Saturday, June 28, 2014

Workshop 2 - Turning and Ochos (Int/Adv)

Song: Yo No Se Que Me Han Hecho Tus Ojos by Francisco Canaro
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
May 26, 2014, Ardingly College, England

In sugarbowl embrace, the armpits can breathe, but the arms do not flop. They are part of your torso.  Feel how engaged they are to your shoulder blades.

Rotate: see how much you can do it, with the turn equal in each direction.

Leaders should create the primarily lead through his spine.

In doing ochos, the Follower holds on to the biceps/triceps of the Leader. The Follower’s back is engaged and feet are connected to the floor.

The Follower’s hip rotation is amplified 2-3x more to what the Leader’s spine is doing. Her hips are an ocho factory.  The Follower can pivot more than she.  But receive the circular energy, absorb it, and let it travel through her body. When the Follower is in the middle of her step, the Leader should start his spinal rotation.

In open embrace, sugar bowl embrace.
We did slot ochos.
Leader steps side to side and rotates his chest.  Leader should be even in his torso turns, and wait for the Follower to finish pivoting.  Do not rush.
As the Follower arrives on her new leg, he turns his spine a little to release her ocho.
The Follower’s heels can skim/be near the floor so she is nearly on the 4 corners of her feet and ready to do another ocho and is stable.

3 rules for this exercise:
(1) Rule of the embrace: Follower can pivot as much as she can without breaking the embrace.  She needs to pivot a lot.
(2) Rule of the hip: Follower’s thigh touches the Leader’s thigh after the pivot.  The Follower really steps around long and circular around the Leader.  The Leader’s axis is tight like a willow tree, not wide like an Oak Tree.

The Leader needs to give the Follower enough time to finish her pivot before starting the turn to the other side.  Do not lean toward each other.  Take your vertical axis.  Follower foot placement is important.

(3) Rule of the Nose: Thumb to pinky distance away.  Leader and Follower noses should be the same distance away – always – thumb to pinky.

Those are the three rules for the exercise.

Leader’s feet are together as he is a willow tree.  Plant the roots and rotate the upper body 45% (so no step) although he can do one side step to start it. His chest rotation leads her forward ocho.

Concept of the turn into the ocho.
How does the Leader know when to lead a side step versus an ocho?  How does the follower know when to do an ocho instead of a side step? Often there can be unclear communication.

In turns, the Follower is slightly behind the Leader, so the Leader can catch her step and lead an ocho.  Being a little behind gives a little resistance, which is what we want.  The Follower resists by delaying her step and waiting for the Lead.

Exercise: Doing a turn with the Leader doing pacman footwork.

Follower makes side step around the Leader, so when doing the back step she is half way there. 

All the steps of the turn (forward, side and back) are all important.

Do a turn to the left and to the right.

The Follower needs to hold onto the Leader.

The leader is a narrow willow tree.

The Follower holds his arms and allows the Leader to pull her around. 

Leader: at some point, do a Forward ocho and change the direction of the turn.

In open embrace, we can add elasticity to the movement.

In the turn, The Leader’s left hand/arm pulls the Follower around.

She should give a bit of resistance in her Right hand so she can stay a little behind the Leader and the Leader can lead the ocho through his spine.

Leader does a little quick pulse through his spine to release the tension in his body, and that’s how she knows it’s an ocho instead of going to the side in continuation of the turn, and the Leader also releases his right hand a little so he can allow the Follower to do her turn.

Exercise: In teapot embrace, doing the ocho parada.

In H&C’s class, the turn is done with no automatic double time during any of the steps, so that the Leader needs to lead all the steps of the turn (the Follower does not go on autopilot).

Maestros concluded with a class quiz and a demo to Canaro's Yo No Se Que Me Han Hecho Tus Ojos.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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