The evil back sacada: 8 PM Eugene class, 21Jul08

This week, we looked at back sacadas and using them to lead into other moves. Again, we looked at small changes in the focal step and how those changes determine what step works best after it. We worked on leading ganchos, forward boleos and follower back sacadas as potential steps to follow a leader back sacada.

To review about sacadas:

  • front sacadas: The person performing the sacada is stepping forward into the move, with either a front cross or an open step.
  • back sacadas: The person performing the sacada is taking a back cross (or sometimes, an open step) through the other person's step.
  • circular sacadas vs. linear sacadas: Circular sacadas tend to turn around the "post" of the sacadee (is that a word?), and after the sacada, the person doing the sacada becomes the post. For linear sacadas, the move tends to travel line of dance (LOD) to some degree, and moves the couple somewhere else in the room.
  • leader sacadas: The leader performs the sacada.
  • follower sacadas: The follower performs the sacada.

Leader back sacadas can be done through any step of the follower's, but some are more straightforward than others. Sacadas work best through the follower's front cross or open step (the slow steps of the turn). Sacadas through the follower's back cross require some untangling of legs, but can be very fun.

For me, the back sacada has three pieces: spiraling the body into the most overturned position possible (done correctly, not by cheating with shoulders); a pivot while in this position to set up for the sacada; and a back step that creates the actual sacada. Most people do the first and third movement of the step, often crunching the leg/foot of the person receiving the sacada.

Although the sacada travels through the "window" of the other person's legs, it does not go up and down. Work to maintain a steady level of the body. Otherwise, the person receiving the sacada bobs up and down (NOT attractive). Also, it is super-important to continue to lead the entire step: don't lead the beginning and hope the follower can finish the step! Luciana Valle constantly told me, "Ely! You abandon me again!!" when I was learning to lead these. Keep the energy in between the couple, not out ahead of the step.

For some sacadas, depending on the direction of the sacada vis-a-vis the couple, the embrace may have to broken, modified, or simply stabilized. Try to keep contact with the follower as much as possible in order to have control of the step AFTER the sacada. Yes, collapsing the embrace makes it easier to pivot. No, you won't be able to do anything cool after the sacada if you do that. ;-)

We specifically worked on leader back sacadas to the left (thus obviating the need to do odd things to the embrace), and connected that step to:

  1. (using the follower's open step for the lead back sacada) a follower gancho through the "inside" of the leader's thigh (follower's free right leg ganchos leader's free left leg)-a step we worked on Week I
  2. (using the follower's open step for the lead back sacada) a follower gancho through the "outside" of the leader's thigh (follower's free right leg ganchos leader's free right leg)--a step we worked on Week I
  3. (using the follower's front cross step for the lead back sacada) a follower front boleo, either con or contra style, immediately after the sacada--a step we worked on Week III
  4. (using the follower's open step for the lead back sacada) a follower back sacada through the leader's step--a new step that can be led through the leader's front cross, open step or back cross step, with varying levels of difficulty.

Of course, there are MANY different possibilities, not just four. Next week, we will continue working with Oscar and Georgina's concept of elasticity and density, as well as the "bandoneon" of breath, energy, intention, etc. that drives dynamic tango, and we will apply it to these new combinations, as well as creating other combinations. As the back sacada was new to almost everyone in class, I didn't stress how to use it with music this week. Next week, back to work on musicality and flow!