Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
September 20-22, 2013, TangoPulse Workshops in Northampton, MA
We began with a warm-up dance, with walking to the cross, doing a resolution, and then walking to the cross again, with a goal and focus on how to make it musically interesting to our partner.
There are several ways to teach musicality. The two general approaches are (1) academic and (2) intuitive.
In this class, we will try to do both.
We were to walk very rhythmically to the cross where the Leader steps to the left, does a weight change, and walks the Follower to the cross. The walk to the cross is in the cross system. The point is to be very rhythmic.
For the first drill song, the most important thing for the Leader and the Follower is to hear the strong beat and step on the strong beat.
The Leader leads the double time into the Follower’s cross, but he does not push her into it.
The Follower should pay attention to how her left leg is, and be able to control how she pushes off that leg and how it arrives to the cross. For the Follower, whether it is single time or double time, she needs to be aware of how each leg is working.
For the Leader’s embellishment / pretty thing, he can do a front cross (of his left foot over his right foot) or series of front crosses instead of a back cross as he plays during the pause before walking the Follower to the cross.
Next, we drilled pausing, and then exploding into the QQS rhythmically leading the Follower into the cross. The Leader can take his time before and after, setting himself up for the attack, and doing his Leader embellishment / pretty thing.
The goal for this drill is to:
- Control the flow of energy
- Not make the Follower feel pushed around
- Change the energy or quality, which requires control
- Need to practice to be aware and cultivate that skill.
It takes practice to hear the music and in the meantime also train our bodies to prepare to attack.
We need to be grounded (the act of not falling).
We drilled to two Donato songs:
Sinofia de Arrabal
Se Va La Vida
We focused on having a solid base, thinking about the idea of (positive) tension (not negative tension) and release, using compression right before we explode into the QQS.
So the goal was to:
To help us understand energy and compression, we did our
TAI CHI TANGO exercise
Tai Chi Tango is an exercise to help us work on our connection, really mirror and match our partner’s energy, and feel compression. Leader and Follower face each other and are hand to hand (or palm to palm). The Leader does a big, flowy circular motion with each of his hands with a big range of motion, releasing his shoulder joints and his arms going into his body, engaging strongly or subtly and using his breath. At some point, he stops and gives compression. The Follower's response needs to be immediate to mirror and match the circular motion and to give resistance when she feels the Leader compress, giving the Leader the same amount of energy that he gives her. This was first done with no music.
Then we added music. With Tai Chi hands, we were to focus on the music, giving compression at the accent points in the music, with the Follower waiting for the Leader to initiate the compression. Follower’s eyes are closed for this exercise. She needs to respond in kind to the Leader’s compression, depending on the energy he gives her. We can change the flavor of the embrace with compression to create a surprise with music. We also switched roles with the Follower doing the initial compression and the Leader responding in kind. This exercise helps us to get in synch with how we each hear and communicate what we are hearing in the music.
Back to the step, the Leader can do a series of back crosses during his pause, keeping the Follower still, before he explodes to lead her into the cross. After his series of back crosses, the Leader steps forward with his left foot to lead the Follower to the cross.
The resolution from the cross can be the Leader’s right foot parada to the Follower’s right foot pasada to the close side of the embrace, directly into another Leader’s right foot parada to the Follower’s left foot pasada to the open side of the embrace. During this sequential parada/pasada, the Follower should look at the Leader and make eye contact. Note that both dancers need to separate and be on axis during this.
Toward the end of class, we were to combine the elements of the first idea (using tension and pausing in preparation to explode into the movement) with the second idea (paradas/pasadas, being on axis during pivots, and the Leader letting the Follower out).
The Follower needs to be on axis at the point of her pivot in between her sequential pasadas, so the Leader releases the embrace and the Follower physically into the cross, then she takes her axis as she pivots so she is able to look into the Leader’s eyes.
The Leader’s right arm release is with his shoulder to elbow; he should not just throw her out with his whole arm.
Maestros concluded with a class quiz and demo to diSarli’s La Capilla Blanca.
Notes courtesy of Anne at http://scoutingtour.blogspot.com