Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
Playwrights Downtown, New York City
January 8, 2023
Demo 1: Heaven by Callum Scott
Demo 2: Poema by Solo Tango Orquesta
Our day began with Homer leading the stretching portion as each attendee introduced themselves by stating where they were from and how long they have been learning tango.
We began with a game to break down our preconceived notions about the turn. We got into fingertip hold into sweetheart hold. Leader leads Follower to do the turn/hiro around the Leader. The Leader needs to give the Follower space. The Follower does a four-point turn, so nearly square, doing Back, Side, Forward, and Side steps. This is a disorientating exercise, to deliberately remove the visual cues so we can listen more to each other rather than using visual cues.
Next, we played a sacada game.
Constraints: No embrace, No Lead or Follow.
We started with one person with their feet apart in an open step, although this could also have been pivoted to a forward open step. This is to create space for the partner. One partner calls out the steps. The actor (person doing the sacada) touches one side or the other (left or right) of the receptor (person receiving the sacada) foot. The receptor lifts the leg that has been sacada’d, which makes the next step into the former actor (now receptor). The receptor (person who receives the sacada) decides where to go on the next step with no constraints. Each person needs to create space for the other person to enter. We did this going back and forth, alternating between who is the actor (performer of the sacada) and who is the receptor (receiver of the sacada).
1st Constraint: After initiating the sacada, the actor (person doing the sacada) takes a step around the receptor (person receiving the sacada). At the end, come back and face each other.
Note that the receptor’s sacada’d foot/leg does not touch the ground, but goes directly into actor mode to sacada after the partner completes their step around.
So it goes one person does a sacada, then steps around with the opposite foot, other person sacadas with their free foot that was just sacada’d, steps around with their opposite foot, etc.
Next constraint: Add the open embrace.
We then changed to Sugar Bowl Embrace, whereby the Leader puts his hands on his hips and his arms are out strong and bent, like the arms of a sugar bowl. The Follower holds on to the Leader’s biceps/triceps. Hips are relatively close to each other, and both Leader and Follower should not look to the ground, but keep their heads lifted.
Leader “hypnotizes” the Follower by doing one side step back and forth. The Follower follows at the Leader’s pace, with eyes closed. Leader does sneak attack by touching the side, but rotates his body in the appropriate direction to Lead the Follower to step forward into the Leader in a sacada.
In the Follower’s step forward, she should use good walking technique: extend, push off from standing foot, collect, take a long reaching forward step curved around the Leader.
The Leader transfers weight and rotates at the same time clockwise, while Follower does right foot forward ocho step. We also did this to the opposite side (Leader rotates counterclockwise, Follower left foot forward ocho step).
The Leader needs to really sense where the Follower is, but sure she is really stacked on her standing leg, so he can really vacuum and feel her free leg. Follower can take her time. Leader does long reaching side steps on hypnotizing, so he can sense her points of contact so the Follower is stable. Leader needs to stack himself really well. Leader rotates only as much as he needs to, to lead the Follower to step and arrive on her step. Both Leader and Follower need to turn on their listening skills.
Next, we tried doing a few of these sacadas in a row, to wiggle and waggle into the Leader. Follower needs to be clear and use connection in her hands and with the floor. Leader should try to create a vacuum sensation. The Follower is in control with respect to how she arrives with confidence and security to arrive at the sweet spot and connect with the floor and Leader. The Leader rotates just enough to lead the Follower to do a curved step.
We incorporated three things:
(1) Add the embrace
(2) Leader steps back to start the process
(3) Add a leg wrap
As the Follower arrives after stepping into the Leader, the Leader leaves his leg there, but gets into Captain Morgan stance and uses his leg to touch the Follower’s right leg. Her opposite left leg, which is free, wraps around as a resolution of the forward ocho, as it’s an invitation to do a forward ocho step. The Leader brings the Follower to axis so she won’t fall. The Leader’s Captain Morgan foot is unweighted.
We also tried it on the other side: Follower left foot forward sacada of Leader’s left foot into a Follower’s right leg wrap of Leader’s left leg, directly to pivot A LOT clockwise as the wrapping leg rebounds back around, to do a Follower right foot back sacada of the Leader’s trialing right foot. The Leader rotates after the Follower’s leg wrap to lead the Follower to pivot a lot, and then she steps with her right foot back sacada of the Leader’s right leg.
After the leg rap, the Leader’s Captain Morgan leg steps back a little to allow room for the Follower to do an overturned pivot into her back sacada. As long as he steps back a little and the Follower’s spine is vertical, she has a lot of room for her hips to rotate.
BREAK (video demo below)
The topic of the next session focused on the idea of adding the leg wraps and off-axis positions, using the simple Hurricane idea.
At the Follower’s leg wrap, the Leader can (1) pull his leg back, or (2) step around the Follower so that Follower is in calesita.
The Leader uses the Follower calesita (Hurricane) as a navigation technique at the milonga to get to where he needs to go.
The Leader’s feet turn in, and then the opposite foot turns out, so going from sickled foot to open foot, as he goes around the Follower on her weighted standing leg. The Leader should try to get to the Follower’s heel at his turned-in step.
To get into this position, we started in open embrace, then Leader’s left foot steps into the Follower’s weighted right foot to start it. The Leader’s right foot steps turned in, left foot steps turned out, etc., around and around the Follower, who remains suspended on her weighted right foot.
The Follower needs to engage her left hand and really connect with the Leader’s back. The Follower’s hips are back, with her chest over her hips. The Follower should keep her free leg a little behind so the Leader doesn’t run into it.
There is a transition from close to open embrace so Follower can get into hips under position.
We can go directly from wrap into an opposite direction Hurricane.
There is colgada motion in this as the Follower’s axis is slightly back as her body goes out in centrifugal force, as the Leader counterbalances the Follower’s off-axis position. So there is counterweighting of the centrifugal forces that are happening. It’s a spinning counterweight, functional colgada.
If, after her wrap, her hips are a little back, it sets up for the Hurricane colgada. Leader should keep the Follower back has he steps around her weighted foot.
This class went by fast and concluded with some more remarks to clean up our technique and a demo video.
Notes courtesy of Anne at http://scoutingtour.blogspot.com