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Creative Ganchos I: Reverse Ganchos and Twisty Ganchos

Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks
Date: 4/22/2013
Song: Los Vino by Otros Aires

In this class, we examine the basic technique for a gancho and then look at some creative ganchos such as reverse ganchos and twisty ganchos. We also combined the gancho with boleos and colgadas.

Soltadas Part 2: Compression, Impulse and Expansion

Date: 4/15/2013
Teachers: Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks
Song: Navegante (Vito Dumas) by Carlos Di Sarli with Roberto Rufino

This class was the second in our series on Soltadas. We focused on building compression within the embrace and using an impulse to create expansion. As always, this video does not cover everything we talked about in the class, but tries to cover some of the major concepts. We also discussed how these concepts can be applied to our more traditional tango.

This is a more nuevo tango move and requires more space than we might have at a typical milonga. We stressed, to our students, the importance of respecting the space that we have. These are not moves that we would do at a typical, crowded milonga. This could be used, but only on a large dance floor when you have plenty of room. For example, we have an alternative hour after our usual milonga, often during this time there would be plenty of room for these steps.

Also, not all milongas are crowded or maybe towards the end of the evening the floor thins out. These moves do not move backwards, they progress forward. You need at least 2 to 3 steps in front of you, that is all. Just be respectful of the flow of the line of dance and the other dancers on the dance floor and you should be fine.

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

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

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.

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Colgadas I

A Colgada is when the woman is lead completely off of her vertical axis to lean away from the man. The man also leans back to counter-balance the woman. In this class we will look at Back Colgadas, Side Colgadas and Single-Axis Turns while in Colgada.

Teachers: Clint Rauscher & Lena Hrybok

In this class, we looked at basic colgadas (hangs) initiated from close embrace.

Step 1: Basic Colgada

  1. We start with a side step to the open side of the embrace and I sandwich her right foot.
  2. To initiate the colgada, I move forward slightly, invading her space. Since we can't both occupy the same space she has to lean back. This is very slight and can be seen at :11 sec.
  3. At the same time I relax my embrace and extend my right arm out while I sit back to counterbalance her weight. Notice at :15 that we are not leaning straight back.. we are more sitting back. Think of the analogy of leaning against a bar stool or that your hips are a table with a stack of books stacked to your shoulders. If you straighten the stack will fall over. We have a slight bend in our knees. At this point, her weight should be only on her right foot and my weight can be more evenly distributed. All of her weight should be supported by the man's right arm. She should not be using her left arm at all and the open side of the embrace should not be engaged at all.
  4. Then I just return to my axis and while bringing her back to her axis.
  5. At 20 sec mark we demonstrate a slight change of embrace with the man's right hand shifting upwards slightly to hold onto her shoulder blade. This provides more stability for the woman.

Step 2: Basic Back Colgada to Alternating Side Colgadas

  1. We start the same as in the move above.
  2. Then I send her around to the close side of the embrace as I shift towards the open side. At this point, her hips will stay under her shoulders as will mine (see 1:00) . I am shifted to my left foot and she has now shifted to her left foot (see 1:30).
  3. Then we mirror this movement on the other side of the embrace.
  4. We ready to exit I lead her to the open side of the embrace and step behind and around myself leading her to take a forward cross step in front of me.

 Step 3: Colgada with Shared Axis Turn

  1. We start the same as in the move above
  2. I start the turn by sending my left leg around my partner's right leg, taking weight onto my left and then pulling my right a few inches back to find my partner's toe. Then I switch weight to my right and repeat.
  3. During the move, I think of her axis as being over her left leg. I want to keep her secure and stable over her left leg at all times. If I disturb her axis then she will feel the need to step.
  4. For the women, it is very important for them to remain calm and keep their posture. They must also allow their left leg to be very free, they should not apply any pressure to the man's right foot with their left foot. He needs his right foot to be free to move back and around.
  5. At 1:56 you can see how I am stepping around Lena. My toes are slightly pointed towards one another, inward.
  6. At 1:56/1:57 you can see how I pull my right foot back slightly to find her toe. I do this on every step around.

 Step 4: Side Colgada

  1. We start with a side step to the open side of the embrace.
  2. As she takes weight on her right foot, I put my right foot next to her right foot, so that my toe of my right toe is near the heel of her right foot.
  3. With her firmly planted on her right foot, I  begin extending my right arm. She wants to stay in my embrace so she goes into colgada.
  4. I then bring my body perpendicular to hers and collect my feet. I also go back to counterbalance her.
  5. To exit, I step back and around myself leading her to forward cross step around me. Notice that she very much steps around me, not out and away from me.
  6. At 2:21, we show that we are completely supported by the man's right arm. Her left arm has no weight, but is there for safety if she were to slip. My right arm is all the way around her right side, so I have a nice grip on her side and she should feel secure.
  7. At 2:37, notice my toes are straight and pointing towards her. My right foot is at her heel and my left foot is at her toe. I am completely beside her. When I step back with my left, I am creating more space for her to step around me.