Thursday, May 31, 2018

Back Sacadas for Leaders and Followers in line of dance (Advanced)

Song: El Abrojo by Carlos Di Sarli Orquesta
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
England International Tango Festival
Tonbridge, Kent, United Kingdom
May 26-28, 2018


Leader’s Sacada.

Exercise for footwork:
Get on left foot.  Push into the floor as you reach right foot back, bring back to collection.
Do this on the right foot as well.
Keep heel on the floor as long as you can until it comes up a little. Then bring it back into collection.

Leader steps right foot forward, pivots, then steps backward with left foot. (So Leader goes in a line in one direction.)  Control the back pivot so you don’t fall back.  Squeeze your inner thighs together. 
Do it more dynamically by stepping, then snapping the heels together at the pivot, and then reaching in the back step.

The Pattern:
Begins with 4 steps for the Leader:
(1)    side step
(2)    steps on balance beam
(3)    snap heels together to pivot completely, staying on the balance beam, taking Follower across it and then stepping back with his left foot to Sacada the Follower
(4)    collecting and waiting

Follower’s footwork:
Back step (she waits)
Side step (where Leader does a sacada on his (3)

The Secrets:
Everything happens between steps 2 and 3 for the Leader (the “Two And”), -- this is where the magic happens.

The Leader’s embrace opens.  The Leader’s left arm closes and keeps the Follower from moving, maintaining presence to communicate to the Follower that she should stay, and his right arm detaches like a rocket so he is really letting go so he allows his hip to get around.  The Leader needs to dramatically communicate to lead the Follower to wait.  The Leader should get the Follower to “Two And” and then freeze (smile, this is the Kodak moment).

3.     Lead the Follower across as the Leader does his sacada.  The Follower’s left arm slides around the Leader’s back so she enables closeness as the Leader does his sacada.  In his sacada, the Leader can step diagonally back in his sacada as a “cheat to win” because the hips rotate, so this is a good thing to do for those who don’t rotate that much/well). Said another way, he is doing an obvious back cross step (not just a back open step).

The Follower’s side step should be nice, long and reaching, with a strong base leg.  The Leader leading the side step is from his left side giving pull/ turn energy. Do not push the Follower with his right hand.

Second Secret:
There is a little bit of colgada posture, so the Leader’s angle is a little tilted away to create space for him to do a sacada.

(1)    Leader’s right arm opens, left closes and stops.
(2)    Leader’s heels snap 70% of the way
(3)    Leader can pivot a little after to get around more
(4)    Leader can “cheat to win” by stepping diagonally (do back cross step instead of back open step) when he sacadas  
(5)    Leader can lean a bit away / tilt the axis

Special case:
What if we did it to the other side?
The Open side has to be dropped or you can do a judo hold around the Leader’s back.  The Leader’s close side of the embrace needs to change too, sliding down and opening up, so both dancers are now holding on hand to forearm to allow room for the movement.  The Follower receives the sacada with her feet on the floor.

“Deep Sacadas”
Follower can lift her knee up and go back down in collection. When she receives the sacada, she should do so gracefully.

If both sides of the embrace open up, the Follower may stay put (not move). So timing is important in transmitting a clear message.

Next, we did a sequential Leader Sacada directly into a Follower Sacada, drilling on the easy side and then on the hard side.  We became infinite back sacada machines.  Doing 2 in a row will generally keep you in the line of dance.  After 2, it’s a good test of your precision to try to keep everything straight in the line of dance.

The Follower’s back sacada involves a big back ocho pivot.

The Leader does a left foot back sacada and then directly leads a Follower’s back sacada as she is still on her right leg and sacadas with her left foot.

(1)    Leader creates space with the embrace so the Follower can remain on axis as she rotates.  Ochos are based on the Follower’s axis, so Leader should give her as much freedom to complete her rotation on 1 leg fully and completely.
(2)    Follower’s sacada requires more space, so Leader should step slightly away, tangent to the Follower so she can do a big pivot and make her back step easier.  Follower should snap together to pivot and get around better/cleaner.

Maestros concluded with a class quiz/summary and demo to El Abrojo by Carlos DiSarli

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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