Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Boleo and Sacada Connection (Intermediate)

Song: Bahia Blanca by Carlos DiSarli
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
May 25, 2014, Ardingly College, England

Video not available.

We began with an independent walking exercise, walking forward and backward, as if we are holding a big beach ball, and then adding several different boleo footwork movements while walking forward or walking back:

Stay on the Right foot
Engage the four corners of the standing leg.

On our right foot
Reach back with our left as we transfer the weight
Do a forward boleo with the right foot

Reach back with our right foot
Transfer weight
Forward boleo with left foot

Start on right foot forward
Transfer weight
Do a back boleo with our left foot

Start on left foot forward
Transfer weight
Do a back boleo with our right foot

Step forward with our left foot
Right foot back boleo into
Right foot forward boleo

Step forward with our right foot
Left foot back boleo into
Left foot forward boleo

Exercise in partnership (using fingertip hold): Doing forward ochos together, and stepping around each other (instead of away) to the trailing foot
Keep head up and back
Present yourself
Pivot as much as you can without breaking the fingertip hold
Step toward back leg
Do it as slow as you need to
The point is to do it as well as you can
Take large steps
The limit is the embrace
Shoulders down and ribcage wide

Exercise in partnership (using fingertip hold): Forward ochos into forward boleos
Be in balance
Take your time
The toe points to the ground at the height of the boleo (do not sickle the foot).
The foot should be as if it is striking a match, and going from flexed to pointed.
The power of the boleo comes from how well you do your ocho, so it’s important to do a good ocho step prior to doing the boleo
Then Boleo
Take longs steps in the ocho, reaching and then pivoting.

Boleo and Sacada
The Leader can lead the ocho in several different ways, both of which still involve twists in the Leader’s spine:
(1)   stepping with her
(2)   leading the Follower to walk around the Leader

The Follower receives and amplifies the twists in the Leader’s spine through the rotation of her hips.

The Follower takes long, reaching steps around the Leader without pushing him off his axis.

The Leader can start the ocho and do sacadas at any point by doing an opposition lead for the ocho.

There are many types of ochos: Mocha Java, Rocky Road, and Chunky Monkey, where the Leader gives a lot of energy.  The Leader can have lots of energy when he steps into the space that the Follower is leaving when doing the sacada. 

In fingertip hold
With ochos where Leader steps around the Follower.  The Leader sacadas with either foot the Follower’s trailing foot.

There is send energy in the ocho.
The Wall is where the limit happens
The rebound/contra energy is where the boleo happens.

In our exercise, the Leader should try to make the Follower feel the limit.
The Leader tries to get a feel of how the Follower does her ochos.
The Leader sends the Follower around her standing leg (after he sacadas her trailing foot) until she feels the limit of as far as she can go.

The Leader is right there supporting her.

The Leader should not overfocus on his arms, but should just keep sending her until she reaches her limit, really surround the Follower’s base, standing, pivoting leg.  He needs to be next to that axis so she doesn’t fall.

Ochos are rotations based on the Follower’s axis.

The Leader goes in the direction of the Follower’s boleo (99% send).

The Leader’s Sacada
If he goes in at an angle (with his back pocket to her), he can take an extra step around her to give her more rotation in her boleo.

The Follower’s Boleo
After the boleo, be conscious of how you are putting your leg down back to collected state (foot is pointed).

The Leader needs to turn his spine more to connect everything better and don’t step too far away from the Follower at the point of the boleo.

Follower should not raise her leg too soon, because it compromises the Follower’s axis unnecessarily and spills the energy.  She should be aggressive and amplify the energy the Leader gives her. 

Tango is “romanticized physics”.

Followers should practice doing ochos by herself, making them as pretty and as strong as possible. She can do this behind the backs of two chairs, in front of a dresser, against a wall, in a dance studio at the barre, etc., so she can see how well she is doing.

Leaders should practice leading ocho and boleos using the sugarbowl embrace so he can learn about the connection of his body and the floor.  The Leader’s right hand often stops or forces the Follower instead of enabling her.

Follower side sacada to Leader:
Follower’s with boleo
Leader’s sacada with Leader stepping across, stepping around the Follower’s axis.
Follower’s left foot boleo
Leader transfers his weight to his left foot, then pivots on his left foot
Follower’s left foot steps to Leader’s right foot in a side sacada.

The Follower needs to hang onto the Leader when she does her boleo.

Leaders: Do not rely too much on your right hand, otherwise the Follower might get lazy and not hang on enough.  (Doing this in teapot or sugarbowl embrace will help both dancers with this.)

Follower needs to maintain her axis at the point of the boleo.

The Follower controls the boleo.

In doing the boleo, try to create a “thwack” noise.

There are three ways of leading ochos:
With (side) – Mocha Java
Around (rotation) – Rocky Road
Opposition – Chunky Monkey

Adding sacadas increases power.

After doing the Follower’s boleo, the Leader can lead a hiro or sacada.

Maestros concluded with a class quiz and a demo to DiSarli’s Bahia Blanca.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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