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Volcadas Part 1: Basic Circular and Linear Volcadas


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.


A volcada (tilt, to tip over) is when the leader and follower both lean forward, off-axis, into one another. This is also referred to as in carpa (tent).

Forward Circular Volcada

We started off with a volcada to a forward cruzada (cross). Volcadas can be done linearly, but I prefer to begin teaching with a more circular Volcada. We start with a small back circular boleo with her left leg, to free up her free leg. Then I step back and around her with my left leg, bringing her off-axis towards me (volcada). She lets her left leg “float” forward. I collect my feet and then step forward with my right to the open side of the embrace, thus leading her to a cruzada and back onto our axis.

TIP for Both:
The connection (weight) in the volcada should be distributed through the upper torso, not just in his right shoulder and her left shoulder. He should keep his torso flat throughout the movement, if he tilts to his right all her weight will go to his shoulder. She should send her weight to his center (spine) not to his shoulder, this will create maximum balance. She also needs to pivot her supporting leg/foot to stay pointing towards him.

TIPS for Men:
After the leader steps back with his left, initiating the volcada, he should then collect his feet before stepping forward with his right.

At the end of the volcada, he should step forward with his right and return her to her axis. But he should not step too close to her, as this will knock her off her axis in the other direction. He needs to leave a little space between their feet so that both can return to their own axis before taking another step.

TIPS for Women: At the moment of the volcada, the woman should let her free leg float forward. The foot of her free leg should be at minimum under her knee, but can extend completely straight depending on her styling. The foot should follow the direction of the movement.

Don't collapse, keep your core strong and straight. The hinge for leaning forward should happen at the ankles. Don't let your hips break forward or back.

Don’t bring your free leg back into the cruzada until he begins bringing you back onto your axis. By the time you are completely, back onto your axis your feet should be crossed.

Linear Volcada from Back Crosses

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.


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.

Demo of Circular Volcadas with Music

Forward Volcada to Both Sides

At 0:45, we demonstrated a volcada to both sides of the embrace.
TIP for Men: Notice that my left only moves slightly, my right foot is leading the volcadas to both sides. Men also, attempt to collect your feet in the middle of each volcada, it makes it look neater and is a clearer lead for her.

360 Volcada from Rebote
At 1:00, we demonstrate getting a full 360 turn with a volcada from a rebote (rebound).??TIP: This is really a single-axis turn. After the rebound, I want to get my right foot very close to her right foot, so that I can get a lot of momentum for the single-axis turn.

Double Volcada with Split Weight Turn

This is one of my signature steps. At 1:25, I lead her to a volcada, but instead of returning her to a “tight” cruzada, I lead her a little more to my left so that her feet are separated by a few inches. As she puts her free leg down, I stop her so that her weight is evenly split. She is on axis at this point and I walk around her with her weight split. As I get all the way around, I move her weight back to her right and lead another volcada. You need the space between her feet, mentioned above, so that she can have room to pivot.

Forward Volcada from Back Cruzada

At 2.21, I lead a back cruzada and then initiate a forward Volcada.

Demo of Linear Volcadas to Music
Melodía Porteña (1937) by Juan D’Arienzo

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.