Monday, March 31, 2008
On Tango-L :: The subject that never dies
A thread about followers automatically crossing without being led...
Here is my post to the list this morning....
Subject: The subject that never dies
Re: Keith’s latest response to Floyd on the subject...
I would venture to say that the key to leading the cross is in the torso. I might even go so far as to say the cross is led entirely with the torso.
I doesn’t really matter (in a kinda/sorta way) what the leader is doing with his feet. I can lead the cross standing still, with my feet together, led entirely with contrabody/torso. I don't ever lead it this way while dancing, obviously. Granted, there are the “norms” of where the lead’s feet are when leading the cross - I just wanted to illustrate my point.
I just wanted to mention this because Keith's post didn’t – the importance of contrabody and the torso in the lead to the cross.
There is no “autocross” in my experience - I don't really "get" a cross unless I lead it. Unless she is a very basic beginner in the first month or so – and has just learned the cross. Sometimes they will self-lead themselves to the cross, by accident. That generally goes away with a good lead, and as the follower begins to understand what the lead feels like.
The “auto” that I struggle with in the cross is what I will call the “autopop”. It's where the follower “pops” her crossing left foot into place, without any regard to lead, musicality, or timing/rhythm.
To lead the “superslow” cross can be challenging – with the leader leading the rate of travel of her left foot – to the music - as it caresses the floor into place.
Here are the mechanics behind it as I understand it:
While walking, the normal travel distance of her left foot (from first placement to second placement) is between two and three feet, unless she is being led in very small or very large steps. When being led to the cross, that “normal” travel distance is cut in half – when her left ends up beside her right in the cross. So, if the left foot is traveling half the distance in the same amount of musical time, then it has to travel at half of the normal speed to end up (in the cross) on the beat.
So, it's very important for the rate of travel of the left foot to be led by the leader, not automatically done by the follower.
That fast pop (of the left foot into crossed position) is only applicable in the superfast cross, where she crosses and you walk right through it. But again, this is led. With the torso.
Try leading the superslow cross when the music is appropriate. It’s also a good exercise for both parties. But especially in eliminating/mitigating this unpleasant habit - and it shows her something new in the realm of possibility.
And what I edited/deleted before pressing "Send"...
"But especially in breaking the followers of this unpleasant habit.
Breaking them like a cowboy saddle breaks a young filly.
How's that for throwing gas on the fire?
I'm joking! I'm joking!"
I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. Everyone is so touchy...