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Soltadas from Back Cross: Part 1

Class Topic: Soltadas from Back Cross: Part 1
Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks of Tango Evolution and Tangology101
Date: 4/9/13
Song: Pa' Bailar by Bajofondo Tango Club

Disclaimer: This is a class demo for our students to remember what we worked on. Even though we give some instruction at the beginning of the video, it is only a small fraction of what we discuss in class.

In this class we looked at Soltadas from the back cross. Soltadas are releases of the embrace. We break our embrace temporarily to perform a soltada. This does not mean that we must completely break our physical connection, although we could do that as well. One important note is that while soltadas may be very modern/nuevo, they really re-enforce our knowledge of molinete and giros. So, working with them can increase your sensitivity in your regular dance.

Tip: We encourage our students to keep a slight physical connection as we do a soltada. We discuss this at the beginning of the video, that I place her hand on my chest as I am releasing the embrace and she can trace her hand around my body to help keep us from going to far away from one another.

In order to get a successful soltada, we must be able to depend on the structure of the molinete. The molinete consists of 3 steps: back cross, side open, forward cross. Once the leader initiates the molinete he should be able to release the embrace and TRUST the follower to execute the molinete, until he re-engages the embrace. We discussed that he can re-engage the embrace on any of the 3 steps of the molinete.

We then added a barrida with a soltada from her back cross.

Variations in video:

3.13 We execute the soltada and re-engage the embrace on her forward cross and continue around her to lead her to another forward cross to exit.

3:30 - We execute the soltada and then lead a leg wrap/gancho after the final forward cross.

3:55 - We execute the soltada and I re-engage the embrace and perform a leg wrap on her side open step.

4:30 - We initiate a soltada with barrida from her back cross. In this one, we keep a connection with his left and her right hands. This also results in a pasada as she passes over my right foot.

5:10 - This is a crazy one.. here I lead the soltada but then step in front of her blocking the forward cross of her molinete. She wants to take the forward cross step but she can't because I am exactly where she needs to go. So she stops. Notice her hand on my right shoulder, so I use that compression in her right hand on my shoulder to reverse the direction and lead her back around me... basically "rewinding" the soltada.

5:40 - Another crazy one where after the final forward cross, I step behind her making thigh to thigh contact and lead a reverse gancho. Yes, there is a lead for the gancho. As with all ganchos, there is thigh to thigh contact first and then the lead which is a tiny twist.

  These also work very well in vals since they are circular in nature. Take a look at 2:05 of this video of Oscar and Ana Miguel performing a vals:

Single Axis Turns (Week 2) and Leading by the Creation of Space

3/12/2013
Song: No Te Apures Cara Blanca (1942) by Lucio Demare with Juan Carlos Miranda
Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks

This is from our second week of "Single Axis Turns." This week we looked at initiating single axis turns from a colgada, barrida and boleo.

This class also had another theme which was leading through the creation of space. We believe that a large part of leading and following is that the leader creates a space and the woman then fills that space. This allows for a very comfortable dance which does not require force or pushing or pulling or lifting. If the leader clearly creates space and the follower is perceptive and willing to enter the space created then a lot of unnecessary actions can be avoided.

Tip: Women should not let their free leg fly out and up. Women should keep their free leg relaxed, but weighted into the floor.

Tip: Women should notice that Shelley lifts her knee at the beginning of the colgada to the side, but then lowers it as we start turning in the other direction.

Tip: Don't try to hard. Both men and women should practice pivoting 180 degrees and then 360 degrees without throwing themselves around.  They should just take their upper bodies around in the direction they want to turn and then let their hips and feet fall in underneath.

Tip: Single axis turns can be thought of as mini-colgadas. We should have some opposing force in order for a single axis turn to feel stable.

Single Axis Turns (Week 1) with Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks

3/4/2013
Song: Tal Vez Sera Su Voz (1943) by Lucio Demare with Raul Beron singing
Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks of Tangology101 and Tango Evolution

Note: This is a demo for our students and for perspective students to see the type of material that we cover. This demo covers a 1.5 hour class with lots of instruction, exercises and discussions of musicality which are not covered in the video.



We looked at two different single axis turns, both turning clockwise or to the close side of the embrace.

Step 1
At 0:11, we start by switching to cross system and performing a barrida (sweep). Then we execute the single axis turn (180 degrees) and then we step back and turn to return to the line of dance. This step also includes a change of front, discussed in other lessons.

Hint: Keep it calm. Don't try too hard. Just simply turn, don't try to sling yourself around.

Step 2
At 0:42, we start with a rebound step, twisting to get her to step close to my right foot with her right foot. Then we use the unwinding of that  twist to generate the momentum for our turn.

Hint: At the end of the turn, we want to come back straight and make sure we are balanced and that our feet are together before stepping back. We want to avoid falling back. We want that back step to be controlled and deliberate.

Single Axis Turns

When we turn, we have have three axes: her axis, his axis and a shared axis.  Here are some examples. In a calesita, where the man goes around the woman, the woman has her own axis and is also the shared axis. Imagine a pizza and the woman is in the center of the pizza and the man is walking around the crust. Another example, would be a typical molinete where the woman is going around the man. In this example, the man would man would have his own axis and he would also be the shared axis. The last example would be where both the man and the woman turn around a common center axis, but they each still have their own axis stepping around.

A single axis turn would be where all 3 axes combine at a common point and turn together. Single axis turns often have a feeling of spinning and also of colgada, leaning out from the common center. In close embrace, the colgada feeling is very small but present. This small colgada creates centrifugal force which helps us turn.

While this may look simple from the outside, it is an advanced concept which takes months of practice to master.

Serpentina (Reverse Sacadas)

Teachers: Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks
Song: "Bahía Blanca" by Carlos Di Sarli

Serpentina means snake like, because it looks like two snakes intertwined. This video is for our students to review what we covered in class.

As you can see from the slow motion, I am starting the step from back ochos. I follow her right leg around my right leg, ultimately wrapping my right leg around her left. The important thing is that I need to get her weight shifted to her right before I shift my weight to my right, thus displacing her left.

Alterations from Forward Cross

Date: 02/18/2013
Teachers: Clint and Shelley of Tango Evolution and Tangology101.com
Song: Bahia Blanca by Carlos Di Sarli

The alterations happen at :18 and :22. In the first one I am leading her forward and then she pivots 90 degress (change of front) and she steps backward (change of direction). So, in one step we change fronts and change directions, thus an alteration. In the second one, we change from her moving backwards to her moving forward in one step.

Also, at 2:42 we do a Cerpentina (or reverse sacada). We did a class on this recently, but did not make a video of that class, so we worked it in here because some students had been asking for a demo of it. It can be a dangerous step, so you really should get some instruction in it before attempting it.

Embellishments (adornos)
Of course, we work in many embellishments to our dance, but some worth noting in this demo are:

1. At the very beginning, we do little tucks before taking the first side step
2. At :34, Shelley does a castigada
3. At 1:27, I do an embellishment to her ocho cortado with a a small parada.
4. At 1:36, Shelley does another castigada and then little taps before exiting the parada.

Of course, with all of these embellishments, I am waiting and giving her the time to perform them.

Second Demo

We also did a second demo for this class which shows similar steps done to the more rhythmic "Pénsalo Bién" by Juan D'Arienzo.

We pause during D'Arienzo, but they are brief pauses, not the long stretched out pauses of Di Sarli. So, most of the embellishments are "worked in" to the pace of the music. What I mean by that is that in Di Sarli, I pause and give Shelley plenty of time to embellish, but in D'Arienzo, I do not pause as much so Shelley and I work the embellishments into the rhythm. This is more difficult and requies the embellishments to be sharp and precise. Here are some to look for:

1. At :09, Shelley does a quick tap as she pivots
2. At :13, I do a quick point and tap of my toe
3. At :15, I work in a quick tap while walking
4. At :20, Shelley works in a quick tap
5: At 1:05, we both embellish our forward crosses by tapping our feet together
6: At 1:36, Shelley does multiple taps as she pivots around
7: At 2:04, Shelley embellishes the Ocho Cortado by flexing her foot up.

Rhythmic Alterations with Cross Over Step and Cadencia

Date: 2.11.2013
Class Title: Rhythmic Alterations with Cross Over Step and Cadencia
Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks
Song: Son Cosas del Bandoneón by Enrique Rodriguez with Roberto Flores singing

The primary step that we worked on is at the very beginning of the video. We start by entering cross system and then executing a change of direction with me crossing my right over my left turning 180 degrees. Then I step forward with my left and do two rock steps (Cadencia) turning 90 degrees each to return to the line of dance. This step is very musical and works well with rhythmic orchestras such as Rodriguez, Canaro, Biagi, D'Arienzo, etc.

Another focus here is playing with the rhythm of quick, quick, quick, quick, slow. This happens with the two sets of rock steps.

One tip is to not try too hard with this step. It is small and compact. Stay close to each other. For the rock steps, it is important to stay in the middle of the step and a touch down into the ground as we rock, so that we don't feel the need to collect our feet. Also, we are both pivoting a great deal during this step.

Alterations - Rebounds, Changes of Direction and Changes of Fronts

Alterations are concept steps which includes Arrepentidas, Cambios de Frente (Changes of Front) and Cambios de Dirección (Changes of Direction).

The lessons below are focused on one or more of these types of Alterations. Often they are combined to create very dynamic steps.

Cambios de Dirección (Changes of Direction)
A change of direction is pretty straight forward, we are altering our direction. The tango couple is moving in one direction and then begins moving in another direction. This can happen on any foot and in any direction. This could be as simple as stepping forward and then stepping back.

Cambios de Frente (Changes of Front)
Imagine your body has 4 sides straight, to your left, to your right and behind you.  You are always facing in one direction and if you change your direction to face one of the 3 remaining directions then you have changed your front (frente).

Arrepentida (Repent) or Rebote (Rebound)
With an arrepentida, we step with one foot and then immediately take it back suddenly without resolving the initial step. For example, I could step forward with my left, bounce off of the left and then step to the side with the left. So, I started to go forward, changed my mind mid-step and then decided to go to the side instead. These steps are often sudden and use a quick, quick, slow rhythm.

Cadencia or Balenceo (Rock Step)
This is a simple change of direction where the leader interrupts the couple in the middle of a step and rocks back and forth either in place or in a cirlce. The key to this step is keeping the axis in the middle of the step.

Clarification: As you can see, in each of these we are either altering our direction or altering our front OR often both at the same time. We can change our direction without changing our front, but we cannot change our front without changing direction.

Ochitos (Tiny Ochos) in Milonga

1/21/2013
"Milonga de Mis Amores" by Francisco Canaro (1937)
One great thing to notice about this milonga is the use of a musical saw.  At 2:20, it is the instrument making a wavering type of sound in the background.

This is a class demo on Ochitos (Tiny Ochos) in Milonga. We looked at how to lead her to take tiny ochos, moving both linearly and circularly.
 

Linear Volcadas from Back Crosses

This class primarily focused on linear volcadas initiated from back crosses.

12/03/2012
Melodía Porteña (1937) by Juan D’Arienzo

As always, this demo is provided as a reminder to our students about the material we covered in class. In the actual class, we discuss both women and men’s technique, musicality, and navigation.?

Linear Volcada from Back Crosses?
At 0:06, we start by entering into cross system and leading the the woman to back crosses (ochos). When I step forward with my left, I send a small impulse forward sending her free leg (right) back, past neutral. I then take a small diagonal step back with my right, she should bring her free leg in the direction we are moving in and thus we get a back cross from her. The larger step I take back the larger the volcada, so it can be very small or large. I collect my feet and continue in cross system to a forward cross. At 1:06, we do the same step to the other side.

Tip: There is no pivoting involved in this step. When we initiate these from back ochos (back crosses) they are walking back crosses and not pivoting back crosses. I am keeping my chest flat and not using any contra-body movement.

Tip: For the men, it is very important to collect your feet after each step. When I step forward with my left, I collect BEFORE stepping back with my right.. then during the volcada, I collect my left. You can also see that I am sometimes doing an embellishment once i have collected during the volcada.

Tip: the woman’s free leg needs to be super relaxed, as always, so that it can react and move in the direction my intention/impulse sends it.

Alternating Back Volcadas?
At 0:19, we do alternating small back volcadas. The main tip here is that I am going slightly down and back up to free up her leg each time.

Back Cross and Volcada from Rebote?
At 0:28, we are in cross system and I step into her back open step with my forward cross step and then rebound (rebote) back and to the right (diagonally) causing her to do a back cross and then volcada.

Tip: With this step, I have a little contra-body happening since I am stepping outside partner. I keep that contra-body position as I step back and straighten after the back cross.

Back Cross and Volcada from High Sacada?
At 0:40, we enter cross system and I step inside with my left performing a high sacada to her right leg. At 1:22, we do the same high sacada but in parallel system.

Tip: For a high sacada, we perform a sacada above the knee so that our upper thighs touch. It is not a push, we barely make contact.

Simple Back Crosses
At 2:07, we do some simple back crosses in parallel system, but here they are pretty much all on axis and not so much volcadas.

Sacada to Giro to Back Cross and Volcada
At 2:18, we did not go over this in class.. I just did it as we were dancing.