Parallel grapevines as framework for linear sacadas, line-of-dance

In class last week, we worked on parallel-system grapevines and used them as a framework for inserting linear front sacadas into the dance. The main idea is to continue traveling around the room, but switching places with the follower as you go.

This is a simplified version of an exercise/tango framework that I learned from Chicho in his advanced workshops in Buenos Aires. It uses the idea of a traveling grapevine as a way to constantly move line-of direction, rather than getting stuck in one location on the dance floor. It can be done in close or open embrace; using a lot of room, or in small spaces; it is a flexible framework, which is why I like it. We'll get to Chicho's cross-system version when we are ready for it!

There are two kinds of parallel-system grapevines: mirror and parallel (I know it's confusing, but I didn't name them).  In mirror, when the leader leads the follower to take a front cross step, the leader accompanies that with a front cross step; and both take open steps and back cross steps simultaneously; the leader is the mirror for the follower. In the parallel, parallel-system grapevine, the leader takes open/side steps at the same time as the follower. However, when the follower takes a front cross step, the leader steps back cross, and when the follower crosses behind, the leader crosses in front.

The grapevine goes around the room, line-of-dance. The leader facesthe follower and BOTH travel line-of-dance. There are two possible configurations: the leader faces out of the room, or the leader faces into the room; and the follower faces the leader in both cases. I think of the movement as a two-lane, or track, path around the room.

The purpose of the sacada is to trade lanes with your partner. The most obvious place to trade positions is when the follower is taking a front cross step, line-of-dance. On that step, the leader leads the follower to take a front cross step onto the leader's track, while doing a sacada (with his/her front cross step) to land on the follower's original track. Then, both continue down the line-of-dance, but on the new track. For example, if the leader started facing OUT of the space, after the sacada, the leader will face IN and the follower will face out.

After the front sacada, the follower gets a half front ocho to pivot around to take another front cross step. The leader can receive the step with a front cross (no pivot needed). To me, the leader's sacada feels like a side step through the follower's step, followed by a front cross step.

If this sounds confusing, it's a lot more obvious when trying it with another person because the embrace requires each person to move correctly in order not to let go of each other :-)

We'll go over this in class and add other sacadas to it before tackling the cross-system version. There are also ample opportunities for boleos, turns, etc., to be built of of this system.