Introduction to Sacadas – Six Parts of the Step
The following elements exist when the two partners are standing perpendicular to the floor on their own axis – things change when we share balance and rotate around a common axis. These elements have different techniques and elements when performed in Apilada or Colgada dance positions.
First: prepare to take a step by leaning forward eight to ten degrees so your weight is prominently on front portion of the foot (almost on the balls of the foot) with the heel slightly grounded: Adelante.
Six Parts – Neutrals – of a Step:
1. Standing on one foot or the other.
2. A leg moves with no weight on it.
3. The moving foot arrives on the floor and slightly glides, weight is in between your legs – isosceles triangle.
4. Transference of weight to the other leg, pushing with the driving toe until it is straight.
5. Standing on the other leg with a non-weight bearing leg just as it begins to move.
6. Arriving fully to the opposite leg as the driving leg pushes you onto the ball of your weight bearing foot.
When broken down into the elements of a side step it is more prominent and easier to comprehend, but these elements exist in all of your steps to some extent, all you need to do is to practice being aware of the discrete state of your extremities as you move across the floor.
Using these technique you can easily see how a sacada is lead and performed as the follower arrives on the ball of their foot, we gain access to the trailing side of their dance frame without disrupting their balance. This is actually the same exact lead and follow performed when doing any type of pivot – the most common being the ocho; forward and backward. The leader leads the follower all the way to the ball of the foot the initiates the invitation to turn – the follower in turn holds the turn until all weight has arrived on the ball of the foot, only then is a good pivot executed.
The Power Of Inner Connection
Connecting To The Tango Master Within
My hat is off to you all for being able to follow last night’s class, I salute you: Namaste! Your hard work and studiousness is paying off, I am seeing clearer and cleaner connections as you move. When you watch a dance by “Tango Masters” and feel awe that they are capable of such beautiful movements, it is easy to be inspired and want to improve your own dancing; but for me watching each of you as you work through and finally master an element of movement, I am inspired to be a better dancer/teacher and model for your dancing. You all inspire me to walk my talk. By allowing us to teach you, you are helping to train a better teacher and dancer in Joanne and Rusty, for that I truly thank each of you!
We forget sometimes that we are all masters in our own right. We are actually masters in the truest sense of the word since we are masters of our own lives and destinies. Any life that has the autonomy to learn and practice any form of art, is living well – if not decadently. You have things in your life that you have accomplished and mastered; this means you are a master already, so now you are simply learning to master something else. Let no one convince you that mastery of tango is only for the select few. Bring the confidence you use in your work, play and love into your dancing and you will be leaps and bounds beyond where you are today. We are all learning to connect with our dance partners, let us not forget to start the connection process by first connecting to ourselves – so connect to the master in you that already exists.
As I was learning to speak Spanish I had a realization one afternoon that all words ending with the suffix “tion” are synonymous with Spanish words ending in “cion” as is the root of the word. As I studied, for some reason no one ever thought to tell me this important piece of trivia; it was something I taught myself in a moment of connecting with myself as I practiced Spanish in my head. This may seem like a small illumination, but what it actually meant was that in that one instant I had learned thousands of words I could immediately use in the Spanish language – more words in less time than I could have possibly memorized; I didn’t have to memorize them they were already in my mind. Each and every one of you know the roots to thousands of Spanish words, you use them every day – likewise with your dance steps. You are walking to and fro all day long – these are dance steps you perform without thinking.
This is the fundamental reasons we walk so much in tango: to reconnect you with what you already know how to do, in hopes that the light will go on and you will move in tango like you do when you are just walking with confidence, grace and poise. I see so many people with a great walk, stand in front of a dance partner and suddenly begin to warp and twist an already perfect mastery – you just have to get used to doing it in someone else’s space. You mastered walking along time ago. Probably around the age of ten or so you began to notice different gaits and swaggers in the steps of those around you. Some were labeled ‘cool’ some ‘nerdy’ and somewhere in there you developed your style of walking. Systematically over the years our manner of walking wasn’t so important and we began to take it for granted; we became domesticated and separated from the movements we had mastered as children. Now I propose to you that you have a tango master already dwelling within you, all you have to do is reintroduce yourself to the person that mastered your walk so many years ago. The elements and pieces of the steps that I went over in class opened doors and windows or opportunity in your dance, but not because I introduced them to you, rather I reminded you of what your body and muscle memory already knew. I reminded most of you to simplify and reduce the size of your steps – I think over stepping comes from the fact that we observe two bodies as they move as one and most of what we see is doubled in a way by that illusion; most of what you think you see feels like half when you perform it correctly because your partner is doing the other half. So keep minimizing your efforts and step sizes – learn to dance in very small spaces; It is also handy at Milongas.
I am claiming that dance is something that you already know so you already know why I want you to be supple and not firm or stiff as you move with your partner; watch children at play and you will see supple and buoyant beings confidently moving through three-dimensional space – even when kids fall they fall with confidence: confident it will hurt if nothing else. The other day I saw a little girl standing on the shoes of her father leading perfect colgadas- she was about 4 years old. Believe me when I tell you to connect with your inner master as you dance.
Here again are the depths of yourself you can discover by learning to dance. I have had some pretty significant body/muscle memories as I have practiced and worked out dancing. If you have yet to dance to the point of exhaustion, I recommend it at least once (if you are in good enough shape, and I think most of you are). When your body becomes exhausted it begins to move more efficiently and you waste less energy and perform fewer needless motions. By dancing in a few all night Milongas I have learned some remarkably fabulous things about dancing tango because my body demanded that I be more efficient in my movements. The same thing has happened since I hurt my hip, I have had to become very efficient and technically aware of my movements so as not to irritate my hip injury. My point is this: your body already knows more about dance than your mind does. Your goal should be to practice enough to get your mind out of the way. Get out of micro-managing mode and instead prompt the mind to listen to the song and enjoy the awe that comes with the realization that you really can dance.
Peace, Joy and Connection,