Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Overturned Gancho/Sacada Odyssey (Advanced "Exploration" Class)

Song: El Rey de Bosque by Francisco Canaro
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
New York City
October 15, 2011


Homer & Cristina Ladas Workshops in New York City:

Weekend Theme: The Body-Spiral and Body-Axis

Saturday Theme: "Exploring the Body-Spiral"

2.30pm: The Overturned Gancho/Sacada Experience Made Easy (Intermediate "Foundation" Class)

4.30pm: The Overturned Gancho/Sacada Odyssey (Advanced "Exploration" Class)


4.30pm: The Overturned Gancho/Sacada Odyssey (Advanced "Exploration" Class)

Video Courtesy of Luis Campos

This was an exploratory class that built on the first class.

We would work on two musical ideas:

Repeat the movement (i.e., doing double ganchos)

Change the speed (doing it really fast or really slow)

Communication is key.

We were to explore the mechanics of slow versus fast (slow can be more difficult) and repeating the movement. Here, the Leader has to lead the first gancho. The second gancho can be led by the Leader or stolen by the Follower.

Again, in the gancho it was reiterated that the Follower needs to really let her leg swing so that the Leader can know clearly where he needs to be. The Follower should not change height: she should stay tall whether she is short or tall. She should really go for the chicken thigh when she ganchos (don’t hold back or be timid about the gancho). In leading the double gancho, the movement is shorter, with a shorter movement in the Leader's torso.



Next, we worked on a very simple sequence of the Follower's back sacada.

The Leader's footwork: side step left, right foot forward, to pivot 90 degrees into a left foot side step continuing in the line of previous the right foot forward step.

Here, Follower does a right foot back sacada of the Leader's trailing right foot on his left foot side step.

For the Leader, it is important that he continuously moves his torso so that the Follower does a 100% pivot/spiral with her legs/feet collected before stepping back in a back sacada.

Since the Follower needs to pivot so much (100%), she needs to wake up her ocho factory (her hips).

We worked on this concept by going from close embrace to open embrace, while waking up and firing up the Follower's ocho factory. For the Follower, there should be fire in her hips, but ice in her back/back ocho step as if there was an egg underneath her heel. She should transfer the weight nice and easy, as if letting the air out of a tire.

We began with close embrace no-pivot ochos, to close embrace pivoted ochos, to open embrace pivoted ochos, with the sacada from the open embrace back ocho transition.

Are exploratory phase of the class also included experimenting with leading Follower's gancho or Follower's back sacada using the footwork above. The difference in the two came from the spiral energy and the lead energy. For the back sacada, the rotation has to be continuous to finish before transferring the weight or stepping. Regarding the Leader's footwork, on the last step, if the Leader makes his left foot side step closer to the Follower, he leads a gancho. If his left foot side step is in line or slightly away from the Follower, it is a sacada.

The secret for the Leader helping the Follower get more out of her ocho factory (hip momentum and foot pivot), is that he attacks the floor with his foot to tap into the Follower's spiral energy to get her to pivot more dynamically. Here, she will feel more connection and energy. This is called impulse leading (or impulse ochos). The Leader should not and cannot force the Follower to do more pivoting.

To work on getting more pivot and spiral, the Follower can work on her ochos at home against the wall. In partnership, she can do forward ochos and back ochos in open hand in hand embrace with no leader and follower role, twisting her upper body and make the disassociation more extreme so that she can coax 100% spiral.

After the class review, Maestros demo'd the material.

Nocturne Milonga @ Dancesport, with premilonga lesson taught by Homer & Cristina Ladas.

Video Courtesy of Luis Campos

Our lesson focused on primarily fun and something you could do at the milonga that night. We would work on the fundamental concepts. Our music for the evening was Canaro.

First, Maestros showed us a pattern to see how we would deal with it. It is a nice tango surprise that can be done in close embrace.

In close embrace, rock step of Leader’s left foot forward (Follower’s right step back), to his right foot cross behind, to catch the Follower’s right foot forward outside step with his left foot front cross foot to the right side of his right foot.

So the Leader steps left foot forward into her, his right foot crosses behind, the weight goes to his right foot, he pivots on his right foot, the left foot is the trap foot that stretches a little across the front of his right foot to catch her right foot, (he can pivot a little to catch her more easily) to left foot exit, collect and go out.

For the Follower, her right foot goes back without weight during the rock step. As the Leader pivots, her right foot extends and reaches in a right foot front cross step to the outside of the close side of the embrace, reaching around the Leader with no weight on her foot so he can drag her foot to a side step, and then pivot. When she makes her right foot extension and reach it should be around the Leader, and it should be long and reaching, unweighted step.

To really test our leading with the chest ability, we did this simple sequence in Sugar Bowl Embrace, to get in touch with how the Leader uses his body to lead the turn. He needs to open up his hips/shoulders/chest. This embrace helps to develop the Leader’s body lead.

The Leader should also pay attention to his footwork, making it as pretty as possible with no sickling feet.

The Leader should not tilt, but keep things straight and horizontal as he rotates counterclockwise.

The fundamental technique behind the lead for this sequence is the turn (molinete).

We worked on matching the timing of this step to the QQS rhythm, and taking the Follower out on the next strong beat.

Maestros concluded with a demo to Canaro’s El Rey de Bosque

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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