Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Body Spiral Connection: Overturned Movements (Intermediate-Advanced Class)

Song: Somebody That I Used to Know by Pentatonix (Goyte cover)
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
April 7, 2013, Yale Tango Fest

There are many examples and reasons why we do overturned movements:
-           Follower’s forward ochos with Leader’s forward sacadas
-           Leader’s back sacadas
-           Follower’s back sacadas

The first part of the class was dedicated to exploring the Overturned Ocho.

The Overturned Ocho
The secret to the Overturned Ocho is in how the Leader “attacks” the floor with his foot, giving it more energy. 

We drilled this concept, with the Leader instructed to start thinking about how much energy to give the Follower, with an eye to:
-           giving impulsive energy to lead an overturned movement, or
-           without giving impulse energy, but still lead an overturned movement.

The Follower does overturned forward ochos while the Leader walks forward. He can do a sacada to her trailing leg or not (just walk in between her feet). 

The Leader leads the Follower to walk forward into him while he does forward ochos.

This was a test of:
-           Communication
-           Posture
-           Elasticity of the embrace

ELASTICITY (this concept is very important)
In hand-in-hand embrace, the leader walks back and the Follower walks forward, but she takes her time and stays a little longer on her standing leg, so there is a very slight lean back, as she provides a little bit of resistance to help stabilize the movement.  Recall that in our hand-to-hand partnered ocho exercise, there is a slight lean away so that we balance each other.

In their observations of us, maestros noted that for the Follower’s overturned back ocho, the first two are fine, and then the rest look a little bit rushed and uncontrolled.

There are two different ways the Leader can walk into the Follower:
-           By doing regular forward sacadas to her trailing foot
-           By having a sexy forward ocho walk with more rotation/torsion/disassociation

He can also lead the Follower to
-           Walk straight
-           Walk with a slight ocho

In fingertip hand-to-hand hold, we held each other gently as if there was a big fish bowl filled with sleeping fish in between us.  We were also supposed to do these two exercises (Leader walking into Follower or Follower walking into Leader) in the line of dance.

The Leader hangs a little back, he should not push into the Follower when she is doing her ochos.  He should lean back to create balance.

Since Followers do not walk forward in the tango very much, they might find it difficult in walking forward to create a long step and also hang back.  To help, the Follower should lengthen her step by transferring the weight slower so that the Leader finds stability, connection and communication. She needs to work on this technique.

There are three options for the Follower’s foot movement in walking forward:
-           Going with toes first, then sliding more into the step
-           Going with heels first, weight flat back and then going to the middle
-           Going with toe reaching, then foot rolling so heel lands first and weight goes to the middle of the foot on transferring weight.
While each is a valid way of stepping forward, whatever option the Follower chooses, she should arrive with stability and not be wobbly.  Cristina uses the third option (toe reaching, then foot rolling with heel landing first), and notes that there is the risk of being short or pulling forward more with the first option (toes first).

The Lead for Impulse Energy
The source of Leaders’ power is in the floor and in the timing.

As an exercise, in fingertip hand-to-hand embrace, the Leader leads the Hiro (Turn/Molinete), with impulse at the point of the Follower’s ocho.

Application of the Impulse:
Maestros demonstrated two ways/flavors to lead ochos:
·         Mocha Java: mellow and sweet consistently throughout, like the ice cream flavor
·         Rocky Road: give a little more energy, like the bits of interesting exploding accents dotted throughout the overall smoothness, like the ice cream flavor

Leaders should use his foot and the floor to create impulse (not just their arms).  In attacking the floor, the four corners of his foot act like a section cup, sucking down but pushing up. One foot will be stronger than the other. We need to work on strengthening the weaker foot to have symmetry in our dance skills.

The Leader gives impulse to the Follower at her maximum tension (you will see the extreme lengthening in the diagonal folds of her dress/shirt) as she is about to transfer her weight, so just before her foot lands in the ocho step. 

The difference between the Ocho and the Hiro is who is the center of the axis:
-           Ocho: Follower’s axis is the focus
-           Hiro: Leader’s axis is the focus

Next exercise:
To illustrate the concept of Impulse, we applied it to the Ocho Parada, with the Leader giving the Follower impulse energy at the point right before she does her ocho.  As the Leader attacks the floor with his foot, the energy goes up into his center, into his embrace, which transmits to the Follower as impulse energy. 

Efficiency in tango
It is inefficient for Leaders to use their arms to lead the ocho.  We are on Earth, so there is gravity and we are connected to the Earth.  Thus, we should use this fact in our dance and use the floor.

Concluding comment:
There is more than one way to lead anything in tango.

Maestros concluded with a class review and demo to the Pentatonix (Goyte cover band) version of Somebody That I Used to Know.

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

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