Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Crazy Out of the Box Stuff, Part 2

Song: Somebody That I Used to Know by Pentatonix (Goyte cover)
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
September 20-22, 2013, TangoPulse Workshops in Northampton, MA

The focus of our class would deal with more compact turns, and Boy/Man boleos and Boy/Man ganchos.

The Boy Gancho from the Alteration

First we began with an individual exercise to loosen the ball socket of our hip (improve the range of motion for our hip rotation), to both sides of our hips.

Then we did amagues on the floor, without pivoting on the floor, to see how far our feet could get. We switched feet to work our other side. We were to grow our amagues bigger, letting our feet go, to get a thwack on the opposite side of our hips in a boleo.

Next exercise:

Self gancho

We began with knee ganchos (boy ganchos), and then made them bigger to get them higher to the opposite outside hip. Do not sickle the feet, and try to point the foot.

Next exercise:

In partnership, the Leader’s left foot sacada during the Leader’s right turn, sacadaing the Follower’s trailing foot of her right foot side step, after her forward step. Leader does right foot boleo to the left side of his left hip.

In the clockwise turn/hiro/molinete, the Leader’s right foot sacada on the Follower’s trailing foot of her forward step, into a stop with his left foot of her right foot side step, to do a Leader’s right foot boleo.

The Follower is the foundation. She has to place her back cross step carefully, because if she does it wrong, she will pull him, or push him back if she falls forward. Her steps need to be nice and controlled and even.

Instead of the boleo, the Leader can do a baby amague.

After the Leader’s boleo, he can do a right foot back cross tuck against his left foot, like his cross behind and walk forward exercise.

In close embrace, the Leader can just come in on her side step (basically just do the second sacada and skip the first one).

Chapter 2

Functional use of Alterations to do the Man Gancho (not the Boy Gancho). Pay attention to how slow the process of snaking up the leg is. It’s a slow, snaky wrap.

The Boy Gancho is from the knee down, and is dangerous. The Man Gancho uses the whole leg.

We worked to refine the leg swing of our Gancho Technique.
We were to avoid the knee gancho, where the leg bends at the knee and the thigh is not involved in the gancho at all.
We step 1.5 meters away from the wall.
Arms were held out such that we imagined we were holding a large bowl of sleeping fish.
Swing one leg with lazy bent knee on the way up, and swing it back.
Keep our upper body quiet so that sleeping fish were not disturbed.
Connect the four corners of our standing foot to the floor.
Use the floor to power the working leg.

In partnership, with both dancers side to side next to each other, Follower was to keep consistency of swing in her leg while the Leader goes behind or in front with his Captain Morgan leg. The Follower does not change the angle of the swing of her leg, and she should not look for the gancho.

The Leader’s job is to be in the right place at the right time with his Captain Morgan leg. With different height dancers, the Leader’s leg can go up or go down. He would use his opposite elevator leg to go down when dancing with a very short Follower.

For the Follower, on her leg swing, she should go with a pointed toe, and come out trying to create a little bit of turnout. Level 2 of this exercise is for the Follower to close her eyes. Level 3 is for both the Follower and Leader to close their eyes. The Follower needs to have strong legs (don’ be wimpy). The Followers should be tigers, squeezing the Leader’s leg with her swing leg, really letting it go to wrap around the Leader’s thigh. The Follower’s leg is like a whip, if she can wrap around the leg/joint it makes things all the sweeter. The Follower needs to really let the whole leg go.

The thighs have eyes – they can feel what they need to do, where they need to go.

Back to the pattern, there were 2 versions:

A version 
Follower’s right foot forward step
Leader’s right leg wrap

B version 
Follower’s left foot back step
Leader’s right foot back gancho of Follower’s right forward leg
Leader takes a step left foot diagonally back to cross the Follower’s pivot point.

Then we backed up to work on just a small amague.
Leader’s footwork:
Right foot side step back
Turn to the left
Pivot a lot
Left foot diagonally back into the Follower’s space
Lead the Follower to do a hiro counterclockwise.
Leader’s baby amague on the floor with his right foot.

The Follower steps forward, pivots, and then steps back. The Leader goes from clockwise to counterclockwise around the Follower, like a tango slingshot.

The Follower senses the presence of the Leader’s leg, and his calf going in, which prevents her from collecting and so she makes a back step around the Leader instead.

The Follower’s tricky step is her back cross step. It needs to be around the Leader with a smooth transfer of weight.

Instead of the Leader’s right leg amague, he can do a gancho.

Leader’s right leg gancho of the Follower’s right leg forward step as he pivots into her left foot back step to lead the Follower to do a counterclockwise molinete (taking a back cross step first).

Leader rocks forward on his right foot, then she steps left foot back in her alteration, where the Leader ganchos her right leg with his right leg.

The Follower needs to have good turns technique.

For the Leader to pivot, he does the kick the heel around, with the body in a block. His goal is to be smooth.

The Follower needs to have good walking technique on her forward step into her back step, by opening her left hip as she reaches around, and transferring the weight carefully.

We drilled this in teapot embrace to prevent the Leader’s from overusing his right hand and for the Follower to actively engage her right hand/arm.

Maestros concluded with a quiz and demo to the Pentatonix cover of Goyte’s Somebody That I Used to Know.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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