Saturday, June 28, 2014

Workshop 1 - Compression and Resistance (Int/Adv)

Song: The Luckiest by Ben Folds
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
May 26, 2014, Ardingly College, England

In partnership, we began with working on compression walking.
Using the four corners of our feet, we need to active the leg, rolling the weight to the back of the foot or to the front of the foot.
No hiccups or air pockets.
Back and forth.
Have elbows bent in.
We were to maintain the same distance whether we were walking forward or backward.

In partnership
Hand in hand embrace, with the Leader’s focus on his palm when going forward and on his finger pads when walking backwards as he leads this exercise.

When going backward, we should hang back away from each other a little, matching the resistance, but holding the tension.

We should spread our lats, have wide rib cags, with elbows pointed down.

Follower should not grip Leader’s fingers, but be a bit soft.

Rolling through our ankles to the back to the last two corners of our feet, using the energy in the hands to create resistance.  We should take long reaching steps and maintain compression.

Why is this exercise important?

For Communication.

The Leader always knows where the Follower is.
They are in balance.

We should exaggerate this exercise so that you can really feel the rolling of weight forward and back so that we create resistance.

Back of fingers to are to the other person’s palm

We are like in an A frame when walking forward with our compression energy
And like a V frame when walking back as we resist away from each other.

Follower: as you go back, engage your back.
Really roll through and collect in between each step.
To create a stronger connection with the floor, you should push more into the floor to create compression.

Homework: Do this exercise from time to time and your walk will improve.

“Superassociation” – Use the floor to get energy to use into our legs, back and core.  Whether you are compressing forward or resisting back, it is all based on how the standing leg connects with/ uses the floor.

In close embrace, the Follower gives the Leader forward compression as they walk backward. 

Use the floor to power our whole bodies.

Change of direction: 2 different methods:
(1)   Follower keeps compression forward as the Leader walks back. (They are plastered to each other.)
(2)   Follower expands back more and embrace opens up a little and there is resistance.
In (2), the Follower’s back in the Leader’s forearm is where the resistance connection is (you can slide a piece of paper between where their two bodies are).  The Follower widens shoulder blades and breathes in.

Exercise: To explore the embrace concept.
In partnership, the Leader walks outside partner.  The Leader feels resistance because the Follower is connected in her arms and breathing back.  She will feel more stable if she resists in the back as he walks back and she walks forward.

The Follower’s hips should be underneath her so she can walk forward with strength and not fall into it. 
This is good for transitions from close to open embrace and back to close embrace.
The Follower matches the leader when he opens his embrace and takes his axis. So when he takes his axis, so does she.

Follower should stay longer on her standing leg before moving to her new leg.  Use the floor to transfer the weight.
Completely arrive and use the floor to make a new step.
Actively think about going from 4 corners to 4 corners to 4 corners of the feet.
Do not just pass through the floor to the next step.

In Resistance technique, the Leader should work with whatever method the Follower knows. So he can stay better connected with whatever Follower he is dancing with.

The Follower maintaining compression tells her reaching leg how long her step should be.  The Leader might do just a small step, doing just a change of weight to get a small step.  Or he may do a long drive forward to get a large weight change to get a large step. 

Exercise in partnership:
Dancing doing short steps and long steps, with big or small weight changes from the Leader and the Follower matching the compression to step in the correct size. 

The 3 C’s of tango:

If you have those in leading and following, you have a language.

Maestros concluded with a class quiz and a demo to Ben Folds’s The Luckiest.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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