Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Vanilla Bean Ocho & Baby Back Volcada

Song: No Quiero Mas by Enrique Rodriguez
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
Saturday, February 20, 2010, Stanford University

Video courtesy of Chris Novak

We used music from Enrique Rodriguez for this workshop.

VANILLA BEAN OCHO – an ocho with no Follower hip pivot

First, we began with an exercise:

We were to dance in close embrace with just walking and back ochos. For the Follower, she should have no pivot in these Vanilla Bean, close embrace style ochos, and to keep her chest in consistent contact with the Leader. Because the Follower’s hip pivot is a direct reflection of the Leader’s chest movements, he needed to have no shoulder/chest turn either. He needed to keep his chest silent, in order for her to have NO pivot in her back ocho steps. These back ocho steps are back cross steps, with no fan, but keeping them tight and simple, with no bounce and no hip pivot. In getting around the corners of the room, it was OK to have some pivot to maneuver the curve.

We were to keep the steps even and equal in size, even though there is a hard and an easy side. The Leaders should try to create a shallow v (not a wide v) when walking.


Next, we changed this up by allowing the Leader to make his steps unequal.

The Leader plants his left foot, and then his right foot comes up and forward, but doesn’t pass the other foot, so that he leads her to finish an ocho, with it hooking behind her other foot, and then transferring weight. For the leader, it is his transfer of weight to his right foot that causes the Follower to complete her hook behind.

The Leader going back with his right foot is how he leads the Follower’s right foot to hook back, to change the weight and free up her left foot. The Leader steps forward with his left foot to get out. For the Follower’s hook behind, the Leader needs to have enough send energy so that her cross behind is tight and deep.

Next, we did another exercise of continuous hooks back while the Leader’s feet remain where they are, planted. This can be a nice surprise, and can also be done to double time ochos. The Follower needs to be on the music, hearing the QQ parts.


From this back hooking ocho / back cross, we turned it into a back volcada of the Follower’s left leg with the right leg being the standing, weighted, strong leg. The Leader leads this by stepping diagonally back, with weight shifting back to his right leg, and then diagonally stepping forward with his left leg outside partner.

The Leader needs to give Follower lift and support for the entire duration of the volcada, and both dancers need to stay up in their cores like tree trunks swaying toward each other.

There are two Follower endings to the Volcada:
(1) Ballet: with toe pointed and in contact with floor at all times.
(2) Sassy: with foot flexed and heel in contact with the floor at all times.

After we struggled with this a bit (taught this way so that we could fail first at doing it how we thought it should be done), Maestros gave us more tools so that we could understand how to do this the right way.

Leaders’ technique: The Leader lifts and holds her, preventing her from falling, during the whole time of the volcada: before, during, and setting her back upright. The minute the Follower lands on her left foot is when the volcada ends and the Leader no longer has to lift her to prevent her from falling. The Leader can also use breath to inhale at the point of lead and suggest in his body that something is coming. The Leader must be forwardly intended to keep supporting the Follower. He should not go back too much in the beginning, but make the volcadas small. When the Leader goes back on his right foot, he DOES NOT return to his axis, but maintains a forward and upward intention in his chest, as does Follower, so both dancers maintain good connection to each other.

Follower’s technique: She needs to remain lifted using her own strength, from her strong, standing, supporting leg, up through her core and back, and using her armpit/shoulders to remain strong and lifted. The Follower compresses down on her left side, digging down with her armpit to remain lifted in her body and core. She should not have a noodle or rag doll body. She needs to support herself and her body should not break or collapse against or onto the Leader. The Follower tries to stay in front of the Leader as much as possible. She should use her relationship to the floor and have groundedness.

Maestros concluded with a demo to Rodriguez’s No Quiero Mas.

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

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