Sunday, September 11, 2011

Why I didn't ask you for a dance?

When I started to lead, I soon noticed how much circumstances decided my partner for next tanda and I relaxed. It can go like this when i look for a follower for next tanda .....

I promised my next milonga for her, but when the milonga started I just could not spot her! Where is she? Looking around but no: I could not find her! According to her I was looking into her eyes but just turned around and asked another lady. Later I noticed that her djungle printed dress made ​​her invisible for me, she just disappeared! (We are friends again;)) I need a dress / detail to spot you ...

I had seen her at one of the tables, but when the next tanda came she was not there anymore. What a rush to find someone else for this wonderful tanda! When dancing around I spotted her on the other side of the pista. Please, keep the same place for some cortinas and then change if you prefer to be somewhere else .... I need to find you somehow!

That night I was not totally ok and wanted to dance with the most nearest followers

I really want to dance with you but not during THIS  tanda. I want to have something more inspiring for us ...

Yes, I want to dance with you but I want to dance with one of my regular partners first. She has been sitting for a while ...

Yes, I am not dancing now but I am still occupied. I want to ask someone to dance with me and I need to concentrate and focus before it! Waiting for the right tanda too.

I have been dancing for a long time and know lot of people at our ordinary milongas. There can be 50 up to 70 followers I know but only 4 (!) tandas per hour to dance. Can this be the reason when a follower wonders - He is dancing with me on Fridays but not on Sundays, what's wrong with me on Sundays? ... and another one asks: what's wrong with me on Fridays?

I do maintain two reasons to refuse a dance with a specific follower.

The dangerous and painful one is when the lady uses walking technique with high heels up, parallel with the floor - That heel will regularly visit the inside of the shoe for the leader in front of us ......

The other reason is her attitude. If an unknown follower comes by and says: I want to test you! or .... if someone is rude for a more quiet sister and stepping over her to a leader!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Followers backstep

Isn't it quite interesting how you can block out information just at a skin layer away. During the last years my concentration has totally been on leader's steps but I thought I knew the follower's steps. Actually the question of knowing or not knowing did not occurred to me! But when I tried to explain the steps to the two followers in our training group my knowledge was like a puzzle in a pocket! .... unsorted and with great risk for missing pieces!

So I have now recalled the information fragments from my follower days and reviewed my video collection. I hope you get a picture about the different aspects of the footwork easy to understand and oppose, if you disagree! Please let me know! A step is a phenomenon of moving and I think that's the reason I ended up using vocabulary for trips: departure, traveling and arrival.

I will go through the normal, ordinary caminata where the follower is walking backwards with normal, comfortable steps. There is another technique for the long steps. The moving energy for steps is coming from the leader and I would like to use expression – follower is placing the step – you are not taking the step but receiving the leaders forward movement and placing your step. Don't you think this idea could make followers balance stronger? 
Just concentrate to PLACE the step!

Here you stand with one foot in front of you and you start to feel how leader is advancing; so your foot needs to leave its place in front of you and then start to travel backwards!

Many times ladies let the heel have the last contact to the floor and this makes the toes to jump up - a nice decoration but it should not be part of an ordinary step. With other words: When you feel leader's forward movement it is time to leave, lift your heel a tiny bit, keep the ball of the foot on the floor but without delay let leaders movement have impact on your foot - let it move. Please remember your ball of the foot is the last thing leaving the place!

This lady has a fantastic classical style! Though I prefer lower heels – should always be directed towards the floor!

(Please do NOT follow the advice to tilt the feets – there is risk for injuries!)


The most common recommendation is to step on one line but there is also many appreciated teachers talking for two lines; so both your feet have the luxury of own line! You can let the ball of the foot move on the floor or just above; it's a choice of your taste! Let the foot touch the other one when passing by and then KEEP THE HEEL still DOWNwards. It is more safety and it helps you to keep the foot, knee and hip line beautifully stretched.

When you watch the experienced followers you find how they keep the heels vertical/ towards the floor. The ones who have the stileto parallell with the floor are dangerous - it's like a piraya longing for nearby heels! There is ladies I do not dance with because of that or I change the line when having her behind me.

Another way to travel backwards is by letting your big toe to brush the floor. After passing your supporting leg keep your heel downwards and let your foot go straight backwards.

This is Jennifer Bratt, You find her video in the end of this posting. In the left picture she is placing her left foot, it is a little bitt toooo much toe and you can see how high the end of the heel is in the ear. Think how it would look like if ball of the foot could be used more here!  On the right she has some of the weight on the left foot. The right heel is slightly in the air but ball/toes still on to the floor.

Your landing moment comes with the leader's step but your landing style is your choice! Please touch the floor with the whole ball of the foot, anyhow with as big part of it as you can do comfortably. (If only your toes meets the floor I think your heel is too high!) Let your leader then do the rest of the job and roll you to your heel.

Let me know what you think!  Missing some parts?

Jennifer Bratt - Low back boleos

At the end The main aspects!
Keep your ball of the foot towards the floor (heel towards the floor)
Receive the movement from leader, relaxed but with extended lines; heel – knee – hips
Placing your foot at every part of the step