Thursday, April 16, 2009

April 9-15

Saturday, April 11, 2009
Milonga de Nora @ Allegro with lesson by Federico Naveira and Ines Muzzopappa: Hiros.
Federico went right in to teaching some sequences: First sequence: From the back ocho, the Leader steps over her with his right leg clockwise over her left leg to step clockwise around her. For the Leader's technique, when he steps to his right, he makes a big step, taking enough big energy to make a big pivot by turning his chest. For Follower's technique: Her steps are back right, open left (Leader steps over at this point), forward right in the clockwise molinete. Two issues: On the Follower's back ocho, don't step too far away from the Leader because then he has to make a really big step over and it looks inelegant. For the Leader: turn her body more so that she can come closer to you. When the dancers remain close to each other, they will have more turn, which looks better. Second issue: Leaders: First lead the Follower to take the step back first, and then step over; do not go too fast or move the Follower with your own movement simultaneously. You do this by moving her axis with his right arm. Next sequence: In open embrace, it is important for the Follower's left arm to have contact with the Leader's arm. The leader changes feet while leading counterclockwise molinete for Follower. The Follower does back ocho (back cross step) of left leg counterclockwise; Leader pivots so his left leg is crossed in front of his right leg; Follower takes side step with her right foot, during which Leader does rulo. Follower takes a forward open step with her left foot, Leader leads her to pivot around and does a parada stop of his left leg of Follower's left leg, after which Follower steps over clockwise with her right leg. Follower's technique: The last forward step at the end before the pivot should be a big step, as molinete technique still applies (keep all steps of molinete the same size, always be the same distance from the Leader and do not float away). Next, we added sacadas to molinetes. Going counterclockwise (Follower goes back cross left foot; side right foot, forward left foot (during which Follower changes her orientation from being to the Leader's right side around to his left side), then Leader does left leg sacada of Follower's trailing right leg, immediately into Leader's side sacada with his right leg on the Follower's open left leg. Here, we can add the Leader's rulo sequence we just learned. Federico discussed the concept of the triangle when doing the sacada: When Follower is her forward left leg step, her two feet make two points of an equilateral triangle. The Leader's left leg takes the point of the triangle where the Follower's right leg was, and brings the Follower to the point of the Leader's triangle where he just left, but using his left arm to bring her to that point. Federico speaks English; Ines does not. They are both young teachers. We had lots of time to drill the moves, and the sequences we learned were simple ones. Though sparse with his verbiage, Federico explained some very important points about technique quite clearly. Ines struck me as being shy, and she gave feedback to Federico about what she saw while we were drilling, and thus gave Federico ideas of what he should clarify to us technique-wise. As a result, it was easy to take notes for the class. :o) And they both spent time individually with those couples who were aggressive enough to approach them for feedback. The milonga itself was extremely crowded on account of their popularity, and despite there being many other milonga events nearby. As a result, floorcraft was bad. I had an OK time though. I got to dance with a lot of my favorite leaders, some of whom asked me where I've been recently. (answer: still here, just not at too many milongas the last two weeks, for no particular reason other than needing a break). Food was the usual yummy cold cuts, crackers, and fruit artfully arranged by Jerry, wine brought in by the usual generous souls, and water in the usual 1 ounce dental cups (glad I brought my Nalgene). I think Federico is really trying to become a good teacher, and his teaching has improved a lot since CITA 2008.

Monday, April 13, 2009
La Cumparsita Milonga with lesson beforehand by Gary Weinberg and Carolina Rozenstroch on Volcadas.
We began with Carolina teaching us about how to relax the leg and have really good posture for volcadas. Our feet should be relaxed on the floor, toes released (not hammered), attempting to spread the feet inside the shoe and release the heel and be well connected and stable on the floor. From the pelvis up, our upper body should do the opposite and be really long, elongated, and up to the sky, having the opposite energy, with long back of the neck, inhaling so our chest goes up, and exhaling and still having our chest up. Next, we shifted weight with slightly forward intention to be on the balls of our feet, and then slightly back to be on our heels. Core engagement is vital. We were to keep our bodies, our cores very engaged and very long, but each dancer owning their own body (not relying on the other dancer). Next, we just worked on the simple volcada footwork of Follower back cross of right leg behind the left leg, and left leg popping forward as a consequence. Then we tried the other side of right foot back crossing behind right leg and right leg popping forward as a consequence. For the Leader, he does a weight change to cross system, and turns her a little like an in-line boleo, to send Follower's right leg back free. She gets really into the floor with her supporting leg. Because of his leading the turn, her right leg hooks back behind her left leg. He steps diagonally back with his right leg, which leads the volcada. Walk out to the cross. Maestro emphasized that the Follower should have the sensation of "Falling UP" -- so she should really focus on keeping her body very elongated and straight, and her rib cage as up and toward the sky as much as possible without breaking her body. For Leader's technique: Don't rush. Send her, step back, and collect feet every time. Do not let Follower turn her hips (as if for an ocho); hips, toes, chest, should all point toward each other at all times. For Follower's technique: Do not bend at the hip, even a little, it will make you feel heavy. From the simple volcada, we learned a spot where to insert it: From the ocho cortado with Leader's footwork of forward, together, side, together; instead of the Follower going back into the cross, after she steps forward with her left leg, Leader keeps her weight on her left leg as he steps back with his right leg and leads a volcada of her right leg hooking behind her left leg. For Follower technique: She should collect her feet at the point of unwinding. It was a good class. The milonga was fun, as usual. Tangonero played live; as usual they were great.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
CCSF Classes with Chelsea Eng.
It was Vals night, and we began in Follower's Technique with a video from CITA 2008 of Julio Balmaceda & Corina de la Rosa. In class, we did our usual warm up, floor exercises and foot strengthening exercises. We spent a lot of emphasis in walking and doing simple embellishments to the vals music 1-2-3 pulse, specifically stepping on the 1 and 3, and then on the 1 and 2 (which is quicker, catching the 2, and then holding on 3). In Advanced, Maestra taught a sequence from the CITA 2009 Advanced Vals class by Luis and Gabi, proteges of Julio y Corina). The sequence began with walking, weaving in and out. Then we added the Follower's counterclockwise molinete of back left foot, side right foot, forward left foot during which leader collects, then steps left foot forward curved in around her, pivot, and then he steps right foot forward during the Follower left foot forward step of the molinete, as if in the Americana. To this we changed the ending, adding sacadas. So, when Follower does the left forward step of the counterclockwise molinete, instead of the leader stepping forward with his right leg, he does a right leg sacada of her trailing right leg instead, directly into another sacada using his left leg of her trailing left leg as she steps side right. This concludes into Follower back ochos. It was a good class.

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