Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Social Side-to-Side Alteration

Song: Champagne Tango by Carlos DiSarli
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
September 30, 2013, The Beat, Berkeley, CA

Chapter 1: The footwork (the broccoli)

We began with a demo of maestros showing us the step.

Leader’s footwork: 
Side left
Right foot forward outside partner
Left foot side
Change weight

Follower’s footwork 
Side right
Left foot back step
Clockwise Pivot
Right foot side
Then either:
Weight change in place to left foot so right foot is free (Follower should enjoy the transfer of weight)
Side step side step to Follower’s left (Leader’s right)

Of the two options above (weight change to left foot or side step to Follower’s left), we communicate the weight change in place versus the side step to the Follower’s left as follows:

By having a settling energy on the weight change. The Leader is still in the “up” position. The Follower’s knees are still soft. The movement is still and streamlined. The Leader holds the Follower, then goes up and then settles in place with heels together.

The side step has more of a “U” energy (going down and then up), with the Leader’s knee softening as he goes down and the Follower matching him, and them coming up together.

For the footwork in the step, the Leader should not cut off the Follower’s right foot side step, which could happen if he mistakenly pivots around her two much. It is a 90-degree pivot, not a 180-degree pivot. He should also make a longer right foot forward step before, and his thigh can caress the Follower’s thigh, and make sure his feet are in a line, not drifting across lines. This step should be long and close in a line.

We also drilled this on the other side.

Chapter 2: Here, we got more dynamic and fun, adding the spice or cheddar cheese to the broccoli.

Note that this step will start and finish in the line of dance.

In the side-to-side alteration, the footwork is as follows:
Left foot captures the moon,
Clockwise pivot
Right foot side step.

Right foot side step (Leader captures the moon here)
Clockwise pivot
Left foot side step
So for the Follower, it’s a whipping around motion.

The Follower’s knees need to be soft so she can push off and have a good, long side step.

There are two aspects to alterations:
(1) Capturing the moon
(2) Changing the Follower’s direction

The Leader’s left foot on his capture of the moon needs to be outside the Follower’s right foot. He should be comfortable with his “sneak attack”, going long and around the Follower’s foot. Capturing the moon is all about real estate. He needs to own that position.

The Follower needs to arrive on her right foot securely at the point of the capture of the moon, with her knee soft, so that the can access the power in the floor and in her leg and respond to whether the Leader pivots her or leads her to make a side step.

At the end of class, maestros showed us (but we did not attempt) how to link side to side alterations going down the line of dance.

Maestros concluded with a class quiz and demo to diSarli’s Champagne Tango.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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