Friday, June 7, 2013

Body Spiral Fundamentals (Intermediate)

Song: Soy Aquel Viajero by Carlos Di Sarli
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
May 25, 2013, England International Tango Festival (at Ardingly College, Haywards Heath, West Sussex)

The Leader’s Spiral
The Leader’s embrace is the Sugarbowl (which used to be the Tea Kettle embrace). This is also called the Less Blame embrace because the Follower can’t blame the Leader. This embrace empowers the Follower to hold onto the Leader and learn how to hold on in a positive manner, using horizontal energy (not using vertical energy).  The Follower’s arms are nice and elastic, allowing the embrace to open up or contract as needed, and never being stuck rigidly in just one articulation.

For the pattern:
The Leader turns into the line of dance, paying attention to how it starts and ends.

The Leader on his left foot pivots while he does 1-2 lapices with his Right foot.  The Leader has to turn a lot so that at the end of the pattern, they are facing the line of dance.  The Follower’s steps need to be long and near the Leader.

The Pattern:
Leader’s footwork:
Left foot side step
Right foot forward
Weight change to left foot
Right foot tuck to with change on his left foot, doing 1-2 lapices with his Right foot, to Right foot parada on close side (as Follower does hiro/turn/molinete clockwise around the Leader) to Follower’s right foot, then she steps forward around the Leader with her left foot in her pasada.

Follower’s footwork:
Right foot side step
Left foot back step
Right foot

Follower should keep her chest up and take long steps close to the Leader.
Do not rush or accelerate through.
The Follower’s steps on the strong beat, with one whole beat for the pivot.
Enjoy the turn.

The Secret to this:  Timing
When does the Leader start the pivot?
On the Follower’s back pivot is when the Leader starts his pivot so that their pivots are coordinated.

The Leader’s chest allows his upper body to disassociate from the lower body.  The Leader sends the Follower with his right shoulder.

The Follower allows each foot to center and arrive to use that foot to power the next step.  Completely arrive on each step to prepare for the next step.  Each of the Follower’s step on the floor has equal value. Each step is worth $100 (or £100).

We should do this pattern in the line of dance, so the Leader needs to be aware of where he is facing.

Follower: How to keep distance consistent to Leader? 
  1. Elasticity of the embrace
  2. Distance of the hips, which will dictate how much the Follower has to open or close

The Leader’s standing leg is the axis of the circle, which helps the Follower walk around him.

Here the class was split with Leaders with Homer and Follower’s with Cristina

Followers: worked on 3 and 4 point turns
Leaders: worked on Leader’s spiral

Washing Machine Exercise
We start rotating the ribs before it deadpans, releasing the hips, and allowing the hips to get ahead of the ribs, and pull the ribs around.
The washing machine exercise helps us to get more disassociation in the body and to really focus on moving from the top first, and then down, or moving from the bottom first, and then up.  This exercise can be done on either weighted leg, and in either direction. Our homework is to practice all the options to work this movement into our muscle memory.

What is the fundamental way to turn?
Block turn: Shoulders on top of hips, kicking the heel around
Adding spiral

Do them, and then turn 90 degrees and point.  Do this with either foot.  Try getting to 180 degrees.
Reverse spiral is going on, so it enhances the turn.

A solo drill, with the Leader’s arms in sugar bowl, start to practice disassociation, releasing the hips, and doing lapices alone.  With a Follower, it’s easier because she helps stabilize the Leader. When the Leader does it alone, it’s more difficult.

Exercise: In close embrace, turns with Follower tucked footwork. 
In open embrace, fast with dancers going slightly away from each other at the chest/upper body.

Exercise: In Leader-to-Leader partnership, each one does a 4-point turn (Forward, Side, Back Side), etc. 

The dancers were then brought back together to drill the pattern again, based on their individual exercise where they refined their technique.

Don’t let rib cage get ahead of hip bone.  Follower needs to help keep the Leader balanced when he is pivoting on one foot.

Maestros concluded with a class quiz and a demo to Soy Aquel Viajero by Carlos Di Sarli.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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