Milonga class review Dec09

Milonga Class (October-December 2009), Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, Portland OR

This session, we worked on Robert's favorite milonga traspie moves, built into a basic framework of steps.

Abbreviations in text:

  • S=slow
  • Q=quick
  • CW=clockwise
  • CCW=counter-clockwise
  • Ld=leader
  • Fl=follower
  • L=left
  • R=right
  • fd=forward
  • sd=side
  • bk=back
  • LOD=line of dance
  • diag=diagonal
  • tog=together
  • []=variation, can add or leave out without changing rest of pattern

Basic framework:

  1. Traveling LOD:  With QQS rhythm, Ld is facing out of room, and steps L tog L (remember "la marca" for helping the Fl do this sd tog step). For Fl, R tog R.
  2. In place: Ld steps through with R (as if going to the cross, but facing outside wall, so move goes fd diag LOD). Robert's version: Ld touches L foot fd and replaces it under self; then does small rebound with R foot, returning to L; then steps bk on R, turning slightly to move back fd diag LOD, ready to start over.  My version: turn the step touch into a rebound step, moving with the follower. The follower steps bk on L (like going to the cross), bk on R with a rebound fd onto L; steps in place with R; rebounds L back onto R; and steps fd with L, ready to start again.

This is much easier than it sounds.  I diagram my dancing, rather than writing out the words like this, but I don't know if it is easy for others to understand my diagrams.  Here's my notes for the basic framework.  It reads like Arabic, from right to left, as that is the direction of the steps. Arrows denote diagonals from LOD, not forward or back for the dancer (I think navigationally most of the time):

Framework diagram

Variations that are built onto the framework:

Holding pattern:

  • If there is no room to progress LOD, don't do the initial traveling QQS (step tog step).  Instead, replace it a rebound/traspie step LOD, and a small step fd with L for Ld (small step bk with R for Fl).
  • Continue with rest of pattern.

Turn in place (CW with Ld walking backwards):

  • One variation that happens at the END of the basic framework is a small walking circle instead of the last rebound/traspie and step (the ultimate QQS of the pattern).
  • The leader does a rebound/traspie step with the R, back onto the L, and then walks backwards in a curved path R L, making sure to lead the Fl to step to the Ld's R (what Robert calls outside and I call inside!), rather than straight in line with the Ld. These four steps have a QQSS pattern to the rhythm.
  • Followers rebound L to R, and then walk forward L, R.
  • To end, go back to either the holding pattern or the traveling QQS LOD at the beginning of the basic framework.

Follower does "step together step together" turn around leader:

  • Instead of the basic framework's last traspie and step at the end of the pattern (or the turn in place), the leader can initiate a turn in place for the couple.
  • Do NOT lead the traspie step after the follower steps fd. Instead, lead immediately into the turn with the Fl's L.
  • Make sure that Fl gets a clear signal to stay facing the Ld, so as not to start a grapevine step.
  • While Fl does step tog step tog etc., Ld does small paddle step. The weight stays primarily on the L, with small paddles of the R foot to turn. (This is Robert's version; I do it slightly differently)
  • To end, you can finish with the end rebound and step movement from the basic framework to prepare to travel LOD again.

Side rebound/traspie steps combined with traveling steps:

  • This is one of my favorite steps of Robert's repertoire.
  • The leader takes the last rebound step of the basic framework and redirects the Fl to step LOD with the L (Ld does rebound with R then back onto L; and steps bk LOD with R).
  • The leader is traveling LOD, but facing backwards; the Fl is facing fd LOD.
  • Continue with a rebound and travel step to the other side (Ld's L foot, Fl's R). On this side, the leader must tell the Fl to step THROUGH, not just in front of the Ld. This gives the pattern a sexy, tigerlike prowl, rather than a bland feeling. The extra twist in the torso allows the pattern to twine LOD.

Clockwise circles with leader walking forward:

  • The follower walks backwards in a tight circle (so as to avoid going to the cross!), starting with a side rebound/traspie step to the right with the R foot, rebounding to the L, and walking back R, L.
  • The leader leads a side rebound with the L (R), walking forward L, R.
  • Make sure that the body's torsion stays strong for the leader's R fd step, so that the leader walks to the inside (Robert's "outside"/Fl's R) to corkscrew the movement.
  • You can combine these with the leader walking backwards circles, as we practiced in class, making a strange sort of mobius strip kind of move!
  • Enter from the other circles (leader walking backwards) by doing the traspie section of that circle, taking ONE slow step, and immediately doing the first traspie of this circle, starting a new pattern. The timing for this is QQS QQS, rather than QQSS.

Traveling traspie steps with leader facing LOD:

  • This is the same as above, but opposite facings.
  • You can enter this pattern best from the clockwise circles described above (there are lots of options, but this is the one we worked on in class).
  • Ld does rebound with L foot, back to R, and steps fd LOD into center track. Ld then does rebound with L foot, back to L, and steps fd THROUGH to the inside track (Fl's R side, Robert calls it outside) with the R for the springy feeling of the move.
  • Fl does rebound with R foot, back to L, and steps bk diag LOD with the R foot. Next rebound is with L foot, back to R, and step bk diag LOD with L foot.
  • I'm not sure I should describe the step after the rebound as diagonal: remember that we practiced stepping straight behind ourselves? The FEELING is diagonal because of the torso rotation, but the progression is straight towards LOD.
  • Exit into more turns or back into the sd tog sd initial step of the framework.

My blog platform now supports video, so my New Year's resolution is to learn how to post pictures/videos of this instead of words!!

Hope to see you January 6th for the new session: we'll learn some of my favorite moves, as well as continuing with Robert's repertoire.