Thursday, February 12, 2009

February 5-11

Saturday, February 7, 2009
Marcela Guevara y Stefano Giudice Workshops @ La Pista. Turns Combinations:
There was much technical discussion on the mechanics and leading the turn. Lead in upper body. Leaders need to know how to lead it. Never forget, if you don't lead it, everything will be so hard. From the turn you, can do so much; but if Leader stops, the Follower will stop. If Leader can always lead the turn, he can do many different steps (gancho, sacada, etc.), but if he stops, he will kick the Follower. Another concept: When Leader wants to lead the figure, he doesn't have to change his posture, and there is no need to change his way of dancing. He can open a little if he needs to, but when he's done, he needs to come back to the embrace. The sequence: Follower steps forward with her left foot to the right side to do an ocho. Then walk. Then turn to right. Leader does left foot sacada of Follower's left foot on her forward step, Leader does left foot sacada of Follower's right trailing foot on her side step. Follower does left leg barrida of Leader's right leg on her back step. Then she steps back again, pivoting, and Leader sandwiches her left foot with his right foot then left foot. Follower does right foot pasada over Leader's left foot. For the Follower's molinete, she needs to know how to control the step. The Leader leads, the Follower follows. List to the music, the music is an object. Don't worry about the step. The role of the Follower is to make the movement well. The Follower is the static element, beautiful element. For the Leader to lead well, he needs to be elegant. The Follower's goal should be to do the movement beautifully. There is energy and embrace changes when the turn starts. The Leader's sacada should be precise, always to Follower's leg with no weight. Next, we did the Leader's barrida, starting with the molinete counterclockwise, with Follower going back with her left leg, side right leg, forward left leg, with Leader left leg sacada, Leader right leg barrida of Follower's right leg. Only the position of the Leader's foot changes. It is important for the Follower on the counterclockwise molinete to do the back cross of her left foot/side well. To do this, there is a complete transfer of weight from the left leg to the right leg to do the back cross of the left leg. This is an extremely important concept, from Claudia Codega. In molinetes, there is a change of the embrace to open, but dancers should not change the shoulder orientation to each other. In the Leader's barrida, he does a forward sweep.

Workshop: Advanced Sequences 1: We did Follower boleo and sacada combo, and Leader's boleo (rare) and sacada. We began with the 8CB to cross, then clockwise molinete. On Follower's right forward step (with Leader's sacada of her trailing left foot), Leader leads Follower to do forward boleo of her left leg, then pivot her around counterclockwise to do a back sacada of her left foot through the Leader's two legs. Maestros discussed the concept of finding the triangle when doing sacadas. The receiver's two feet are two points of the triangle. The Leader does a sacada, and then his two feet become the two new points of the triangle, etc., etc. Bottom line in sacadas: Always find the relationship of the triangle. There is strong energy for the boleo/sacada movement. Follower's technique: After the boleo, collect the legs and have them closed, then pivot with legs closed, and then do the sacada. If legs are wide open and swinging out, it's ugly and dangerous. Leader does weight transfer when he cuts the boleo. The cut is where the movement of the boleo is led. Next we did Follower's back left leg sacada of Leader's left leg. The Follower steps forward, Leader does left leg back sacada of Follower's right leg. Here, the direction of the Follower's back sacada is diagonally back to Leader's outside left (not straight center to him). There is also a change of embrace so that dances are more side by side in the chest. Next, we added Leader's sacada into gancho of Leader's right leg of Follower's left leg. These movements are done with energy, where the music dictates it to be (not in normal walking rhythm).

Sunday, February 8, 2009
Marcela Guevara y Stefano Giudice Workshops @ The Beat: Changes of dynamic.
Changes of dynamics can happen in two ways: in a musical sense, and in the direction of the dance, and also in the change of front of the Follower's relationship to Leader's. We began with a figure, Follower steps side right, left back ocho, right back ocho pivot (where Leader suspends Follower on her left foot to pivot around) right forward to closed side outside of Leader. Next, we did: Follower steps side right, side left, between leader's leg, pivoting to change direction, side right. This was basically a rock step. Leader steps forward with his right leg, open, then back with left leg. There is more dynamic when there is a change in direction.

Off-Axis moves. We attempted to do off-axis moves in a more normal tango, not necessarily a clown thing, meaning just do these moves when it makes sense. If you open the embrace up too much or too often, it loses the beauty of the tango. We began with the basic forward (in front of) colgada. Then we did the basic side (lateral) colgada. We did these coladas where Follower's weight is in her right foot and then she pasadas with her left leg. Then we linked them all together, a counterclockwise colgada forward, a counterclockwise colgada side (lateral), then a side volcada with Leader and Follower in about 90 degree angle to each other. To lead these moves, Maestro talked about the concept of polenta, where it would help the Leader in his body movements (strength, speed, security, and solidness) if he were to envision stirring a huge pot of polenta. There are many different ways maestros teach colgadas, one of which to recommend the sitting down of the Follower. Marcela y Stefano do not recommend that. They recommend Follower try to remain lifted and upwardly oriented in her chest in the colgada with just a slight bend in the hips. In the volcada, they recommend most of the weight being taken by the Follower's left armpit, and since they had no idea where our familiarity with volcadas was, they had us to an easier than normal volcada – the side volcada, so that any new beginners' backs were less likely to be hurt, especially if she did not know what she was doing.

Maestros were great. Rosa and Felipe did a great job hosting and translating (even though they also spoke some English). These were very fun workshops, and quality of dancers was quite good. The sequences taught were quite simple, and we had ample time to drill them over and over, and delve deeply into the technique of the lead.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009
CCSF Classes with Chelsea Eng. In Follower's Technique,
we worked on ochos. The video was of Florencia Taccetti on the technique of the ocho. I wrote detailed notes on the clip, but in the rush to catch a red-eye, somehow the piece of paper slipped through my fingers. Oh well, maybe next week... In class we began with our usual walking and floor exercises, and then worked at the barre to strengthen our feet and better our balance. Then we worked on ochos (forward and back), plain and with embellishments, at the barre and in partnership.

In Advanced, we worked on changes of direction / alterations. To really work on drilling this concept, Followers did forward ochos, and leaders tried to catch them doing it, stop them by outstepping them (closing the option to complete the ocho), and then redirecting her to back step. We did this first toward the open side, and then to the trickier closed side. We drilled this a lot so that Leader's could really feel when the correct timing was. We also changed the foot placement of the Leader as well, and also tried doing this from back ochos. It was an excellent class.

I'm in the Big Apple until Monday, to go to the Valentina opening reception. I have a list of NYC milongas/practicas I want to go to, but who knows if I make it. Kohle and I have lots to do with the reception, cooking for for thank you lunch, etc. This time around I actually took the bus from JFK to Grand Central. It was super easy, and a mere pittance. I am kicking myself that I didn't do it in the past. D'oh!!

Ana de Nueva York

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