Chapter 16   Leave a comment

Body language

The understanding and good use of the relative positions of the upper bodies leads a dancing couple to clear execution of patterns and figures while maintaining good posture, developing a personal elegance and establishing a dynamic connection between the dancers.

In this installment we will analyze the use of crossed feet walking in the three body positions typically used for displacements along the line of dance. In other words, we will develop a walking pattern with both dancers stepping with the same foot, while the relative position of their bodies varies in three different ways.

It is a good idea to review past installments dealing with body positions. Briefly, in Body Position 1 both dancers are fully in front of each other, as at the beginning of the dance, at the cruzada and at the close. In Body Position 2, the dancers remain in front of each other, but with a slight shift whereby the center of the man’s chest is aligned with the right shoulder of the woman. Finally in Body Position 3, both dancers are also in front of each other, but the center of the man’s chest is aligned with the woman’s left shoulder.

In any of these three body positions, both dancers move together along the same path.

Remembering our previous installment, from the initial Body Position 1, the man executes a Salida Cruzada by shifting his weight immediately after his side step to his left. He then walks crossed feet two forward steps in Body Position 2, and with his body, he brings the woman in front of him on her fourth step, regaining Body Position 1 with her left leg crossed in front of her right.

Figure 1

At the end of the Salida cruzada, the man brings the woman back in front of him. As she crosses left over right to align herself in front of her partner; the man may cross his left leg behind his right leg to match her cross. Their weights are on their left leg.

Figure 2

The man displaces her body back by advancing straight into her with his body walking on his right leg. The woman walks back a step with her right leg.

Figure 3

Firmly supported on his right leg, the man sends the woman back another step by advancing into her. As her left foot begins its backwards motion, he occupies the space vacated by her left leg moving his body into Position 3, that is, he steps with his left leg onto the woman’s left side.

Figure 4

Maintaining Body Position 3, the man advances another step with his right leg while taking the woman with his chest into a back step with her right leg.

Figure 5

As soon as the woman plants her right metatarsus firmly against the floor, the man begins to turn himself around pivoting on his right leg. This turns the woman around on her right leg. The man holds her vertical on her right leg. She allows her left leg to close weightless next to her right leg. They are now crossed feet in Body Position 2.

Figure 6

Firmly supported on his right leg, the man now extends back his left leg and brings the woman into a forward step with her left leg.

Figure 7

With weight in his left leg, the man extends his right to position himself in front of the woman (Body Position 1) and then he brings her forward on her right leg.

Figure 8

As soon as she steps on her right foot, the man crosses his left leg over his right leg, and he receives the woman’s body while she is now completely vertical on her right leg with her left leg relaxed.

If you care to analyze the last three photos, you will see the familiar pattern commonly used by the man to take the woman to the cruzada walking crossed feet. Except that the man is walking back in the path normally taken by the woman, and the woman is walking forward in the path typically taken by the men.

The creation of symmetrical patterns where the dancers’ positions are reversed is just another example of the unlimited potential for improvisation. This is afforded by a rational understanding of body alignments and the craftiness of the man’s use of La marca, and the full awareness of the woman of her space and balance to respond and dance with confidence, poise and enjoyment.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4
Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7 Figure 8

Posted January 7, 2009 by Alberto & Valorie in Tutorial

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