Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Hips (Int/Adv)

Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
Northampton, MA
October 22, 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 2 - The Hips (Int/Adv)

We began with the Follower doing forward ochos, not falling into each other. We could also mix it up with the ocho cortado (done circularly).


In open embrace, the Leader plants himself to lead the Follower to do ochos. After the Follower’s forward ocho, her step needed to be close enough to the Leader so that as she completes her pivot, her hips/thighs touch the Leader’s. To do this, she needs to have long, snaky forward steps around the Leader, and to step close to his hips, so that after her pivot, they graze each other’s thighs.

In our exercise, the Leader uses teapot embrace with a fixed spout (left hand, arm).

Our goal was to touch the Leader’s thigh on either side. This exercise is to help us practice how we can get really close to each other without leaning into each other. The Leader tries to rotate his torso 45 degrees to lead the Follower’s ochos/ocho cortado. As always he should keep his chest up and let his head float.

Then we drilled:

Ocho cortado in close embrace to

Regular ochos in open embrace

For both the ocho and ocho cortado, the Leader’s feet should be together as his torso rotates, and the Follower should not lawnmower over the Leader’s feet. The Follower spirals with her whole body, starting from the top of her head. She should not rush, but wait for the Leader to move her, inviting her into the space. The Leader should turn her hips as much as possible on the beat.

As we tried to do this, the Rule of the Nose was introduced.


Follower should try to keep her nose about the same distance from the Leader throughout the sequence/dance. She should not go too far away or come in too closely at times. Her noes should go after her hips.

Back to our pattern, the test is that if the Leader tilts forward, it will still work, but the Leader and Follower should be on their own respective axes, really straight up and down. The Leader needs to work with his feet together, otherwise it will feel like he has a wider girth.

We worked on this transition from open to close embrace in sugar bowl embrace (Leader’s hands at the small of his back, elbows out, Follower’s hands on his triceps). To this, we added the parada.

So the Leader and Follower are in close embrace and tilted forward toward each other at the point of the ocho, but as Leader does the parada (on the close side of the embrace), he returns fully upright to axis, and Follower matches by returning to axis as well.

To understand the Leader’s parada footwork, it is basically the Leader’s lapice footwork with no weight on that leg while it does a circle and point motion as he pivots on his weighted leg fully.

We drilled this simple ocho parade pattern, really focusing on getting the transition from close embrace to open embrace, and back to close embrace.

Leaders: Do not use the right hand to pull the Follower back into you. His tilt forward during the final Follower’s forward ocho should signal to her that they get back into close embrace.


The Follower can pivot as much as she can/wants without breaking the embrace.

With the ocho parada, it is a full pivot for the Follower, and we played with having it be a parada or a regular forward ocho, also employing the Rule of the Embrace and Rule of the Hip.


We also practiced the Leader’s lapice footwork so that we could translate it into sliding in and touching the Follower’s foot in the parada.

It is important that the Leader have good connection with the Follower’s hips.

Maestros concluded with a class summary followed by a short demo to Canaro’s Sentimiento Gaucho.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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