Class Notes: November 2010

Previous months: June 2010 | July 2010 | August 2010 | September 2010 | October 2010

These are the class notes for November 2010 Tango classes in Berkhamsted.

7th November: Embrace and barridas

Beginners Class: Embrace and weight changes

We spent some time working on clearly leading and following weight changes, and differentiating between a change of weight and a step.

Key points:

  • Leaders, it's essential that you always know what foot the follower is on. The best way to ensure this is to put her on that foot to start with.
  • Followers, it's essential that you don't change your weight without it being led. Don't "mark the beat" by shifting from one foot to the other, for example. If your weight is on one foot, keep it there.

We then worked on sidestep / weight change combinations, ending with a rotating version of this combination, as a nice way to dance in place, and / or use double-time movements in a controlled manner.

More information

Some more information about weight changes.

Improvers class: Barridas in Giros

We covered several barrida ("sweep") variations as part of a giro movement, based on sweeping the sidestep after the backstep of a giro.

Key points:

  • Leaders, don't force the move - no pushing of feet please. The feet simply happen to be in contact when you lead a step - as normal - with the body.
  • Followers, similarly, move your feet as normal when led to do so - ignore the fact that the feet are touching; don't react differently based on this.

Examnple video of barridas and giros:

(Note: this video shows a slightly different foot placement to the one we worked on, but the principle's quite similar)

More information

Some more information about barridas.

14th November: On and off-Axis movements

Beginners Class: Keeping on axis

Terminology: Your "axis" ("Eje" in Spanish) is the line going up your body, on which your weight should be centred, and around which you rotate in movements such as ochos. If you are "on your axis", you are balanced - it is important to keep on your axis whilst moving / rotating, otherwise you will lose your balance.

By default, as followers, you should be "on-axis" at any time when you are not actually changing your weight from one foot to the other.

We worked on ochos - aiming to get the followers to be able to power their own ocho movements. If you as a follower can do all these movements by yourself (without needing support from your partner), then you will be able to stay on your own axis, and not lose balance, when you are being led to do ochos.

Improvers class: Off-axis - Volcadas

We then worked on being taken off axis (deliberately), using the "lean" movement known as a "volcada", starting from an ocho, then ending in a cross movement (and then putting the follower back on-axis).

Key points
  • Leaders: leading a volcada requires confidence and stability. If in doubt, don't do it!
  • Followers: Don't fight being taken off-axis; that said, you do need to trust yout partner...

For more information

Ghost Guide To Tango: Volcadas.