should not let her hips open up, but keep them facing the Leader, so that her hips don’t dwell or her feet move too slow.
The Leader pivots on his left while simultaneous paddling with his right foot, as the Follower does a tight back cross, side, tight forward cross.
Next, we tried to do this same turn to the right, the other side. For the Follower, when being led in a close embrace turn, the front and back steps are truncated and very tight. Thus, it is very important that her side steps need to be good sized (big?), and she needs to really step AROUND the Leader (not away from him). She can also pivot a little bit on her left foot, so that her side step with her right foot is around, and not away from, the Leader. Here, the Leader plants his right foot, and paddles around with his left foot, if needed.
Next, we added the wrap.
From the turn to the right from the side step (Leader paddles around with his left foot), after the Follower’s forward step, the Leader changes weight to be on his left foot to lead a wrap on the Follower’s side step to her left foot, by sneaking in his right thigh next to her left thigh, so that she does a wrap of her right leg, to bounce back out to cross back with her right foot. When the Leader sneaks in his right thigh, his leg is slightly turned out.
After his warp, he should keep turning a little, not a lot.
After the wrap, there are two exits:
Fast: Small, tight, back cross and out, with the feeling of in-out-collect-back cross.
Slower: in-out-slower fluid raise of knee-collect-back cross.
For the Follower’s leg wrap using her right leg, her left leg is key. It needs to be strong and stable in order for her to get freedom and fluidity in her leg wrap. Her left leg must also be completely ready and accepting of the full weight transfer with no wobble so that her right leg can have all the energy and freedom to whip freely in the wrap.
From here, we backed up a little to a boleo exercise to get the “thwack” of hip. In this exercise, we were to do front boleos on ourselves, trying to kick ourselves on the side of the opposite hip so that we get a very satisfying “thwack” sound, with our foot coming back to land immediately into a tight back cross. The purpose of this exercise was to imagine that this is the Leader’s left leg, but we are doing it solo on our own.
The Follower does not kick the Leader as she gets out of this by her hips opening up in the ball and socket.
The Leader, when receiving the wrap, should lift his heel off the floor to enable his leg to be much more flexible and maneuverable.
With respect to the Leader’s paddle footwork timing, he retracts his paddling foot on her forward step, changes weight, and gets his right leg in for the Follower to wrap.
Maestros concluded with a demo to Canaro’s Poema.
Notes courtesy of Anne at http://scoutingtour.blogspot.com