Monday, September 16, 2013

Baby Back Volcadas (Intermediate/Advanced)

Song: Araca La Cana by Osvaldo Fresedo
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
August 31, 2013, Denver Labor Day Tango Festival

First, we began with doing close embrace ochos with no pivot as a base of getting the Leader to lead the Follower to hook behind.

CHAPTER 1: “No-Pivot" Ocho
Leader: Imagine you are rollerblading down the boardwalk in your feet, but have NO shoulder or spine rotation in your upper body, and collecting in your footwork in between the steps.

Follower: Reach back with your right leg, and go across yourselves (your left hip), and open, reach back with the other leg, and across yourselves.  Open the hips without pivoting the supporting, standing leg so your shoulders do not rotate and there is no pivot in the spine.

Next, in a partnered exercise, we came together to do the No Pivot back ochos.  Here, we were to try to make the ochos symmetrical for both the Leader and the Follower.  Hints: there is a good (easy) side and a dark side.  The Leader’s left side is much easier.  Be careful to not do The Igor (where there Leader makes a big step and then a little step).  The Follower has to wait for the Leader in his collection, otherwise the embrace will inadvertently open or be lost.  The Follower should use connection with the floor to power her back and power the pressure she gives to the Leader. She should not leave the weight so soon, so that the pressure is constant and there are no air bubbles in the embrace.  She should build a little bit of resistance as the Leader prepares to go forward.  Both dancers should be clear, comfortable and consistent.

The Leader should really collect, trying to get his thighs, knees, and ankles to pass each other.  In double time, the Leader’s heels do not collect because it’s difficult. However, the Follower still needs to collect during her double time.  In regular time or half time, the Leader should always collect. 

To drill this concept, we practiced doing No-Pivot Ochos in regular time, half time and double time. We discovered that to make this most effective in terms of communication, there should be a bit of tension or pause before the double time.  The Leader should be like a panther getting ready for attack/to strike.

CHAPTER 2: Baby Back Volcada

Start with the hook behind.

The Leader’s forward steps are symmetrical.  For the hook behind, the Leader keeps his foot behind, transfers the weight from his left to right when the Follower’s hook behind happens and her weight goes from her left to her right. The Follower should stay in front of the Leader.

There are two exits:

(1)   The regular exit, which consists of back ochos, or
(2)   The Leader touches the Follower’s right thigh with his left foot forward step to the inside of the embrace.

Some students were creative/ambitious, and attempted to do this on the other side (the dark side). When doing it on the more difficult side, there is a cheat step to help you do it.  The Follower should cross really tight and deep to maintain connection with the Leader.

This is a lateral move, not a circular move.

The baby back volcada can be used to initiate a regular forward volcada.

We did some footwork exercises:
Cross behind while walking forward.  In circle formation at the perimeter of the room, the class practiced moving forward using back crosses to the center of the circle. Here we need to:
Bend the knee of the front leg
Stay the same height throughout
Keep chest up
Squeeze inner thighs
To make it more elegant, we were to imagine we were holding a big bowl of sleeping fish.
We would make a letter A with out feet

Maestros concluded with a class review and a demo to Fresedo’s Araca La Cana.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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