Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Body Spiral Explored with a CELLspace Inspired Music Mix

Song: White Flag by Dido
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
January 16, 2011, Stanford University

Since this was an exploration class, Maestros asked what we wanted to work on, and it was decided that we continue our work on the Overturned Gancho.

Pendulum Exercise
We began with the Pendulum Exercise with the Follower swinging her leg, being really big and strong in her swing, really opening up and toes pointed forward, and the knee only bends when it has to.

At the right moment, the Leader puts his leg behind the Follower's supporting standing foot/leg, with his heel lifted from the floor, and his thigh opening up, exposing the soft part of his leg to receive the Follower's swinging pendulum leg in a gancho. This is called the "Captain Morgan" (of rum fame) position. Again, the Follower's bend in the knee happens at the maximum height of her back leg swing, and she should have good flesh contact with the Leader's thigh.

On the Pendulum Exercise, the Follower should be tall, lengthen the leg, point her toe.
The Leader's foot goes behind the Follower's far away foot, unweighted, with just a little bit of pressure to keep it steady, so perhaps 10% of his weight is on it.
If the Follower is much shorter, the Leader's knee needs to bend, so that he goes down like an elevator.

For the Pendulum Exercise, we had three levels:
(1) Both dancers with both eyes open
(2) Follower's eyes closed.
(3) Leader's and Follower's eyes closed.

If the Follower can do the exercise well, they are almost there.

The Overturned Gancho
The Leader plants his foot, but keeps rotating the Follower so that she pivots a lot and to the point where she can't rotate at all anymore. As he stops and plants, her free leg will go flying. The Leader's right hand needs to let her go so she can go. The Follower will still be hanging on with her left and right hands. The Leader's right hand just provides support on the Follower's left side rib cage/waist. The Follower can drop her left hand, completely letting go of the joint, to get 4 more inches of spiral so she can turn more. If she keeps hanging on, it will be more difficult for her to get around. The Leader's left shoulder joint needs to be relaxed too, to provide space.

Double overturned ganchos can also be done.

Again, as for ochos, the Follower should stay close to the Leader while doing her ochos (including her back ochos). If she needs to lean, she should hang back, not forward. She should not do knee ganchos.

Variation with Leader Back Ocho:
One easy adaptation is with the Leader doing a pivoting back ocho, while leading the Follower to do her overturned ocho so that the Follower ganchos through the back of the Leader's leg, so that her foot ends up at the front of the Leader when she ganchos.

To maintain the connection, the Follower should keep looking at the Leader.

Back Gancho Versus Follower's Back Sacada
The rule of the Follower's forward ocho is that the Leader does nothing at the point of no return, does not do any blocking or any rebounding.

How does the Leader lead a gancho/boleo? You stop turning at the right time to create a wall for the Follower. There is a block energy versus a continuous smooth energy. The Block energy has a suddenness, strong send energy to it.

For the Follower's back sacada, the Leader needs to be able to keep turning smoothly and keep the energy continuous and smooth with no block energy.

For either the Back Gancho or the Follower's Back Sacada, she needs to pivot a lot on the back ocho step, otherwise she will be too far away and hit his foot. She needs to pivot enough to walk around the Leader on the back ocho.

Since this was an exploration class, we drilled a lot to try to figure things out, mixing up Back Ganchos or Follower's Back Sacadas, both on the left and right sides.

Next, Maestros showed us a simple sequence, which we were to replicate in our bodies.

From the idea of the Leader's back ocho Follower overturned gancho through his legs from the back of his thighs to his front, he does a right leg parada. Follower does a reverse pasada, stepping back with her right foot, to a Follower left leg barrida of the Leader's right leg counterclockwise, to a Follower right leg gancho of the Leader's right leg. Our goal in recreating this sequence was the apply all the concepts we learned in all 5 workshops. Leader should drop his knee and keep turning the Follower at the point of his parada/her pasada. At the point of the barrida, the Leader has a soft knee and his weight is on his back left foot so that his right leg is free enough for the Follower to sweep easily and he doesn't block or resist her.

The class concluded with a summary review of Q&A.

Maestros did a demo to White Flag by Dido.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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