Thursday, May 31, 2018

Nuevo Masterclass: Contemporary, organic movement and patterns for dancing to Traditional and Modern Music (Intermediate)

Song: A Thousand Years by Jasmine Thompson
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
England International Tango Festival
Tonbridge, Kent, United Kingdom
May 26-28, 2018

“Nuevo” tango is a marketing term. It originally came from a practice group that came together to understand tango.

In our class we will explore our structures to understand how we can move better with our partner.

When we walk, we do so with opposing the energy of our partner all the time.  This enables us to have a good connection. If the Leader wants the Follower to walk back, there is an initial resistance from the Follower and she maintains this throughout.  This is the Theory of Opposition:  If the Leader goes back, the Follower’s tension is back, even though she walks forward.  She has initial resistance, and then goes.  The resistance comes from pushing into the floor. If the Leader goes left, the Follower opposes with her right.  We use opposition so the dancers know where their partner is at all times. 

Exercise:  In fingertip hold, Leader walks forward, Follower walks back.  Leader walks back, Follower walks forward.  The resistance can be seen as pulling and pushing, but in a nice way.  Both dancers push into the connection, and both dancers pull into the connection.  The pulling back is powered by the spine, not just the hands/arms/biceps.

In the turn, when the Leader turns to the right, the Follower opposes.

We drilled the Theory of Opposition in doing the turn,  as well as walking and doing side steps. 

Tango language with each other needs to be comfortable, clear, and consistent.

In the regular embrace, we incorporated ochos and turns.  In the ocho, one side pulls and one side pushes for both Leader and Follower.  The Follower’s push/pull is not independent of her hips.

Moving onto a pattern… 
We transition from close to open embrace communicationwise, and the Follower should be just under the Leader’s radar.  We were to discover how to use the floor for resistance, rather than just using our arms/shoulders or even chest.  Try to use/be aware of oppositional forces in the embrace at each step, powering to pivot, etc., of the pattern.

The Pattern:
In close embrace, Leader does cheat step, walks Follower to the cross. Leader steps left foot forward slightly away  (he turns his spine, and at the same time his left foot/leg becomes the new axis and gives the Follower room/time to do the pivot and step through) to receive the Follower’s right foot back sacada (after her first big pivot), going into a clockwise turn (so after Follower’s back sacada, she does a side step, then a forward step) to Leader’s right foot parada, to Follower’s right foot pivot, to Follower’s left foot pasada around to the front of the Leader.

Leader should stay on his left foot long enough to be able to receive the Follower’s back sacada with his right leg.  The right leg can be in Captain Morgan stance to give the Follower room and time to do her back sacada.

We should keep it flowing, with nice resistance from the Follower all the time.  The Follower’s left arm shifts down in her back sacada to give her more room, and shifts closer back to the Leader on the parada/pasada, as she needs to be closer to him as the figure opens and closes. 

The Follower’s left side has to be as responsive as her right side, and her arm needs to slide open or get closer as the figure/movement requires it. 

The Leader also needs to open and close his right arm to accommodate the space required of the movement.  The opening and closing of the embrace uses the Theory of the Human Magnet.

Exercise:  Human Magnet. 
If the Leader comes forward, the Follower comes forward as they attract each other.  If the leader goes back, the Follower goes back as they repel each other.

In this same pattern set up, the Follower can do a gancho instead of a sacada. 

Gancho (instead of the sacada).  The Leader’s left foot forward step is closer, he sends the Follower in a big pivot, and then he uses stop energy, which the Follower receives with a back/linear boleo (gancho through the Leader’s legs).  Leader’s Captain Morgan leg goes slightly forward in leading the gancho.  After the Follower’s gancho, she pivots back to face the Leader.

Leader: for the gancho, do not stop Follower with your right arm.

Axis Focus difference between Gancho v. Sacada
In the Sacada, the Leader is the axis as the Follower walks around him in her back, side, forward steps of the turn.
In the Gancho, the Follower is the axis as the Leader goes around/encircles the Follower with his torso/upper body.

CLASS BREAK (it was a double session, 3 hour class)

Building on the pattern:
Follower back sacada to full clockwise turn where she takes her side, forward, side, back cross step at which point the Leader does a left foot barrida of the Follower’s trailing forward left foot (of her right foot back cross step) into a Captain Morgan stance with left leg offer, to a Follower’s (beautiful) right leg wrap of the Leader’s left leg.  After the Follower’s wrap, she can raise her knee straight up and over the Leader’s left leg to collect.  Ending can be with a Follower’s back cross step, pivoting back into a regular embrace.

The Leader travels up the Follower’s thigh to get a wrap.

The Leader does PacPerson footwork during the Follower’s turn/hiro to catch her footwork at the correct moment to do a barrida (on her back cross step).

Hard side leg wrap.  The Follower needs to have good turn and ocho technique, especially on the close side of the embrace.  In the clockwise turn, the Follower’s left leg ganchos the Leader’s left Captain Morgan leg (not a straight leg, his leg is bent).

Energy difference between Gancho v. Sacada. 
In the Sacada, there is continuous, flowing energy.
In the Gancho, there is a stopping energy.

The Exit
After the Follower ganchos/wraps with her right leg, it goes back into a back cross step to the close side of the embrace, Leader rebounds her so the Follower steps left foot forward to pivot in front of the Leader.  Before her step, the Follower’s left foot can do a pretty front cross against her standing, supporting right leg.

In doing the barrida, the Leader should keep turning; he should not stop.  The Follower’s left side should be awake so she needs to be good in her embrace and turn technique as the Leader does the barrida into Captain Morgan leg with his left leg.

Breaking the code of the Turn.
Be mindful of where/when the embrace needs to be open and when it needs to be closed, and doing it with a good transition, especially in going into and out of the wrap/gancho.

Alternative Exit
The Follower’s right foot back step can be a hook behind into close embrace, to walk out as normal with Follower’s left foot back.

The Leader leads Follower to do right foot back cross step (hook behind) by closing the embrace and stepping right foot close to the Follower. The Leader does small side weight change to get the Follower’s right foot to hook behind her left foot of her standing, supporting leg.

Maestros concluded with a class quiz/summary and demo to A Thousand Years by Jasmine Thompson 

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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