Gancho basics and deep sacadas

When ganchos go wrong (just kidding, you all did a great job!)
Tonight in Tango 3, we worked on basic follower ganchos. A gancho is a hook, where the leader creates a window and leads the follower to hook a leg through that space. Although there are several ways to classify ganchos, I usually think of how they touch the leader's leg as a defining point (inside of thigh, outside of thigh). Other systems are whether the step is parallel or crossed system, and I've heard a few other ones that I have blanked from my memory. The other two questions are: who is doing the gancho--leader or follower? And, is the movement circular or linear? We worked on follower ganchos that were all circular.

Versions we did:

  • To the inside of the leader's leg in a R or L turn (on follower's back cross step)
  • To the outside of the leader's leg in a R or L turn (on follower's back cross step)
  • After a stepover (follower steps over, then is rocked back to a back cross, then ganchos)--both inside and outside ganchos are possible, depending on where the parada and stepover began

Leader tips:

  • Stand up! Offer the follower a long, tall window of space for the gancho. Crouching down or bending your knees only cuts down on the gancho size.
  • Prepare your step so that your feet are in a V for stability, and then lead the gancho with your torso rotation, keeping hips steady (same issues as we discussed for boleos).
  • Use the embrace to provide stability for the follower--do NOT pull with your arm to create the gancho.
  • On inside ganchos, turn leg out in hip socket and release your knee and ankle so that you can snake your ankle around the follower's axis. This provides more gancho space.
  • On outside ganchos, turn leg IN in hip socket rather than in OUT.
  • Remember, the follower's released leg depends on axis stability. Work hard to keep follower on balance. Don't lean towards the follower during the gancho!
  • Place foot a microsecond after the follower's foot hits the ground. That way, you know where his/her axis will be and you won't crash to the ground.

Follower tips:

  • Same as for the boleo, keep axis/balance with breath, being on your support leg, and giving energy to the embrace.
  • Wait for the lead to create the gancho: don't make them up! If the gancho is not made by the leader rotating in the torso, it won't have a snappy feeling no matter what you do.
  • Release your free leg and let the leader create the shape of the gancho.
  • Keep your upper body in the circle of the embrace. If you pull your shoulders away to make the back cross step easier, you won't feel the gancho lead very well.

Deep sacadas
A sacada replaces one person with another, so in a literal sense, a deep sacada is not really a sacada. However, there are so many leg wraps running around that I don't really want to call it a leg wrap. My teacher who first taught me these (Jose Garafolo, a fabulous teacher!) called them deep sacadas, so I'll stick to that.

ANYWAY, a deep sacada occurs when the leader steps through the center of a follower's side step of a turn and then twists in the torso to create a boleo-like/gancho-like leg release from the follower. Because the leader has entered the follower's space (sharing axis for just a moment), the follower's leg wraps around the outside of the leader's leg and then releases.

We did the deep sacada CCW, or turning to the left. The leader stepped through with the right foot, paused for dramatic effect, and then exited in a walk to the cross. Most of you also automatically exited into a CCW circle, as that requires a bit less control than coming to a stop in space. Other exits suggested/shown by the class involved doing a calesita or a volcada after the step (both suggestions from folks who attended Tango 2 yesterday!--see previous post).

The most critical thing for the leader is to find the correct timing of entering the follower's side step and then twisting the torso to wrap the leg. The most critical aspect of the move for the follower is to release that leg, but after the wrap, to let the leg pass UNDER the axis (try not to fly it so that moving bodies are cleared from your path ;-)

That's it for now, folks. Sorry I didn't come dancing. I read my sister's email with the eulogy from my father's memorial service, and just didn't feel very joyful/social. I'll come dance next week. I promise!