Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Boleo vs Overturned Gancho Connection with Roberto Rufino on Vocals to Di Sarli

Song: Corazon by Carlos Di Sarli with Robert Rufino on Vocals
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
January 16, 2011, Stanford University

We began with a review of yesterday's material to warm up our bodies. Today, our focus was to explore the benefits of having good body spiral, which enables us to have better connection, better communication, more technique and more fulfillment in our dancing.

Ocho Exercise
We began in partnership with no Leader or Follower, and we both did forward ochos, stepping around and toward our partner's trailing foot. We tried this doing back ochos as well, which required even more torsion on our partners. In doing these ochos, the hand that goes to the forward foot will use a little bit of the pull energy to help give lots of pivot in the hips and feet. Again, it was emphasized that we should use our back muscles to keep us up, and our elbows should be pointed down.

Switch Step Exercise
Next, we did the switch step exercise in partnership, which is similar to the Ocho exercise, except we added the switch step pivot forward and snap back. Here, our work focused on how we rely on each other in a positive tango way, as we rebound off of each other and are the other person's wall. So we needed to focus on how we engaged, when we engaged, using our back, core, and connection to our floor. We were not to use our arms and shoulders to lead as if steering a bus.

Next, in Tea Kettle Open Embrace, the Leader's were to do the switch step lead. Leader should have symmetrical (30-45 degree) rotation in his chest/torso.

Building The Forward ("With") Boleo

Foot Trace and Caress the Floor Exercise
We began with an exercise to loosen up our hip. We were to caress the floor with our big toe, tracing the shape of the front of our opposite, supporting standing foot. We were to see how much we can rotate the hip, one foot around the other foot. Our feet began in a "V" position with a little turnout. At the end of our caress with our foot on the other side of our standing foot, our feet will look like the top of an arrow "/\".

“Thwack” (Front Boleo Legwork) Exercise
Then we did the "Thwack" Exercise, with our leg going all the way up and hitting the outside of our opposite hip in a whip action. The goal was to get a good thwack so that you can hear the snap of the pants. The Follower controls the shape of the boleo leg, even though it's the free leg. The quality of the boleo is in how well her leg does the whip action. Keep the knee as low as possible, as long as you clear the other thigh. Knee can lift a little at the end. Follower should keep her hips even, with an even pelvic floor. The Follower needs to have a solid standing, supporting leg for the boleo to work.

Leading the Boleo
With the Leader in Tea Kettle Open Embrace, the Leader was to lead this by doing a side step to the left, attacking the floor, changing weight, and then stepping again in a counter step without transferring the weight completely, but keeping it in the middle while sending her past the point Point of No Return.

The most important thing is timing to stabilize the step and the stop energy. Leader should not be too early or too late. The goal of this class was for the Leader to figure out where that point is and how to lead the boleo at that exact moment.

The Follower needs to be able to pivot on her standing leg, and the Leader needs to keep the Follower on her axis and not pull her off as she does her boleo by rushing her through her completion as her leg returns to exit. Thus, he must be patient and wait for the Follower to finish and he must wait for her hips to get back around after her boleo before he leads the next step, which could be a back ocho or regular back step after her normal collection. Leader must not rush the exit, otherwise he will knock her off axis.

Send Energy and Rebound Energy
Every Boleo has a send energy and a rebound energy to varying degrees. It could be 50/50, or 90/10 or anything in between. Maestro commented that Fabian Salas once demonstrated this by throwing a tennis ball at a wall.
Throwing the ball = send energy
Ball Hitting Wall and bouncing back = boleo
Ball Hitting No wall = ocho

The most obvious way to block the energy is through the embrace. The Leader's counter step reinforces the wall. The counter step can be a little away from the Follower.

Timing is key. The place where the Follower is ready to hit the wall is when you want to give her the block energy.

Our music was DiSarli with Rufino on vocals because the music is obvious with a good strong beat where we could employ the send energy, and also a good strong beat where we can feel the rebound energy.

(1) Regular exit is a collection and foot returns back down to the floor.
(2) Knee goes up and around, then back down. Do not knee the Leader. This is for slower, more melodic and flowy music.

We could also do double or triple boleos before exiting.

Maestros showed us the overturned gancho, which is like the idea of the Follower kicking through the Leader's legs from the forward ocho, only it is done on the back ocho instead. The Leader gives the Follower a lot of send energy and also over rotates her so that she does an overturned back ocho and pivots a lot on her supporting, standing leg, such that her toes are pointed completely away from the Leader. Then he creates the wall energy to change it from circular to linear, compressing the energy and being like a wall or statue, as her boleo goes through his legs.

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

Maestros did a demo to Corazon by DiSarli with Rufino on vocals.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

No comments: