Thursday, February 24, 2011

Functional vs. Aesthetic Colgada Explorations with Mixed Music

Song: Milonga Del Angel by Astor Piazzolla
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
February 19-20, 2011, Stanford Workshops, California

Note: Audio disabled due to song copyright but didactic demo can be seen at the end of this original clip.

Mixed Music Class, though we mostly worked with Piazzolla.

This class built on the first class. This was an exploration class, so the whole purpose was to have fun, building on what we learned in the first workshop on colgadas.

We began with one colgada.

Leader in teapot embrace with Leader doing Pac man footwork around. Then Leader places his left foot next to the Follower’s left foot back cross step of the counterclockwise turn/hiro/molinete, and he continues to turn her until she steps over in a right foot side step. Leader does not initiate and Follower does not automatically do any unled colgada out movement. Follower should, however, have a good long reach around on her side step.

We also tried this on the other side, with Leader right foot placed next to Follower’s right foot back cross step, to side step over with her left foot.

How does the Leader not get heeled? He slides in with his foot with a side approach, and gets near the ball of her foot, making contact with the front of her foot.

To this Follower step-over, we can add the Follower’s left foot sweep/drag of the Leader’s left foot, or a Follower right foot sweep/drag of the Leader’s right foot.

Next, we turned this into a fun pattern, whereby the Follower needs to employ good turn/hiro/molinete technique during her forward, side, back, side steps around the Leader. She needs to pivot and step well, and Leader needs to keep leading the turn well.


In the teapot embrace, Leader can lead the Colgada at the point of the back cross stepover as the Leader changes his weight to his left foot. There is not a lot of Colgada out movement here, but just enough to keep each other balanced, then returning everything to center, to step out.


Leader can use either leg, left or right, or on any of her steps.

The Leader leads the Colgada with a weight change, with his foot next to her lead leg/foot, which is a general rule for Colgadas. If the Leader enters the trailing leg/foot, then this would be a sacada (not a colgada). Colgada movement relates to the lead leg (not the trailing leg).

How to use the colgada in a functional sense?

(1) As a quick turn to give a “whee” sensation like doing the hurricane colgada.

(2) On the Follower’s right foot back cross step, to left foot colgada into to do a left foot wrap of the Leader’s right foot as she is returned back to axis.

We drilled a lot of the second option, with the wrap, on the both sides, left and right. Since the class didn’t look very good doing the wrapping, we backed up our exploration a little and worked on just wrapping the Leaders legs, left or right, from the Follower’s cross. For the wrap, the Leader lifts his heel, and provides his thigh to enable it to be wrapped. At the moment of the wrap, the Follower wants to be, and should be, on axis. The Follower sensation of her wrapping leg is like a whip in a linear fashion. We also tried to do double or triple wraps, which are achieved by the Leader playing with the Follower axis.

We did a lot of drilling of each part in this class, trying as much as possible to relate to what we did earlier in the first workshop.

After a question and answer summary, Maestros concluded with a demo to Piazzolla’s Milonga Del Angel.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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