Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Pivot or No Pivot Back Ocho

Song: Cara Sucia by Carlos DiSarli
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
The Beat, Berkeley, CA
September 3, 2018

Theme for the Month: Opposites Attract
Topic for the Evening: Pivot versus No-Pivot Back Ocho

In our class, we were to do no pivot back ocho to pivoted ocho to extreme, with test in between to transition.

Warm Up #1: Hook behind and try to walk forward.
Secret: Lift heel by bending the knee, which creates space for our hooks to go deeper. 
Make feet so that they make a letter A or arrowhead
Hold arms out as if holding a giant fishbowl.
Thighs should be in "I have to pee" tightness (or holding a quarter).
Big toe stays on the floor.
Be compact and tight.
Do not pivot, just hook your foot one behind the other.

Warm-Up Exercise 2: Full open back ocho.
In partnership in fingertip embrace, a little offset to each other
Both dancers do ochos.
First is a no-pivot step
Then a giant pivot
to finish the step
back cross step
swivel/pivot while collecting the step

In this warm-up exercise we were to do regular ochos (hence the pivot).
Outside leg reaches back cross
we transfer the weight
then pivot
We were to do it together, enjoying the moment of the spiral together at the same time.
We were to have "ice" in the steps, but "fire" in the hips.

No-Pivot Ocho Review
back cross step behind without pivoting
in stepping back, cross over the line by opening the hip
Keep big toe on the ground.
Hold quarter at top of pelvis in "I have to pee" 

In regular ochos, the Leader's spine pivots to lead the Follower to pivot in her ochos.
In no-pivot ochos, the Leader's spine stays square with no rotation.  Leader keeps spine still and quiet, controlling his oblique muscles to prevent any contrabody motion.

In sugarbowl embrace, be really subtle in your leading and following as we drilled the no pivot, walking back ocho.
Leader begins with a sneak attack weight change on his left, then left again rollerblading.  
He does not rotate his spine at all.
Follower collects quickly but reaches slowly.

We drilled, with Leader alternating between both pivoted ochos and no-pivot ochos.

Leader should be crystal clear with what he does with his body in leading a pivoted or no-pivot ocho.

Leader turns his spine earlier than you would think for pivoted ochos, so Follower can prepare to do an ocho.

Leader leads the hook behind from the no pivot ocho on the open side of the embrace (the easy side).
Follower does cross behind and then hook; there is no pivot in this action.  

Leader steps with his left foot, and then his right foot stops midweight.  Leader changes the embrace by adding extra compression.

Be clear and timing is key.

Leader: when rollerblading, do not put all your weight on your right foot, otherwise Follower will do more of an open cross rather than a tight cross
(Cross variations can be tight, deep, or shallow, but in our class we want them to be tight.)
Leaders: Try to contain the weight inside.

Many leaders commented that it's hard to feel where the weight is when the Follower is in the cross.
To help, Follower should really settle: do not be too "up" or "light"

Putting it all together...
No pivot ocho
hook behind (this is the transition)
Big pivoted ocho (could be Follower's left foot back sacada of Leader's left foot on the open side of the embrace).
In going from the no-pivot ocho to a big pivoted ocho, the embrace opens up in transition, so that the Leader invites / provides room for the Follower to do a big back step (Follower's left foot back sacada).
Focusing on the transition/opening up of the embrace:
Leader's right arm opens up after the Follower settles on her right foot.
Follower's left hand opens up in her embrace in response to Leader opening up. 
Follower needs to be fully vertical and not tiled when she pivots in her big back ocho.
Leader goes into Captain Morgan stance a little to create space for the Follower's left foot back sacada, which also gives him more rotational ability.

Maestros concluded with a class quiz and with Homer demo'ing with two students to Carlos Di Sarli's Cara Sucia.
Notes courtesy of Anne at