Thursday, May 31, 2018

Cross System Elements Explored (All Levels)

Song: Que Te Importa Te Que Lore by Miguel Calo
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
England International Tango Festival
Tonbridge, Kent, United Kingdom
May 26-28, 2018

So the summarize, we explored two different walks in cross system:
(1)    Leader’s snake walk while Follower walks straight back.
(2)    Leader roller blades while Follower walks back in no-pivot ocho (back cross step).

Chapter 1 – Leader’s snake walk with Follower’s straight back walk.

We began with an exercise to test our ability doing the cross system walk.  With Leader and Follower facing each other in the fingertip hold, Leader changes weight, and walks forward touching the Follower’s forward foot as she walks back.  We can do this three ways:
(1) Leader whole foot touching Follower’s whole foot
(2) Leader’s back half of the foot touching the Follower’s back half of the foot (so they are more heel to heel)
(3) Leader’s whole foot going past the Follower’s whole foot (so they are more thigh to thigh).

Start with turnout, so V feet.  Change weight to inside and outside of the foot.  Leader slides foot forward in his walk.
Follower should keep her whole frame, not stiff or static, have a little bit of give, softness, especially in the shoulder joints and knee joints.  How the Follower holds her frame will determine the texture of the embrace and how far she needs to step.

In the Cross System Walk:
We start in parallel system, Leader does sneak attack weight change, where he quickly changes weight without letting the Follower change her weight.  Leader steps left foot forward in the inside position.  The Leader is walking in three tracks. Leader walks outside partner, shift to the left, and then back into parallel walking with the Leader’s right foot forward.

We drilled this in any embrace, open or close, depending on your comfort / level of dance ability.

Cleaning up the sneak attack weight change:
Leader starts with his left foot because that’s where he has the most space.
How do we change the embrace so the Follower doesn’t change her weight during the Leader’s weight change?  The Leader changes with weight without shifting to the other side.  The Leader can keep the Follower from shifting using the close side of the embrace without dropping his right shoulder, making his right shoulder suspended up.  Just hold the Follower, but do not raise her up.

More advanced couples should try this in close embrace.

The Follower should work on making the perfect step.  How you articulate the foot, how fast you transfer the weight and being mindful of doing the correct step length. How does Follower know how far and how to maintain the same distance as the Leader in stepping?  The Follower’s heel lifts, but she keeps it to the floor as long as she can, until it starts to go up because it can’t anymore.  She should have a reaching quality and good extension; it’s not always about stepping long.  Walking back starts at the core (not at the hip).

Leader does sneak attack weight change, keeping the Follower on the same foot as he changes the weight to the same foot (so Follower’s Right, Leader’s Right; Follower Left, Leader’s Left).

In Cross System, do the full Snake Walk.
Start in open embrace.
Leader’s upper body is peaceful.
Follower takes perfect back step.
This is easier in open embrace, and harder in close embrace.

Leader does forward ocho (forward cross step).
Leader tips:  “I have to pee” (close thighs) at collection and before the next step.  Keep big toe on the floor.  You can do baby pivot before taking forward step.  Leader’s upper body just says to Follower “walk straight back”

Chapter 2: Follower does no-pivot ocho while Leader rollerblades

We began with an exercise whereby the Leader roller blades into the center of the circle starting with his left foot.

The Follower will do a cross way of walking doing a no-pivot back ocho.

In partnership, face to face, Leader does roller blading forward as Follower does a back ocho (back cross step) without pivoting, articulating and opening the hip without pivoting. So they are zigging and zagging.
Follower should push with the left foot off of the floor, open the right hip and keep pushing with the left to step, thighs press together as the weight changes.  Leader walks (rollerblades) in the cross system as follower does no-pivot back cross step walk back.

Homer and Cristina have a Swiss cheese theory of teaching, conveying the basics, but intentionally leaving lots of holes so that students’ questions can fill in the holes.

The Leader leads the no-pivot ocho (back cross step) with his chest by not changing his chest/spine.  There is no twist.  Leader should not overuse his right hand.

In the Follower’s no-pivot ocho, she should just try to stay in front of the Leader, so he doesn’t change his spine, but he steps outside, and she opens her hip.  The psychology for the Follower is she reaches slow, but collects quickly in this exercise to perfect the step.

So the summarize, we explored two different walks in cross system:
(1)    Leader’s snake walks while Follower walks straight back.
(2)    Leader roller blades while Follower walks back in no-pivot ocho (back cross step).

Maestros concluded with a class summary/quiz and a demo to Que Te Importa Te Que Lore by Miguel Calo.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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