Friday, June 3, 2016

Rhythmic Cross-Foot Rock Steps and Other Oddities (Intermediates)

Song: El Puntazo by Juan D'Arienzo
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
England International Tango Festival
May 30, 2016, Ardingly College, England

The music for our entire class was D’Arienzo.

Rock Steps
We began with doing rock steps. Don’t move your body too much, and do not do too much back and forth. Do not collect all the way in the footwork.

The first movement is a reach, put weight onto the front step, but not too much, the back step lefts.

So it is:
Touch  Quick   Forward Step (not with all weight, but to enter the new space)
Lift      Quick   Back Step (heel lifts)
Step     Slow    Forward Step (with all the weight)
Touch  Quick   Forward Step (not with all weight, but to enter the new space)
Lift      Quick   Back Step (heel lifts)
Step     Slow    Forward Step (with all the weight)

We did this in walk forward, interrupted by a circle pattern, where we were to be mindful to keep our back heel off the ground.

In a circle, we were to do the same exercise, but now walk backward:
Reach  Back    Sink a little bit
Lift     Forward
Step    Back    Take a tiny step back

We were to make small steps.

In partnership in open embrace, in the line of dance, we did the rockstep:
Reach  Quick
Lift      Quick
Step     Slow
Reach  Quick
Lift      Quick
Step     Slow

Next, we tried to funkify it.
We were to keep it in parallel, but take it to the side inside or outside, and try turning (both open ad close side), while keeping rocksteps tight.  We drilled these parallel rock steps, both inside and outside, on the open or close side of the embrace.

At the limiting case, there is no back step, just all forward steps.  We can add a little bit of going back.  This was an exercise in control.

Next, we did the Snake Walk. 
Leader does sneak attack weight change.
In open embrace.
Leader’s right foot forward / Follower’s right foot back
Leader’s feet touch the inside edge of Follower’s feet
Follower walks straight back and not too long in stride, but just makes the perfect back step.  If her step is too long, she will pull the Leader to her / off axis. Follower should pay attention to how much of a reach the Leader is asking of her
This is called the Snake Walk because the Leader’s step go across his body with each step to go across the Follower’s path.

Leader should use the “I have to pee” way of keeping his upper legs/inside thighs together as they go across his body.
Follower should employ the perfect back step (in reach, weight transfer, and collection, walking in a straight line).

We drilled this.

Next, in close embrace, we were to do back ochos with no pivots (walking back cross).

In open embrace, Leader does sneak attack weight change, then walks forward while Follower does no pivot back ochos.

Then we added in the rockstep and included the Leader’s snake walk.

We can do this in parallel or cross system, outside or inside, at any point in the tango.  This is complete freedom.

We drilled with the Leader going into and out, parallel to cross system, and turning in both directions.

The easiest way for the Leader to do the sneak attack is to do two steps with his left foot. 
And (weight change without Follower feeling it so she does not do a weight change)

Eye Candy
This is nice in vals and milonga, and you can make it travel.  It starts and finishes in the line of dance.

Starting in cross system, do rock step outside, then go inside in snake walk, then go back out in parallel in a counterclockwise turn.

Leader and Follower start with left foot.
Follower has additional side step when it start to turn

Maestros concluded with a class quiz and demo to D’Arienzo’s El Puntazo.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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