Sacadas II

I feel the urge to expand on my last post about sacadas, and learning/practicing in general.

One of the fun things about working on these more complicated movements is the expansion of our understanding of the technique that they require. And as we understand and refine the technique used in complicated moves, we can more readily use that technique in basic movements. Or even find new movements we hadn’t thought of before. The sacada practice I was doing yesterday is a perfect example:

We began with the follower’s sacada that I described. I had to be sensitive to how far he was asking me to step and how much he wanted me to pivot. I had to not anticipate the sacada but let him tell me when I was going to continue doing back ochos and when he wanted me to pivot enough to sacada him. He had to think about the timing of his steps so that he was ready for me when I stepped into the sacada.

As we moved onto the more difficult sacada, we had to be aware of how the close side of our embrace functioned and how its flexibility impacted our movements. Once again we had to consider timing and rotation. And when we returned to the previous sacada, it felt so much easier! We also played with stopping me before I completed the sacada and reversing out of it, which can be extending to any moment in which the leader wants me to stop or change – what a great way to practice sensitivity to the lead (rather than executing a step just because I learned to do it a certain way!).

I have to make a comparison to the one time when I truly wanted to just walk out in the middle of a tango class. Perhaps I was in a bad mood (other people loved the class, and many people love the teachers!) but I couldn’t handle it. This was a class about sacadas. Throughout the entire class, we strung together a sequence of steps that went something like this: rock backward, step and sacada, pivot, sacada … Throughout the class, all of the directions and questions felt completely superficial. No, she doesn’t face that way; pivot her around to here. When you step, she should be doing this. etc, etc, ad nauseum. I didn’t feel like I was learning tools to do sacadas better, or even the technique to execute new sacadas. I felt like I was learning a pattern of steps that happened to include sacadas.

The discoveries made in valuable classes and practicas have the potential to be applied elsewhere in your dancing. That’s what I love about creative exploration, whether a teacher is guiding me or I am doing it with a friend. I don’t do “nuevo moves” in the sense of just wanting to execute certain steps, although I know some people call my experimentation with sacadas and colgadas and volcadas a “nuevo” thing. I want to play, to understand the dynamic between the leader and follower and the possibilities that exist for us as we dance.


2 thoughts on “Sacadas II

  1. Funny how this is so true. Unfortunately, sometimes I find it very hard to find a follower willing to drill down into practicing like this. Practicing like this allows you to analyze how this can work or not, what is important and the possibilities. It’s not really a chore! 🙂

  2. Interesting post! It made me remember that the very last group class I took was a sacadas class, and the moment is very vivid when I came upon my limits…a back sacada, poor leaders, bruised legs, broken toenails…and I walked out. Since then I have gradually learned, with patient partners, to do the easier (?) sacadas, usually at practicas. Creative, yes. Fun, applicable elsewhere in the dance. But for my favorite milongas, not done.

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