Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Embrace (Int/Adv)

Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
Northampton, MA
October 23, 2011


Homer & Cristina Ladas Workshops in Northampton, MA

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Tango Body

The Feet (All Levels)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Workshop 1 – Int/Adv – The Legs

Workshop 2 – Int/Adv – The Hips

Premilonga Lesson: Floorcraft, Navigation and Etiquette

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Workshop 3 – Int/Adv – The Upper Body

Workshop 4 – Int/Adv – The Embrace


Video Courtesy of Kristin Balmer & Mariano Sana

Workshop 4 - The Embrace (Int/Adv)

Maestros gave us a choice of 4 things to work on:

(1) The Colgada-Volcada Connection

(2) Boleos – Forward and Backward

(3) Sacadas – Follower and Leader, but mostly Follower

(4) Changes of Embrace

The class chose to work on (1) The Colgada-Volcada Connection

We began with a trust exercise:


Here, the Follower has her feet hip-width apart. The Leader walks into her, knocking her off axis. The Leader enters her space, displacing the Follower. Then he/she/they catch each other.

Level 1: Both catch each other

Level 2: Leader catches Follower

Level 3: Follower catches Leader

We could do this from different angles: facing each other, or from the side. The Leader needs to knock the Follower off axis before he catches her, because falling needs to be involved.

Next, we played a:


There are three levels to this game:

(1) We hold each other

(2) Leader holds Follower

(3) Follower holds Leader

The Leader takes three small steps back, and then three small steps forward. The Follower’s feet remain fixed, so only her body tilts forward as the Leader steps back, and then he puts her back to axis as he steps forward.

From here, we worked on a simple pattern:


Leader left foot side step to sandwich the Follower’s right foot, then he

Expands the embrace in colgada energy, displacing her and sending her out, and then he brings her back in in a Collapsible Volcada of the Follower’s left foot.

We were to keep our movements small so that this is manageable.

Working on the individual pieces:

In the Volcada, in open embrace, the Leader side left foot finds symmetry in the Follower’s axis. His right foot steps around the Follower. He turns his body around the Follower’s center as a foundation to get it all together. The Leader’s left foot steps on the diagonal back, then he steps 2-3 times on the diagonal back to lead a small Volcada, and then he steps forward with his right foot.

Both Leader and Follower are compressing into each other, and there is a 1-to-1 exchange of energy in this compression, with Follower matching Leader’s energy. The Follower needs to have good tone in her core and imagine getting out of a swimming pool: pushing down to pull herself up, a she also needs to have the Leader’s support right away. The Follower should always try to face the Leader.

The Leader should be elegant in body position, turning his body toward the Follower to prevent mudslides (the Follower sliding away). The Leader turns his body as he leads the Follower into the concluding cross. This is a true Leader lead to the cross; Follower should not go into the cross on her own.

The shape of the Follower’s volcadaing foot is that of a half-moon or half-circle, where the Follower lets her left leg go out, then up and back in. Followers can practice making this shape without a partner against any wall to get the up, out and open footwork.

For the Follower’s volcada footwork, she can do it either Ballet style (with toe to floor) or Sassy style (with heel to floor). Note that in Sassy style, the hip drops a little, so she should be sure to have lift.


Here, the Leader does a windshield wiper lead, starting on the easy side first (Follower’s left foot volcada with weighted supporting right foot/leg). The Leader’s right foot drives toward the Follower’s axis. Follower does volcada with left foot, then right foot and the Leader leads the volcada on one side and then the other.


How to make the transition to close embrace? The Leader transfers the weight from his left to his right, then he sends the Follower out in the line of power. He should add a little bit of turn to get circularity in the subsequent Volcada. There are lots of things going on.

In the collapsible Volcada, the Leader takes his left foot back and leads the Volcada with his right foot driving the Follower back into a cross. The Collapsible volcada happens because the Leader can collapse the embrace in the volcada.

The Volcada is not so big because it initiates from the Colgada. The Follower still compresses into the Leader.

Maestros concluded with a demo to Agnes Obell’s Just So.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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