Monday, June 1, 2015

Back Sacadas (Advanced)

Song: Les Jours Tristes by Yann Tiersen
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
England International Tango Festival
May 25, 2015, Ardingly College, England

The class focused on doing continuous back sacadas to each other, both Leader and Follower.  Both Leader and Follower have similar roles when doing their back sacadas, and both roles are based on the technique of turns (molinetes/hiros).  In doing back sacadas, we have the opportunity to replace the step of our partner with our own step.

Leader's footwork

Follower's footwork (molinete/turn/hiro)
Right foot forward step

Left foot back
Weight change to left

Right foot side
Right foot long back step past Follower's foot

Left foot forward (transfer weight to left foot and pivot)
Right foot pivot counterclockwise

Left foot back sacada of Follower's trailing left foot

Right foot side step
Leader: Stay tall. Do not collapse in chest.  Do not raise feet off the ground, caress the floor.  The Leader should not change height at all during his sacada.  He should not crunch down or search for the sacada.  It is OK to cheat on the back sacada step by instead of stepping straight back, he can step across the line (so it’s a back cross step, not a back open step).

Follower: In the forward step, walk toward the Leader, not away from him, as it’s a continuation of the turn.  As usual with all molinete/hiro/turn technique, take long reaching side steps around the Leader.

Leader: You should also have good molinete/hiro/turn technique, with good energy in your left hand, a solid spout to be able to pull the Follower as she goes around you.  (A broken left hand/spout of teapot will block her molinete and stall her progression around you.)  Your right hand can engage and disengage.

2 Leader Secrets:

The Leader’s arms/shoulders are like opening and closing gates.  If one gate is open (back), he needs to close the other side by bringing it forward.  This is a weird arm position that enables him to do disassociation to do his back sacada.  So the Leader keeps pulling his partner with his left hand/arm in closed gate position (forward) in the turn before his back sacada.  The right hand can open and the left hand can close, and vice versa depending on the relative position of dancers and who is doing the sacada and what the Leader is leading/enabling the Follower to do.

The Follower’s steps should be long and around the Leader, reaching steps with a smooth transfer of weight.  This will help the Leader pivot better.

2 ways for Follower to receive the Leader’s back sacada:
(1) with the foot on the floor; or
(2) raising the knee up and then down, with the goal of collecting.

We drilled this.  Those who were able to do it reasonably well or who were bored and needed a challenge were instructed to do it on the other side.

Adding the Follower’s Back Sacada
After the Leader’s Back Sacada, the Follower’s pivot needs to be overturned on her arriving right foot, and she needs to really collect and allow her right arm to extend to pivot a lot before making a long reaching step in her left foot back sacada.

Follower: Do not hurry and try to catch up to the Leader (she should be slightly behind).  DO NOT RUSH. The back pivot needs to be overturned and complete, with left foot collected to the standing supporting leg before going back out in a long back step.

Leader:  Maintain good pulling energy in your left side to enable the Follower to do an overturned pivot.  The Leader pulls the Follower through space to lead her back sacada of his trailing left foot after his right step after his left foot back sacada.

Sacadas are like closets:  Women will always need more space.
Since the Follower needs more space to pivot in her back sacada, his side step before in the setup needs to be long enough and tangent or slightly away from her. 

In doing sequential back sacadas, the Follower’s embrace needs to be elastic and flexible and there is a lot of in and out, going near and farther away to each other.

Don’t forget to breathe in the movement, as we need to allow elasticity in the movement.

Maestros concluded with a class review and demo to Yann Tiersen’s Les Jours Tristes.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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