Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Close Embrace Surprises (All Levels)

Song: Cicatrices by Carlos Di Sarli y Su Sexteto Tipico
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
September 20-22, 2013, TangoPulse Workshops in Northampton, MA

Maestros began with a demo of a split-weight surprise.

1st Surprise: Split-weight stops with weight transfers and penguin walk side steps

We began with walking. Then we did side steps. Then the Leader does playful stop foot work as he steps inside her feet, one foot then the other, and then plays.

The details: Leader does left foot rock step, turns his body, and then steps back into the space he just left. He leads the Follower to do a right foot side step, then he stops/meets her left foot with his left foot. Then he shifts his left foot to her right foot and his body shifts the weight to his left foot. Then his right foot sneaks in next to her left foot. The Leader’s left foot sneaks to the other side of the Follower’s right foot, and then he lifts her to lead her right foot to collect and their feet are all next to each other, then he leads them to do the side penguin walk side steps continually together linearly to the direction of the close side of the embrace (Leader’s right, Follower’s left), starting with her left foot side step and his right foot side step.

The Leader shifts the Follower’s weight from one side to the other as his left foot blocks from her left foot to her right foot, and then his right foot sneaks in to block her left foot. He does a little lift to make her right foot collect as he gets to his left foot.

The Follower should be straight up and down when the Leader is that close to her during his steps.

2nd Surprise: Follower’s split-weight pivoted change of direction (a sexy promenade back into the line of dance)

We began with moving our hips as if doing the 1950s dance the twist.

This second surprise will help us enjoy the middle, and is great for stretchy melodies.

From the parallel system walk, on the Follower’s right foot back step, the Leader stops her in the middle of her weight, pivots her on both feet clockwise, and then steps out in forward step (Follower’s left foot forward step; Leader’s right foot forward step). During this pivot, the Leader sends the Follower around (like a small stirring motion at the point of her pivot), stirring the caramel. The caramel is the middle of the stir. The entire movement feels like a promenade, but it’s not exactly a promenade.

The Leader should try to stay relatively close to the Follower. Having good real estate is the first thing, he shouldn’t be too close, but not too far away. He should be stepping on the third track.

The Leader stops the Follower’s weight transfer in the middle, preventing her from collecting. The Leader turns his spine, so the Follower’s spine turns too, and the Leader opens up the embrace.

The Follower’s feeling is that he is really turning her around. He brings her back and around, and it’s a little bit sway-ey. The Leader’s chest is involved in making the Follower’s caramel.

3rd Surprise: A functional tool to generate 7-8 different things.

The Leader shifts his weight so that his left foot is free. The Leader stops the Follower with his right foot forward outside step on her right foot back step, and then he steps around her right foot with a left foot side step, so there is a moment of shared axis, preventing her from collecting and she is pivoting on two feet.

From this position, he can lead many things:
Single-Axis Turn
Leg Wrap

The Leader’s goal is to sneak around, stepping around the Follower’s axis as she is on two feet as sneakily as possible until she eventually releases. The Leader’s goal is to maximize the Follower’s time on two feet so she has nice spiral energy.

The Follower should let her upper body go first as much as it can, and then delay the hips to actively spiral out of the movement, milking the spiral energy as much as possible. She should also pivot as much as she can when her lower body does come out of the spiral.

Maestros concluded with a quiz and demo to Carlos diSarli y su sexteto typico’s Cicatrices. 

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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