Friday, June 3, 2016

Sustained Volcadas Explored & Expanded (Beyond Intermediates)

Song: Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
England International Tango Festival
May 30, 2016, Ardingly College, England

Since it is really important in Volcadas to make the Follower feel comfortable, we began with hugging each other, one arm on top, other arm on the bottom so arms are in an X pattern.

The Leader and Follower side step to put the Follower on one leg.
Leader engages a bigger hug with a bit of lift from his rib cage (not just his arms)
Follower pushes down with her shoulder blades as if trying to get out of a swimming pool: pushing down to lift up.
Leader takes a few steps back
Leader and Follower breathe with intention (check that hug is still engaged)
Follower pushes down with her standing leg, but her knee is still soft, with hug engaged and still pushing down with her shoulder blades, using her lats to protect her back. She should use the whole fit to create a very strong line from her standing supporting foot to her opposite shoulder.
Leader walks forward.

There are two characteristics of Volcadas that change with the Sustained Volcada:
(1) Leader is always tilted forward (Leader is straight in sustained)
(2) Leader does not change height (Leader changes height in sustained)
In Sustained Volcadas:
      (1) Leader is not always forwardly intended (he is at times vertical)
      (2)  The Leader’s height changes to get into and out of the sustained volcada

The Sustained Volcada is a more advanced concept where the Follower is at split weight and her legs go out in an inverted Y and Leader drives Follower across the floor.  Leader goes down, and does not lean toward Follower. Leader uses power of his legs to maintain weight. The Follower moves through space easier this way. Follower goes into split movement with both feet on the floor. 

In the Standard Volcada hug, Leader and Follower do side steps, Leader walks back a few steps, then walks right foot forward, driving the Follower’s free leg back into a forward cross of her left foot over her right foot.
We drilled the standard volcada.
The Follower needs to really engage to protect her body.

In the Sustained Volcada, the Leader and Follower do side steps.  The Leader is upright with no forward tilt.  He hugs and slightly lifts the Follower. The Leader steps back and goes down a little bit in height by bending his knees (NOT by bending at the waist).  The Follower’s left leg starts to have weight (it is not completely free) as both Leader and Follower axis are vertical.  Leader and Follower spines are vertical.  Both Follower’s legs are working as she paints the floor.  She needs to zip up her middle throughout.  As Leader walks backward, but comes up, and Follower feels this change in height, her legs come together in collection.

Note that Leader remains vertical the entire time.  We can move this in any direction and on any step.  Leader should be consistent with his hug and suspension of Follower.
Leader and Follower should be close and vertical the entire time.
Follower should have more hold rather than less hold.
Follower uses her inner thigh muscles to collect.
Follower:  There are 2 activations.
The right leg, then the right leg and left leg are both activated in the split.  All inner leg muscles and core muscles are turned on.  She should press against the floor to create a zipping up sensation.

The Leader’s height goes down as he walks in a tangent, and when he exits, he goes back up. 

In all volcadas, the Follower’s technique should be that she presses down to lift herself up.

We drilled doing this from the Follower’s hook behind (right foot), going into a sustained volcada, back into the cross.  We also switched going from one form to the other (Standard versus Stained).

There are two ways to start the sustained volcada: from the Follower’s right foot hook behind, or from a rock step.

Next, we worked on the Funny Volcada

The Funny Volcada is still a standard volcada because there is still lean and the Leader does not change height.
Maestros showed us what it looks like.
The Follower falls sideways instead of forward.

On the close side of the embrace, the Follower is on her outside right foot and her inside left foot is free and embellishing.  This move can be made small or big depending on how far way the Leader steps around the Follower.

The entrance/setup is from the Follower’s right foot back ocho step, which the Leader uses a right foot side step to catch. The Leader settles the Follower on her right foot when he is on his right foot.

Leader's footwork

Follower's footwork
Left foot forward on close side

Left foot back
Right foot side

Right foot cross (back ocho)
Turn partner as if calesita, but off axis

Remain on right foot as Leader walks backward around (left foot is free)
Walk backward around Follower

Left foot embellishes
Keep this in the line of dance when going in and coming out.

Leader: Do not squeeze too much as you walk around backward.

Follower: Completely arrive on your right foot back step with confidence.  Be sure the standing supporting leg is strong and stable.  As you pivot, do not go up or be on the ball of your foot.  Be sure you have control of your spine.  You can flex through the ankle so you don’t have to be so high, because it becomes more difficult to manage your spine.  Don’t lift the heel too high; it can just caress the floor.  There is no need to be on your toes, and it will make this more difficult.  Do not pivot on your toes; pivot on the ball of your foot.

In the Funny Volcada, the dancers are at right angle, perpendicular to each other.  The Leader walks around the Follower’s right foot.

The Leader’s step needs to be near the Follower’s right back foot so that he can be close enough to walk around her without making her/them compromise their posture.

If you are able to do this and are getting bored, try this on the other side.  The open side is the hard side and the Leader needs to have a more flexible embrace.  It is small and challenging on this side.  Follower will be on her left foot and her right leg/foot is free and embellishing.

In stepping around the Follower, the Leader should start by making 3 back steps around the Follower starting with his left foot, then getting out with a side step right to exit.  He could add more steps as he walks around the Follower, but the needed to be odd numbered (5, 7, 9, etc.), and always respecting the line of dance.

So his three (or any odd number) back steps and exit are:
Back Left
Back Right
Back Left
Side Step Right
To exit (Follower pivots)

The preparation for the Volcada is in the embrace, where the Leader hugs and lifts, and the Follower compresses as if getting out of a swimming pool (pressing down to push up).

The Leader’s step needs to be near the Follower’s standing foot.

The Follower’s body needs to be straight (not bent in a weird way).

The Follower falls completely sideways in the Funny Volcada, and needs to have a very strong line across her body from her right leg to her left shoulder, and again using the swimming pool compression: pressing down to push up.

During the volcada, the Follower’s free embellishing foot should always collect at the conclusion so that she doesn’t hit the Leader’s foot.

We drilled this with the Leader making a sustained odd number (7, 9, 11, etc.) of steps around the Follower, giving time to the Follower to practice her embellishments. 

We were to talk to each other during our drilling, with Leaders asking if he is lifting her too much and Follower asking if she is not lifting enough (pressing down to push up).

Funny Volcada tip:  Leader is leaning slightly toward the Follower and does not go down.

Adding the Sustained Volcada after the Funny Volcada

We drilled this going from the Funny Volcada on the close side, into the Follower’s Sustained (split linear) Volcada.

The Leader transitions from a circular (during the Funny Volcada) to linear (in the Sustained/Extended Volcada), as he is first walking around the Follower (Funny Volcada; Follower’s free leg embellishes), and then walking away from the Follower (Sustained Volcada; Follower is at split weight and both legs are straight).  So the Leader first walks circularly, and then linearly, tangent to the circle.  The Follower’s free leg always tracks the Leader, whether he is doing a circular or linear walk, so as they go from the Funny to Sustained Volcada, her leg goes from inside in front of him to outside of him on the close side of the embrace.

As the Leader comes up, that is the signal for the Follower to collect. The Follower collects before going out. 

Maestros concluded with a class review and demo to Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s Falling Slowly (from the motion picture Once).

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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