Wednesday, July 30, 2014

SACADAS Mauricio's theoretical approach

Mauricio Castro has a quite different approach to sacadas showing just fragments of explanations and presenting most of the information as lists of steps, footprints and arrows leading our steps through the process.

He agrees with the other authors and his opinion is that the visual expression is an illusion so no one is kicking or nocking off the leg of the partner. He explains that the effect is based on synchronization of different movements.

The easiest way to find the flow for sacadas is to focus on the exchange of places during the performance of sacada. He finds this far better than searching a way to send the partners leg away.

He divides the sacadas in two bigger groups:
  • Back sacadas: The sacada step is a back cross
  • Forward sacadas: The sacada step can be an opening or a forward cross.
This theoretical presentation of sacadas gives an easy way to count the number of possible sacada variations, a possibility attracting my brain a lot! We have now 3 kinds of sacada steps for a leader, these steps can target 3 kinds of follower steps, which can be performed to left or right, giving us 2 more possibilities. Totally 18 sacadas for a leader. If the leader decides to let the follower do all these sacadas we get 18 additional variations. So with these steps you can perform 36 different sacadas!

The basic three steps to start with: Front cross, Side step, Back cross
(more about this in the very end of this posting)

In these tables you find the first 18 sacadas for the leader.

(Mauricio starts the second group with an Opening followed by a Front cross.)

All these variations are presented in short descriptions with visual addition of footprints, arrows and lines as the case for number 5 and 6. (I have the book in German :))

5. Front cross, to right  -  Sacada Front cross
  6. Front cross, to right  -  Sacada Back sacada

The name of the book is as below and the German publisher is ABRAZO books

Castro, M. (2003). TANGO Die Struktur des Tanzes II, 67 -78

My addition:
To understand the actual movements when looking at the sketches is as challenging as to sing while you are looking at the dots of sheet music. If you take that challenge your will boost your inner world of movements but for us others: Please find some help via the pictures below!

The types of steps Mauricio is talking about are as follows:

In these three pictures I am moving to the left and you see the movements from leader angle. In this way we get the Counter Clock wise giro steps. The blue ribon is a symbol for the follower step.

I. I take a front cross with the left leg
II. A side step with the right leg.
III. The left leg takes a back cross

The sacadas are entered on or beyond the right the blue ribbon which is symbolizing the follower step. The follower is moving to left.
Front cross    -    Opening    -    Back cross

When the follower is moving to the right the option to place the sacada is from the departuring spot on the left nearly up to the right end of the blue ribbon, the length of the followers step.

Front cross    -    Opening    -    Back cross

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

SACADAS David's forward

In his book David Turner gives us his personal development story and reflections on suitable ways to do a sacada. He is a very talkative Englishman and my dyslexic eye had sometimes difficulties to get the idea - some of my friends on contrary love this kind of descriptions. The following will be a short excerpt of the twelve pages in the sacada section. We start with the leader's forward sacada!

The basic idea for sacada is the interruption, which is preventing the other dancer to collect the feet because of the sacada foot, which is blocking the way. An educated, skilled partner's foot is taking a detour around that foot before completing the step. According to David a slight contact with the two legs makes the sacada possible.
As my follower steps, she creates a space between her feet that starts small, widens to about 50 cm (more or less), then closes as she collects her legs. This is the gap into which I must intrude my leg. In the journey her leg will take, I want it to encounter my leg softly and be deflected, maybe not much, but enough to feel different to her and look different to an observer. (p. 165)
The initial instruction he got was to place the sacada foot near the partner's departing foot and directly change his own weight on that foot. The problem was that the sacada space was hard to find, he bend down for a better look and destroyed the balance. He was anxious too of hitting/injuring the delicate foot in an open shoe.

The sacadas started to flow when he understood the timing and start to place the sacada foot as soon as the follower had landed on her side step. When the follower is stepping evenly the sacada space will open and close predictably and the leader can feel the actual state of a step by feeling it through her upper body. With other words you feel from her upper body where and when a possibly gap for a sacada is.

The outcome of intrusion can be a smaller detour, a bigger planeo or a gancho. All this depends more or less on following choices:

Placement of sacada btwn the feet; near the standing (Ga) or departing feet (Sa)

Point of contact; higher on the leg (Ga) or lower on the leg (Sa)

Form of leader leg; like S with the heel up (Ga) or more stright (Sa)

The leader thigh: more horizontal (Ga) or more vertical (Sa)

Weight recommendations for sacada foot: less weight gives more soft leg, possibility to lift the heel (Ga) or more weight (Sa)

The dynamics of this movement is created by the rotation when the follower's hips are moved away to give space for leader to take that spot. Here you have David's description:
The rotation is essential not just to maintain the frame, as usual, but also to provide the impetus for the sacada. This impetus means that my follower's left leg quite naturally swings out, away from my leg, almost as if it has been kicked away. (p. 168)
According to David the follower (receiving partner) can facilitate the sacada by stepping evenly and predictably. If she is well balanced on her weight-bearing leg and permitting her free leg full freedom of movement will make it all easier. During the dynamic part of movement the leg should swing away from the hip and the movement should in the whole feel quite natural.

Turner, D. (2006). A Passion for TANGO, 164 -169

For me the idea of a line between the receivers feet and the sacadas intention to bend that line became the most valuable idea during the reading.

Monday, July 14, 2014

SACADAS at Golden Age - Backward

According to Christina Denniston they actually did use back sacadas at Golden Age even if it violates one of the most fundamental rules for these tango dancers - the rule of keeping a direct contact/line between the leader's and follower's hearts. To be able to complete the back sacada the leader needs to turn his body and have his backside hips parallel with the line between the follower's feet. To reach this postion he even turns his upper body slightly from the follower. The line between the hearts is broken or bend.

When the leader's hips are in right position, he will extend his left leg backwards, towards the the shadow of the follower's heart on the floor and behind that spot. This sacada, as the forward sacada, is done during the follower's side step with the right foot. At once when the leader's foot has crossed the imaginary string between the follower's feet he starts to move the weight to his new position and rising up to his full length.
During this weight transition the couple is turning, so the follower's hips will be moving away from the place leader is aiming to take.

As you see the process is quite the same as for the forward sacada with the difference of that the leader is advancing backwards during this sacada.

Christine Denniston: the meaning of TANGO, The Story of the Argentinian Dance  (p. 153-155)

In her book Christine Denniston presents the tango at Golden Age. This posting is a short excerpt from sacada section in the book. She is happy to describe how complex the variety of movements was at that time and how these old moves are coming up as new ones today.

FYI I am using the words
about the leader: leader, he and his
about the follower: follower, she and her

Saturday, July 12, 2014

SACADAS at Golden Age - Forward

We have summer now and I had planned to take it easy. Read some novels and magazines on the balcony when the warm weather has at last arrived. But no! For some reason thoughts about sacadas have been coming up as well as memories from old training sessions are flashing through my head. I gave in and started to read some of the books having lines about this known move.

The first book is written by Christine Denniston and it is presenting the tango at Golden Age. This posting is a short excerpt from sacada section in the book. She is happy to describe how complex the variety of movements was at that time and how these old moves are coming up as new ones today.

The word *sacar* means to take out or remove and in this context it can be seen as removing the partner's foot from a place you want to occupy. This class of steps is mostly an illusion where the reason for follower's movement is far above the floor. It is NOT caused by a kick on follower's leg but by the cooperation of the upper bodies.

One of the usual, easy steps to target a sacada to is the follower's right foot side step. The leader will extend his right leg forward to initiate the exchange of places. Sometimes even the follower's backward step was used while the leader did the sacada forward.

When we explore the side step sacada the process is initiated and completed during the weight transfer.

One of the basic rules for Golden Age leader was to keep the feet under or behind you; never let your foot pass forward beyond your chest. During the sacada you violate this rule and the foot is following the line to the followers heart and even passing it when your toes are landing behind the follower's back. With other words both the heart and foot are following the direction to follower's heart. 

The leader is taking the follower's former place during a turning movement for both. The outcome of planeo or gancho is caused by the dynamics of the movement.

In this otherwise so clear description I am missing more detailed information about the turn, when follower's hips are moved away so the leader can take the space. You get some information about the timing in this Oscar Casas video with Mary Ann.

The preparing figure is an Americana giving a good start for her sidestep. They show us both a light and a deep sacada.

The sacada part starts about at 2.00

This is the starting position after she has turned around after an Americana. In the down left corner you find the exact time for this moment. Oscars right foot has passed behind the place of Mary Ann's heart.

Here you find the three phases of the turn.

Christine Denniston: the meaning of TANGO, The Story of the Argentinian Dance
(p. 153-155)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Basic training for July - August

With this July-August period I will close a whole year training! In September we will open a totally new training year.

For this period I have switched the fitness and pilates parts so there will be only two pilates days per week. I really need more fitness part

Pilates with Rene on Mondays and Saturdays!

Cardio will happen Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays!

If you don't find these two hard enough there is lot of alternatives take some of them!  :))

Comment 2014.08.30

This morning was the last day for these exercises and on Monday I will test a new set of movements. It has been a good period and I have done the training nearly every morning - traveling days excluded.

I totally love the FitnesBlenders serie - the lady in yellow T-shirt - it is so well done and my body is stretched and stronger after the training. I will pick one of their work-outs for next period too!

The pilates workout has been ok but quite boring. I have skipped the back plank - you are sitting on the floor and then lifting your hips up having your weight on hands and heels. I got some back pain during the period and it disappeared when I skipped this movement.