Volcadas and calesitas (Tango 2 notes)

Every teacher I've ever had has, at some point, said, "OK, you are not ready for x, but since you insist on doing it anyway, I'm going to teach you how to do it." I feel that way about volcadas, especially with the current vogue for this move. The word volcada comes from the verb volcar --to tip or dump. In a volcada, the leader tips the follower off-axis and then resolves the movement by bringing the axis back to vertical.

In order to get the follower to tip over, rather than to travel, the leader needs to signal a difference in the step. As I prepare for the volcada, I lift the follower slightly. I describe this as "squeezing the toothpaste" because the leader is not actually picking the follower up, but creating a tension around the embrace that helps steady the follower as s/he tips. The follower responds by resisting that lift by anchoring the shoulder blades/torso muscles down and energizing the open side of the embrace. Most of the follower's energy should be on the support leg and the strength of the body (do that ab work!), with the loose leg relaxed.

At that point, I can move away from the follower's axis point, creating a tipping motion for the follower and freeing the loose leg to trace a path on the floor. Then, I move back towards the follower's axis to put him/her back on balance. Sometimes, it takes another step for the follower to completely return to vertical. Before asking the follower to take a traveling step, I relax the "lift" on the embrace. Depending on the move, this might happen BEFORE the follower's axis is completely on balance.

The volcada we did resolves by the leader leading the follower's left leg to fall forward and then back into the same position as going to the cross. The shape of a volcada is not set: you can design different shapes by the way that you move the follower. The first one we did last night in class is a very V-shaped volcada, with the follower's leg dropping straight towards the leader and then (led!) sharply back to the cross. The other one we did began with a small back boleo for the follower, curving into a round volcada, which also ended in the cross. Both volcadas freed the follower's left leg, but both can be led to the other side, freeing the other leg--we didn't try that ;-)

There are tons of other ways to play with the idea of the volcada, but let's leave that and move on.

The leader preps for the calesita and exits it in the same way as for a volcada: put the follower on axis, lift slightly, and remember to release the lift before exiting into a traveling step. In the middle, the step is different.

The word calesita means little carousel or merry-go-round (although my extensive Spanish dictionary does not show this as a word . . .), and the point of the move is to rotate the follower while the leader goes around the follower. This can include a tipping or leaning effect, but that is not the main element of this step.

The calesita that we learned was led after a side step to place the follower's axis over the foot. We led a step towards the open side of the embrace, and then rotated CCW (counter-clock-wise) with the follower on the right foot. Obviously, this can be reverse to the other side or rotated the other way (or both). To make the calesita tip over, the leader can either rotate around and then step back (for a sharp movement) or gradually spiral out until there is significant lean, before returning the follower to a vertical axis.

Note: Don't forget to release the follower and the slight lift BEFORE exiting into a traveling step!

Next class, turn-o-rama! We'll prepare for Tangofest by learning a bunch of things to do in place and/or traveling small distances.