Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Legs (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 1 - The Legs (Int/Adv)

We began with removing our shoes.

With our feet hip-width apart, there was about 6-8 inches between our two feet.

We were to look down and consider them as if they looked like the letter H.

We were to distribute the weight evenly between our two feet, backward and forward, and side to side. We were stand up as straight as we can, and envision a line going down from the top of the center of our heads going through the middle of our bodies. We were to push from the waist down, and also push from the ribcage up. This creates more room in our torso. We should keep our knees soft. Then we had flexion in our ankles, moving our weight toward the ball of our feet, and then back up to axis to the sweet spot. We should imagine a hanger pulling our chest up and slightly forward. Then again we go back to axis.

Curling the toes creates a gap in the arch, which is bad for stability, so we should not do it. It’s important that we spread our toes, and imagine that our feet have four corners (where the pinky toe is, and where the future or current bunion is, and at the left and right sides of the heel). In standing, we should press the four corners of our feet into the floor and lift up the inside parts of our legs, lifting the inner thighs. Here, we can feel more strength in our arch. In dancing, we should be on all four corners, the front two corners or three corners (two front corners and inside back corner), but not on the two outside corners.

Standing with our weight on the right foot, we put our left foot beside it so that only one foot has weight on it. We were to try to push down on the four corners of our right foot, but lift up in the body, lifting the inner thigh. We should not have any tension in our butt. Here, we are creating length as we ground ourselves.

End of Exercise.


Our homework assignment and goal for our exercises in class was to work the material in close embrace, but to not have our heads touch. After our class work was done, we could dance like we usually do, likely with heads touching. We would ponder whether it felt different and whether we could switch back and forth.

It is not wrong to touch heads, but there is a good way to do it and a bad way to do it (pushing your head into each other or when the head becomes distracting). The class rule we would employ for our workshops is to not touch heads. This would give us a greater sense of control, and will help us be OK with coming off each other as needed.

Our topic for this workshop is the Legs, and our focus would be amplifying the lead with our legs.


In a partnered exercise, the Leader tries to lead the Follower do step back by using just the flexion in his ankles. The Follower has her hands on the front of the Leader’s rib cage below his chest or at the tops of his hips. As the Leader tires to move the Follower’s leg, their point of contact is through the Follower’s arms at the Leader’s lower ribs or top of his hips. The Follower needs to have tone in her arms, and they should be like Spaghetti Al Dente, not too soft and not too firm, and her arms should be connected to her back. The Leader feels a bit of Follower resistance so that he knows her body is behind.


Next, we went onto a simple pattern.

Leader does side step, weight change, snakes outside of Follower’s feet without moving Follower at all (sneak attack), flex at ankle, whereby Follower does a small step back, and then Leader makes a big/giant forward step, driving Follower to do a big step into the cross.

The Follower needs to maintain compression energy the entire time, otherwise the Leader will get the sensation that he is falling forward. She should be consistent in her embrace/compression energy so that there are no bubbles/hiccups. To do this, the Follower puts pressure into the floor to put energy into her back and body into the embrace. Both dancers should keep their heads upright and floating, and Follower’s steps should glide into the floor. She should also not rush her cross, but do it slowly.

The Leader’s surprise step of his left foot does not have any weight to it. The tilt of the Leader’s body is what causes the Follower to step back. He should not rotate his chest/shoulders at all. As he puts weight on his left foot, he has a small rotation in his shoulders. On his right foot step forward, there is a big rotation on his big forward step to drive Follower into the cross.

The Follower’s biggest challenge is knowing where to land the first short step (and when to put weight fully on that step). This all depends on how far the Leader’s body comes forward. If the Follower is unsure, she should make the step a little shorter. She should not lose compression, and really pay attention to how the Leader moves his center.

Note that the compression does not stay the same throughout. It builds. In compression, the Follower should focus on horizontal energy (not vertical energy).


The Leader does one or a few side step left touch steps, then he twists going into a split pivot 90 degrees counterclockwise while at the same time slightly hugging and lifting the Follower to control her weight change. The Follower needs to wait and stay with the Leader, and then they step out with the Follower taking a step back with her left foot.


Legs are connected to our feet, which should be connected to the floor. We build energy through the floor up, not through the embrace.

Four corners of the feet

The Leader’s cheat steps helps to develop compression because to add more tilt and so that we can support each other more.

Engage the floor with the feet and legs.


(1) Touching heads. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it, which will give us a headache or crick in our neck. We should let our heads float.

(2) Bending our knees and changing height unnecessarily; not staying level

(3) Controlling our lines when we step (when we step back, it should be straight).

Maestros also demonstrated Pattern C, to show us the easiest way to get into the material. Here, the Leader steps around the Follower with his right foot, then splits the weight, then gets into the 8CB.

Maestros concluded with a demo to Demare’s No Te Apures Carablanca

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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