Thursday, May 31, 2018

Fast & Furious: Shared Axis Accelerated Turns (Beyond Intermediate)

Song: Tormenta by Ernesto Fama
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
England International Tango Festival
Tonbridge, Kent, United Kingdom
May 26-28, 2018

To summarize, we will do two different types of Fast & Furious turning
(1)    open turn
(2)    hurricane spin/shared axis turn

Chapter 1 – Open Turn

We began with an exercise on connection and how to develop our embrace.
The Leader can turn two ways:
(1)    with PacPerson feet keeping heels together, trying to do this in both directions.
(2)    Kick the heel around, where the Leader lifts one heel and kicks around. It takes about 8 kicks around to make 1 full rotation.  Try both directions, all the way around

In sugar bowl embrace, the Follower wakes up her embrace on the close and open side, bending the elbows and holding onto the Leader such that he feels the Follower’s body behind both points of contact in her hands. Follower: do not be too stiff or too loose in your embrace.  Have density and elasticity. Use both hands. Be alert in both hands.

In the turn, the Follower’s back step is the most challenging one in the turn.  Each step of the turn should be of equal importance/significance.  Reach and transfer the weight smoothly as much as you can.  There are two pivots on the turn/hiro, in the forward cross step and back cross step.

At the moment of collection, the Follower knows she will pivot, so she should gather her legs together to help the pivot. 

Have a dynamic/mindful connection to help send the body back in a big pivot without falling.  Get thighs/ankles together to help with balance and control at pivot.  Have a smooth frequency in getting around in the turn.  Have lots of spiral in your body.

Leader: Have hips slightly ahead of the Follower.

To help us get our spiral on, we did the Washing Machine Exercise: First let chest go around in rotation, then let hips go to catch up, going a bit farther than the chest.  There are four options in drilling this exercise:
(1)    Clockwise on left foot
(2)    Clockwise on right foot
(3)    Counterclockwise on left foot
(4)    Counterclockwise on right foot

Do a block turn.

Leader keeps hips a little ahead of the Follower.  Leader does PacPerson feet.

We drilled all these types of turning options for the Leader:
(1)    Washing machine body, or
(2)    Block turn with PacPerson feet
(3)    Block Turn with kick the heel around
Follower, pay attention to maintaining and containing the Leader’s dynamic energy and put it / reflect it in the Follower’s legs.

Follower should take long, reaching steps around the Leader.  In our turn, there is no automatic QQS, we will do all steps Slow in our exercise: SSSS.

In terms of language/position and real estate, Homer and Cristina employ the School of Opposition, where the Follower needs to give resistance when the Leader pulls, and when the Leader pushes, the Follower needs to push.

Leader screws into the floor with his standing/supporting leg.  The Follower should be close to the Leader at her hips so the Leader can do many things (sacadas, ganchos, etc.).  Follower’s arms should be connected to her shoulder blades and back.

We drilled this with Follower doing a dynamic turn so that the Leader can do either a kick around leg or kickstand leg on his unweighted leg.

Breaks in the turn.  One side is different from the other side.  The Follower’s left side reflects the Leader’s standing leg, how it pushes into the floor as the Follower’s hand gives resistance. The Leader’s right hand feels the same from the Follower’s left leg.  The Leader’s right hand/arm can move, dropping down toward the follower’s ribs instead of her on her back depending on her steps of he turn as the Follower’s connection is her left hand at the Leader’s right upper arm.

We drilled the accelerated turn, with the Follower containing the energy and maintaining density that goes through her hips.  The Leader’s kickstand leg just stabilizes the Leader’s axis, it does not motor the turn, though he does slightly push into the floor. It makes his standing leg stronger.  We drilled this, attempting to turn on one side at least four times around.

Leader will lead the acceleration by using his standing supporting leg, whether he does it with kickstand leg giving power to his standing supporting leg, or washing machine, or block turn.  The Follower receives the Leader’s leading energy/accelerating energy and responds/contains it in her hips so she doesn’t go flying around.

Chapter 2: Shared Axis Turning

In a little colgada, the Leader turns around the Follower’s axis.  Unlike the Follower, he does not have to look pretty. 

In close embrace, the Leader side steps to surround the Follower’s axis as she is on one leg.  Leader walks around Follower as his 2 feet sandwiches her standing, supporting foot.

Follower needs to hold onto the leader and let her hips go back so she counterweights.  Leader does a somewhat open V to A footwork as he goes quickly around the Follower. 

The Follower’s free leg can paint the floor or she can planeo it out to the side. The Leader needs room to walk around the Follower, so if she wants to raise her leg, she should keep it close to the Leader, not outside (which would likely be socially unacceptable).  If the Follower’s leg goes back in planeo, the balance will change for the Leader and he needs to adjust for that (or she shouldn’t do it).

Maestros concluded with a class quiz/summary and demo to song: Tormenta by Francisco Canaro

Extra clip of Martyn Phillips leading Homer in the Shared Axis Turn during class.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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