Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lesson on International Standard Technique

This is mostly focused on what Ladies should do.
  • Always remember to keep upper body to left throughout figures, leave right side to the Man. It's especially important to stay left for turning figures, otherwise Lady will end in front of Man and block him.
  • Elongate front of body (crunch back muscle), shoulder roll back down, head up (don't break neck) to left.
  • At end of each step "settle" - hips underneath, free to move again.
  • sway: always sway forward, the upper body goes with the forward sway motion, do not bend upper body back to create sway look - that's "broken sway", which will make Lady block Man. (Broken sway is  used in some higher level figures)
Now applying these principles to some Waltz figures.
  • Natural Turn:
    • step 2, Lady RF point LOD, leave upper body to left, open up hip to let Man go through, then body catch up.
    • hips sway from underneath forward.
    • then settle to normal position "sit", then move again.
  • Reverse Turn
    • sway: remember to go forward, don't do broken sway which gets Lady in front of Man.
    • Keep shoulder, head position all the same, relative to the spine. Spine sways. In Reverse Turn, step 2, it will appear that left elbow is aiming upward, be careful not to raise shoulder.
  • Closed Impetus:
    • After side step, stay left, leave the right side to the Man, brush and then out.
  • Natural Spin Turn
    • Do not anticipate spin turn and start shifting body to right and block Man. Stay left. RF forward, spin, L leg trailing, and then LF does a back and slightly side step.
    • Brush RF to LF and collect R hip, so Man can pass over. Keep R side to Man.
  • Double Reverse Spin
    • Timing: do 1 2 &3. 
    • Man's early rise signals Lady should do heel turn. Lady does RF "back", L heel closes to R heel, turn, rise and "forward", then RF "out" to side (after turning) and "cross", stay on left.
  • Progressive Chasse to Right: stay left, same as Quickstep
  • Back Lock: outside partner, stay with partner, don't open up.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Newcomer class on Tango

Progressive Link
The man steps forward in CBM. He steps beneath the lady. There is the effect of a windup before the second step. When he takes the second step, it is to the side of the left foot. This step release the tension of the CBM of the last step. 
Closed Promenade
Man's first step needs to be side, not forward, i.e., he does not turn his left foot out to point the direction he is stepping. The ladies were tending to step away from the man as they performed the figure. The lady, in promenade, should always step forward toward the man. She should always stay connected. 
Tango Frame
The book says that the man's right hand should reach to the lady's spine. Our instructor said that Man should place his hand so that his thumb touches the bottom of the lady's shoulder blade. The main point is that the point of the man's elbow should be in the crook of the lady's elbow. The lady's elbow should extend the man's frame. In the context of the Promenade close, the instructor said that the lady should stick to the man's right side at all times. If she ever loses contact with his right side, she has no lead.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bronze Tango Class

Choreography and technique pages have been updated on the web site.
As we have heard before, elongate the body between the hips and the ribs in the front. Man also extends through his right side. The knees are soft, but the torso is elongated. While the lady does look left, the man does not. He extends his right side, in order to shape to the left, but his head always faces the same way as his spine. He also has a "strong" left side, to keep the lady to his right.
Slow steps are "stalking" steps, and quick steps are "attacking". The slow steps should take the length of the beat to complete. If you are saying the time aloud, you begin the step when you say "slow", but don't change weight until after you have said it. Otherwise, you will have stepped, and then have to weight for the beat to complete before the next step, so it just looks like a quick with a hesitation. The other way of counting it out would be to used numbers, e.g., "1, 2, 3, 4". If the first step is slow, start the step on 1, but don't land and change weight until 2.
Left Foot Rock
Maintain the body position, rotate only on the man's back steps.
Outside Reverse Turn, Lady Inside
For the lady, this is the Tango equivalent of a heel turn on the first two steps.
  • All heel turns are characterized by early rise. On step 1, the man uses body rise at the end of the step to signal that a heel turn is coming. The rise should induce the lady to straighten her knees, which in turns signals her to bring her feet together.
  • The man steps across the lady on step 2. In contrast to the outside partner version, where step 2 is oriented BDW, this step should end backing LOD.
  • The man keeps his weight forward on step 2. When he places his right foot, it should be on the ball of the foot. If the man were to stop on step 2, he would be pushing off the ball of his right foot. If his weight carries too much too quickly to his heel, he will pull the lady off her balance, and prevent her from executing the heel turn.
  • The man stays on his side (the left) on step 2, lest he knock the lady over on his right.
  • The lady keeps her head left and back on steps 1 and 2. If she does not, she will not be able to bring the feet together beneath her on step 2, she will need to step to the side to maintain balance.
  • In contrast to the swing dances, the lady does not drag her left heel, she places it. That means that at the end of step 2, her feet will be turned out, the right foot pointing DW, and the left foot facing LOD

Friday, January 15, 2010

Newcomer lesson on Tango

Nothing new in terms of technique that hasn't been seen here before, but sometimes it's worth repeating till it gets down into the body.
  • Man's body is turned 1/8 to left relative to hips and feet in closed position.
  • Lady positions head so that she is looking out over her left elbow.
  • Man positions head so he is looking at his left hand.
  • Walks should be distinct from side steps. In a progressive side step, man's right foot is placed directly to side of left foot, relative to foot's orientation. Instructor said that directions in The Ballroom Technique, (RF to side and slightly back) refer to feeling more than to foot placement.
  • When stepping backwards, step is initiated by standing knee moving forward (bending) and hips moving back. Body moves before feet.
Practice Routine:
  1. Two walks (SS)
  2. Progressive side step (QQS)
  3. Rock Turn (SQQSQQS)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lesson on Quickstep and Rumba

  • Do not lean into natural turns, or leaning into the lady in the Forward Lock. In the Forward Lock it may be a matter of how much CBM one can manage. 
  • Sometimes there is a disparity in how much two partners settle which causes two people to rise and fall different amounts. I settle late, and continue to go down when I should have leveled off and started to rise. Power comes either from going down, or by flexing the joints and pushing off. The four joints are the ball of the foot, the ankle, the knee, and the hip.
  • Lady: when stepping backward, step back as far as her body is moving. If her body weight is behind her feet, he would feel her weight leaning away. When he tries to adjust and close the gap, her feet are in the way. 
  • Man: do not lift chin in an attempt to improve posture. Instead, lengthen the neck, and keep chin parallel with the floor.
In a backwards walk, we need to straighten the leg before it receives weight. The motion needs to be more. Cucarachas and cuban rocks are not two-dimensional, and they need to have rotational motion. On rumba walks, we should bend the knee of the moving leg, pressing up from the ball of the foot, and down from the hips.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lesson on Quickstep Technique

As a side note, our coach said that she and her partner almost never do latin lessons with their coaches individually, i.e. partnership is much more critical in standard than in latin.

How to lead the difference between the Chassé Reverse Turn and to do a Heel Turn in Double Reverse Spin. The difference in footwork is that on a Reverse Turn, the swing step, step 2, should be in a line with Man's driving step, step 1. In other words, if Man starts the reverse turn DC, his second step should continue DC in a line from his first step. When leading the lady to do a Heel Turn, Man steps forward and diagonally across with his right foot, cutting off his lady's ability to step forward. Man steps around her.

The instructor talked about a "Standard dance principle": Do not turn the body (hips) until the end of a step.  Otherwise, it would feel like Man is leading the lady into a Heel Turn when he is trying to lead the Chassé Reverse Turn.

Zig-Zag is where the lead is especially important, since there is no rise as an additional clue to the lady. Man needs to make sure to maintain balance forward on the second step of the Zig-Zag. Some ladies change weight on their heel turn too early so Man's balance would not affect them, but with other ladies, having Man's weight on his back foot would cause the lady to step forward on her second step, instead of just changing weight to her right foot. Man also needs to keep his body turned to right side leading on that second step, or he will not be able to lead the lady outside partner on the third step.

Closed Impetus. Once again, the first step: Man needs to step straight backwards, not off to the side. Left toe can be slightly turned on the Heel Turn. Feet should not turn out, which makes the dancing look bow-legged.

On the Reverse Pivot and the Double Reverse Spin, here comes the next "standard dance principle", according to our coach: The man leads reverse turns with his head.  In other words, Man keeps his head left and back, leading the turn, body follows the head, to keep his balance. The other point of technique, for the Double Reverse Spin, is that on the second step, Man should turn on the ball of his right foot with the heel almost to the ground, and provide rise by stretching his right side.

Clarification point on Rumba Fan: in almost all the cases, the lady is lead to walk straight through step 5 of the fan, while the book has the lady turning to face the man on step 4.  The difference is in part a reflection in the change in technique over the past 50 years. Our instructor says what was taught in classes and lessons is used in open figures. For closed figures, the books alignments are still used, as it is not possible for the man to get sufficiently out of the lady's way in closed position.