Archive for April, 2009

Fencing, I

An introductory lesson in fencing technique focuses, not surprisingly, in the proper stance, posture, and walking for that art. For my practice walk I must remember the “L” and overcome my dance-informed instinct to collect; the “collection” is to return to the “L” with a proper shoulder-width distance. For lunges the back leg must remain static, connected invisibly to the floor. Advances and retreats alike must keep the “L” intact.


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This link is to an article by a Catholic sister and tanguera.

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Two parts to this combination figure:

Cause your follow to execute a “frozen” boleo to the back left – it helps to have a posture in which your left foot is already a bit to the left though she is pivoting out of a collected state at the start of this. This is a kind of “zero energy” or “without inertia” boleo; do it well or it will not “feel” graceful or comfortable for her. Backstep to your left with your right traveling behind you. Regain your posture with your left going slightly radially around her as you lead her boleo to the other side. Now pivoting on your right let your left travel back in the direction you came from; her left should be forward as she comes out of her boleo. Thus you are position to do a reverse calisita around her as she does a planeo with the left extended. As you end your calisita the natural resolution will be for her to collect.

Part II:

A basic walk to the cross with the left forward first, so you can wind up with your left behind your right. Lead her to a side step to your left, her right. Your left comes out to the inner aspect of her right foot, break the embrace on the “closed” side and step over her; holding on with your left, the “open” side of the embrace, as it goes over your head. She then must step over you as you pivot; if she walks counter-clockwise as you hold your hand high one natural resolution will be another boleo.

Whew. A bit beyond such improvisational skills as I have at this writing.

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Out of back ochos, do a “la caida” like gesture – with tap – with your left going around back before bringing it around to your front as she begins a back step. Her step thus sweeps your left; she steps over; you remember to pivot cleanly on the forward leg – if you do this counter clockwise it seems a different pivot is called for. Next; try this figure entire to the clockwise: Out of a rock step with the left forward come back to a collected state as you bring the follow to your right, then backstep with your right coming around to do the gesture; then bringing it forward again to catch her sweeping foot as you pivot and bring yourself forward to face her.

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The “two hula hoops” exercise. Essentially a contra-rotating boleo in the context of a molineta performed by the lead. Bringing the follow in a “winding” motion across your front to your left, then stepping forward with your right as you cause her to “unwind” her previous motion and go into the back and side steps of a molineta. Then, try the same figure holding her in place on her rear foot and simply doing a side step from your right forward (ie. as in a molineta). With the right timing and energy a very snappy figure; this will naturally cause a boleo from the follow.

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All my tears

All my tears (be washed away) by Selah. I have previously identified a few works by John Michael Talbot as examples of explicitly Christian music suitable for vals and tango. There I offer something that is beyond suitable and could be called “ideal.” Something worth dancing about.

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Complex figure

Class this evening had me bumping into the limits of my ability to absorb and perform. It was one of those classes where things keep getting added onto a figure until there was everything in there but the kitchen sink. An excellent class with just the right amount of stress…

Walk to the cross; backstep with a large step back with your left, leading your follow to sacada you as you withdraw your right bringing her out of the cross. Sacada her forward with your right, then left as she executes a back ocho. Enrosque (I cheated a few times with a simple pivot.) Walk again to a cross position with your left behind your right as she crosses. Bring her out of the cross to your right but perform a parada with your right, and execute a barrida cleanly across your front, changing the embrace to “V” shaped so you can then create the space for a volcada, swinging her free leg around and back, and then walking her out of her cross.

…And then do a colgada. I couldn’t make this work in class; the last bit with the colgada. I hope to work on this Saturday at practica so I can be prepared for a workshop with this teaching couple.

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