Friday, June 3, 2016

Open Turn Sacada, Barrida, Parada, Pasada Experience (Intermediate)

Song 1:  Cordobesita by Osvaldo Fresedo
Song 2: Indio Manso by Carlos DiSarli
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
England International Tango Festival
May 28, 2016, Ardingly College, England

In circle formation, we began with two exercises doing the Greek Dance using the forward, side, back, side footwork of the turn/hiro/molinete.  We did this with the circle going to the left and then to the right, and used the same timing for each step, with no automatic QQS on the back, side steps.  Keep your head and chest up and torsos straight.  Look at the person across from you. Do not look down at your feet. 

Then in partnership, in hand to hand embrace, we turned together doing  forward, side, back, side steps.  There was no Leader or Follower.   We were to finish where we started, and then reverse the direction.  Both dancers do forward, side, back, side footwork. Heads should be steady. Chest should be open and wide. Take long, even steps. Be controlled and clean when making each step. Both dancers should try to stay together. Take your time.  The dancers should relate to each other.

Next, we added the Leader and Follower relationship.  To do this, we used the teapot embrace with Leaders hands generally where the opening of his front pants pockets are. 

To lead the turn, the Leader should use more of his back instead of his arms.

For the Leader’s footwork in the turn, he has three options:
  1. Pac-person feet (the gender-neutral term for footwork reminiscent of how the 1980s video games Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man’s mouths would open and close).
  2. Turn like a block in his body, but kick his heel around.
  3. Spiral by turning his rib cage, then let his hips come around a bit past his rib cage.  Then he can spiral again from the top, and let his hips come around again, etc.  Here the ribs pull the hips.  This is a spiral turn rather than a block turn
We practiced the Leader doing all these three different turns in partnership, with the Follower holding the Leader’s bicep/tricep as he does the sugarbowl embrace.  The Follower should not be too far away so her hips are near the Leader.  The Follower’s arms should have a natural bend in them.  In the turn, the Follower keeps steps even, long, and around the Leader.  The Follower trails the Leader a bit in timing, rather than being exactly with him and never ahead of him.

Next, we added the Barrida. The Barrida is a drag illusion.
The Leader needs to kick his heel around so he has one free leg to make contact. 
The Follower’s speed around the Leer is on the slow beat, so there is no auto QQ on the back, side steps.  She should keep all steps even in length and time so the Leader can catch any of the Follower’s steps.

The Leader wants to catch the Follower’s side step after her back step.  They should enjoy the ride together, but the Leader still must lead the Follower to turn.  The Leader slides his foot in at the Follower’s back step and sticks with her side step foot.  The Leader leaves his foot (parada) put turns his body, so the Follower natural steps over in a pasada.

Leader: Do not cut the Follower’s side step by stepping in too soon, as she will feel like she might trip or fall.  Let the Follower take her normal step.  Give the Follower time to pass over by pointing foot and gently touching the Follower’s foot with the Leader’s foot.

The Leader’s barrida leg needs to be weightless, with all of his weight on his back standing leg, so his sweeping leg is free to sweep in the barrida.

When the Leader catches the Follower’s step, he should have the same size barrida as the Follower’s normal step so he doesn’t cut her step short. 
Then the Leader waits.

Follower needs to have room for both hips to pass when she steps over. 

Leader retracts his foot after the Follower passes over it, so he does not change the center of the circle.

Next, we explored different options for the Leader’s foot and the direction of the circle.
The Leader and Follower mechanics are the same, whatever option is chosen, though ergonomically it might feel different.  In our exercise we were to focus on refinement and control, still in teapot embrace, and trying different directions.

The Leader keeps Follower on original foot and reverses the direction of the barrida (so doing 2 barridas in a row).

One: Leader just rotates his leg, but his weight is still on his back leg so he sweeps from right to left, then immediately left to right.  The Leader’s chest rotates as little as possible on this change.

When the Follower steps over in her pasada, she can adorn it for rhythmic purposes by taking a tiny step back to create room for her to step over elegantly. So the timing of this tiny back step would be QQS.  So it is two tiny steps back, and then a long and around step over.

We then had a short mid-class quiz followed by Maestros’ demo to Fresedo’s Cordobesita.

For the second part of class, we went on to more challenging barridas.

We started by refining the connection.
Leader leads Follower to his right foot Barrida of her back right foot on the her left foot forward step in a counterclockwise turn/hiro/molinete.
And asking Follower to collect with her right foot cross tuck behind her left foot, then change her weight so that her forward foot is free to step forward.  Here the Leader shifts slightly to change the weight so she settles and so that it frees her forward foot to either (1) step forward or (2) do a back ocho pivot to change direction.

We are to practice this at home.

The Leader needs to lead the Follower to collect by turning his body.  The Leader touches the Follower’s ankle, not her heel, to give her gentle guidance (sweep her ankle gently) to do her back cross tuck against her other foot. 

Going back to the original Barrida, instead of the Leader retracting his foot at the end, he arrives on it to shift the axis of the turn, doing a sacada after the Follower steps over.  Then there is a pause so the Follower and Leader can face each other again after pivoting.

We drilled the Barrida into Sacada, being mindful to keep turning.

How does the Leader lead the Follower to take a forward step or back step?  It depends on where the Leader’s weight is, to block or create space for the Follower.  To lead the Follower’s forward step, the Leader leans back a little.
To lead the Follower’s back step, the Leader leans forward a little.

After the Follower completely arrives on her side step, don’t wait for her to collect.
Leader: Don’t transfer weight too soon in your sacada so she has room / time to step over.  The weight transfer happens together, not with the Leader going before (Leader should not transfer weight before, otherwise he will block the Follower pasada).  Hold the position after her pasada and his sacada.

The Follower’s fundamental movement is the turn around the Leader with long, even steps.  The forward step is long and around the Leader.

Next we drilled doing the Leader’s Sacada with no parada / Follower pasada.  This was a continuous Sacada exercise with Leader using his left foot or his right foot in his Sacada.  He was always turning with his chest and hips, moving the axis of the circle so that it keeps changing and Follower should feel the new axis every time she collects.

In the sugarbowl embrace, the Leader does a Sacada of the Follower’s trailing foot to shift weight to there, shifting the center of the axis. The Leader skips one of the Follower’s steps so he does not disturb her turn.  Because the axis changes, the Follower steps to slightly different places, but still does even steps around the Leader so he has room to do his Sacadas.  He is always the center of the circle and she should always be walking around him (not away from him).

Next we worked on doing 2-1/2 Sacadas in the line of dance from the cross.  We could do these with either foot, and do them either with all left foot Sacadas with a quick weight change, or with all right foot Sacadas with a quick weight change.

We separated the class, Leaders behind Homer and Followers behind Cristina. 

The Leader starts his Sacada by leading the Follower into the cross and then into the clockwise molinete, doing a left foot sacada at her right foot forward step of trailing her left foot, immediately into a Leader’s right foot sacada into a big 1.5 pivot.  He should not spill out outside of the line of dance. 

We then had another class quiz followed by Maestros’ demo to DiSarli’s Indio Manso.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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