Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Art of the Leg Wrap (All Levels Class)

Song: Sonar y Nada Mas by Alfredo de Angelis
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
April 7, 2013, Yale Tango Fest

Ganchos are in the family of leg wraps.
Communication is key
The Follower needs to do her part.

There are many families of leg wraps:
-           From Ochos
-           From Turns
-           From Crosses – the focus of our class

Chapter 1
The Leader leads the Follower to the cross.
He then puts either foot next to her right side of her crossed left foot and then leads her to wrap her right leg around his leg. 
At the point of the wrap, the Follower needs to be on axis so she doesn’t fall into the Leader.
The Leader sends her linearly back, as if for a straight back step, and on her return, his left knee comes forward in straight ahead Captain Morgan stance as he meets her half-way.
The Leader’s Captain Morgan knee needs to touch the Follower’s left inside knee so she feels contact and for him to lead the wrap.
The Follower should point the toe of the right foot at the point of the wrap.

Leader’s Captain Morgan Leg is Key
The Leader’s Captain Morgan stance with heel lifted off the ground accomplishes several important things:
-           Gives his leg more flexibility.
-           Gets his knee closer to her knee
-           Creates space between his legs for her to  wrap
In the wrap from the cross, at the point of the Captain Morgan stance (which in this case is with his leg forward instead of the off to the side), and where the Leader has come in to meet the Follower half-way on her return after he has sent her out, both his feet are weighted.  The weight is at the center, and the Leader is on axis. The Follower is also on axis during her wrap.

Follower’s Technique during the Wrap
Precursor: The Follower should do deep crosses in her feet.
The Follower should try to always keep her foot on the floor, even when it goes forward. Only when she feels the obstacle of his leg should she wrap around the meaty, fleshy part of his thigh (so higher than his knee).
The Follower creates the shape of the wrap.  The Leader leads it, but the way the Follower answers is all in her control.

Follower’s Exit: 2 options
-           Collect in place with foot staying on the floor
-           Knee up and collect at conclusion.
Either way, the Follower should not anticipate the next step as it could be a back step or a back ocho.

For the Leader’s forward Captain Morgan stance, he should not turn his knee outside as she is squeezing his leg with hers. Because of the joint, her knee bends.  “The thighs have eyes.”  Maestro illustrated this concept with a blind student in class.

Note that there are two back and forths:
  1. The Leader sends the Follower back in colgada-like movement and he goes back a little.
  2. Then he brings her forward to him and he stops.
In our drilling, the Leader should focus on feeling the Follower’s momentum and direct it in the wrap.   The Leader should cage the Follower, but must not send her too far back, otherwise she will take a step.  It is a very small, slight colgada feeling/movement, and then stop the energy, and try to get her to come forward.  As she comes back in, the Leader makes Captain Morgan leg contact.

Chapter 2 for the more advanced: Double (or Triple, Quadruple, etc) wraps

Music is the master.
Physical communication is key with the transfer of weight from one leg to the other, moving through the base.
The Leader’s heel remains lifted.

The Leader needs to do the lead for the double at the right time.  He has to catch the moment of time of the Follower leaving to lead the second one.  In leading a double or triple wrap, there is a rule: The Leader must lead the first one first (Follower cannot do the double or triple on her own accord).

For the Follower, it is difficult to steal a gancho or a wrap as it has to go with the music.  In this class, the Followers were instructed to NOT steal ganchos.

How to lead the double or triple wrap:
The Leader needs to do it while their thighs are still touching
The Leader should practice his Captain Morgan linear pulses.

For the Advanced: Doubles on one leg, then the other.  Maestros demonstrated this, but no one else tried it.

Chapter 3: Wraps from the Hiro (Turn/Molinete)
The Follower has to commit to her wrap. She should not be tentative.
The easy side is with the Leader turning to his right (counterclockwise).  After the Follower’s forward step, on that side step is when the Leader enters with his leg.  The Follower needs to have consistent long, reaching steps around the Leader.

Hint: The Leader needs to really open up his legs in full Captain Morgan stance to the side, so that his thigh is open and his heel is up.

For the Leader, it is a slow transfer of weight. He should also stay low and not rise.

Demonstration Only:  Sequential alternating wraps
There was a lot of student interest in this after Maestros performed it at Friday’s opening milonga.
Leader does a tight leg wrap of her lead leg so that the Follower gets almost a boleo.
Leader steps long and away, doing a tight right leg with Captain Morgan turned out, and then a cowboy left leg with Captain Morgan turned in.

Demonstration Only: Overturned Ganchos
This is where the Follower’s leg goes back in between the Leaders.
Maestros concluded with a class review and a demo to Sonar y Nada Mas by Alfredo de Angelis.

Notes courtesy of Anne at http://scoutingtour.blogspot.com


Edmund said...

Thanks for these posts! There are a lot of great details. I always wondered what the classes given by Homer and Christina were like. How did you find their workshops?

Ana de San Francisco said...

Hi Edmund,

The Yale Tango Fest is the tango festival closest to where I live, so there were flyers at a milonga that I go to a lot. If you want to know specifically where Homer and Cristina are teaching, you can visit their web sites:
to see their travel calendar or to contact them directly regarding their travel plans.