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Author Topic: Cha-Cha  (Read 2129 times)
cornutt
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« on: May 04, 2009, 10:32:23 AM »

Everybody's favorite dance, up until they start trying to actually put the Cuban motion in.   Shocked
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cornutt
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2009, 11:08:12 AM »

So I'll start on this one... Since the beginning of the year, I have been trying to integrate all of the coaching I've gotten in cha-cha.  I practiced and practiced, but I was never able to get to the point where I could actually incorporate all of the motions at tempo -- I could do it slowly, but it all fell apart as I brought it up to speed.  There's been a wall that I haven't been able to get past.   Cry

So last week, my regular instructor was ill, and so she set me up a lesson with our studio's Latin expert.  I told her about the problems I have been having, and showed her some of what I have been trying to do.  I told her that I felt over-coached in this dance.   Huh  So we did a back-to-basics lesson.  She has taken coaching from a lot of the same coaches as I have, and she told me that she herself had had to distill all of it down a bit in order to create her style.  So she had a good idea of what the most important points were.  She basically hit me with three things:

  • Pushing off of the foot that you are leaving, rather than trying to step and pulll to the standing leg (a bad habit of mine)
  • Coordination of the hip movement in the forward and back rocks
  • Leg lines and foot positioning throughout, being conscious of hitting the leg lines instead of just dragging the trailing leg through

We worked on this for a bit, and after a while I found that I was getting a much crisper action, and that I could do it at tempo on the slower songs.  So we applied this through various steps, and found some timing and some leading issues that shook out.  She reminded me of the proper timing of the rotations in crossovers (New Yorkers), and showed me how to make them snappier with a more compact arm positioning and a "pull" connection. 
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StageKat
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2009, 01:13:37 AM »

That's a great one! I try and work on those three things in particular during our work out class...which is kind of a back to basics fast paced group. (wicked fast if you ask me!)

My biggest issue is that hold...(on 1 I think...not sure...don't actually count much) I can hold my leg lines pretty nicely if I'm on my right foot accenting the beat with my left leg...but it all goes to heck when I am on the other side... it's very frustrating!

The leg/hip action on the forward rock took me a long time to get... a LONG time! Then one of the pros at my studio simply said "think of it as putting your knees together but don't move your feet" and POOF! I had it! Sometimes it's the simplest things...  Smiley

But I do love me some American Rhythm Cha!  Grin
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TangoDancer
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2009, 04:19:33 AM »

  • Pushing off of the foot that you are leaving, rather than trying to step and pulll to the standing leg (a bad habit of mine)
  • Coordination of the hip movement in the forward and back rocks
  • Leg lines and foot positioning throughout, being conscious of hitting the leg lines instead of just dragging the trailing leg through

I found this post most interesting b/c the things that you mention are the things that cause the most grief in cha, save for just the speed of the footwork.

1. Interesting b/c a proper cha is supposed to push on the forward side, but 'pull' on the back half. We rarely...rarely see this danced.
2. Interesting b/c the rock is almost always danced too widely. Remember that the rock is not really a rock as much as it is a push in the opposite direction. Danced in thirds, a forward rock is technically a backward push from a forward foot...a back rock is a forward push from a back third. When the feet are placed in proper thirds, the coordination/timing of the feet/legs/hips are practically self evident.
3. Interesting, again, b/c if we mandate good latin feet (dancing in thirds except for the mid step of a chasse where we dance in a modified first), the pushing action hat comes from this helps to create good leg lines when carried through from feet to the body core.

Love cha; good dance.
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
Rugby
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2009, 10:13:11 PM »

Great dance, love it.
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Everyone tries to rush up through the syllabus levles and think once they are at the top they have arrived.  What they don't realize is that by doing this it is like skimming through a book, you may get the gist but you will never understand the story.
QPO
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2009, 01:29:55 AM »

I love to do it soically , the music is so inviting that you have to move. but I am just not good at it, dont get into the floor or am bending my legs
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TangoDancer
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2009, 06:31:57 AM »

I love to do it soically , the music is so inviting that you have to move. but I am just not good at it, dont get into the floor or am bending my legs

Common issue... not understanding how to use the floor.

Stand at the bottom of a fligt of stairs; place the 'ball' of one foot on the next step, while relaxing into the supporting hip. Press down onto the ball of the foot, actually lifting the body straight up until you are supporting the weight on a straightened leg (this, and the next part is what you are probably missing). Feeling how the weight rolls over the hip joint, lower the freely hanging leg... resting on the newly supporting hip. Place the ball of the weightless foot onto the next step; begin again. Bonne chance.
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
cornutt
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2009, 10:33:31 PM »

We finally figured out last week why I have so much trouble getting a pullback grapevine started: I was starting with a back step after the pullback.  It was always awkward since I had to turn one why while leading my partner to turn the other way.   Shocked  Last Saturday, my instructor noticed, while we reivewed the Dancevision video, that he starts it with a forward step.  Oh yeah!  Do you know how many times she and I have watched that stupid video and neither of us caught that?   Roll Eyes
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cornutt
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2009, 10:54:17 AM »

Worked on the pullback grapevine some more in group class last night.  The instructor explained to me how gravevines are done in Latin with swivels, and how to do the swivel properly on the balls of the feet.  That, combined with the fact that I'm finally training myself not to reflexively straighten my knees every time I have to do something fast in a Latin dance  Roll Eyes, and I think I'm actually starting to get it.  There's quite a bit of body torque there, and it's beginning to work with my connection.  And my cha-cha grapevine doesn't look like a faster foxtrot anymore.   Grin  MC, what say you?  Have you done pullback grapevine in cha-cha?
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MusicChica
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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2009, 12:46:54 PM »

Err...maybe...but I don't know what the name of the step is. Roll Eyes
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cornutt
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2009, 02:52:28 PM »

Err...maybe...but I don't know what the name of the step is. Roll Eyes

It starts like a cross-body lead, but then I lead a "pullback" -- it's really a push-back; it's that thing that makes you stick your butt out.   Grin  From there, I do a back rock while leading you to step forward and rotate left, so that we're back in closed frame.  Then we do grapevines.  It ends with three (or four, depending on how you count) side breaks, and then back into the basic.  IIRC, it's the second step in the DVIDA silver syllabus. 
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MusicChica
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« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2009, 09:45:15 PM »

Can't...wrap...head...around...too...technical...

Just lead it the next time I see you and I'll get back to you on this, LOL. Cheesy
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TangoDancer
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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2009, 05:05:10 AM »

Another name for it is guapacha and (to) swivel-vine.
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The most beautiful part of the dance is often found in between the steps... and in the movement within the stillness.
cornutt
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2009, 11:23:16 AM »

Things we worked on this week:

Crossover flicks.  One of the problems you have when you lead these is leading it in such a way that the follow can distinguish the flick from an ordinary crossover (New Yorker).  One of the things the instructor taught us is to not take a big step in the other direction after rotating back to closed; instead, step in place and do the flick.  This means that as you do the flicks, the pattern will move down the line a bit in the direction of the crossovers. 

After you do the last flick and you've turned in the other direction and you are walking down the line shoulder to shoulder, don't "mush" the 180-degree turn to the lock steps.  Take two solid forward steps down the line, and then execute a toe turn to face in the opposite direction.

The instructor pointed out that a lot of people overdo their lock steps, with legs flinging in all directions.  The part that "locks" when you do lock steps is the thighs, not the ankles.  If the foot of the locking leg is winding up way over to the side of the other foot, it's overdone.

Because the final crossover and underarm turn is so quick, there's a tendency for leads to use a lot of excess hand and arm motion with the connecting hand.  Keep the crossover on a plane; don't swoop the hand up and down.  Make the lead for the turn definite but keep it compact. 
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cornutt
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2009, 11:40:35 AM »

Pullback grapevine.  We worked on the actual grapevine part.  There are subtleties to this that I had not realized before.  There are four passes of grapevine, two in each direction.  However, the first pass (to the lead's left, the follow's right) is different from the others because it's done in closed frame, so the lead and follow have to move in the same direction.  This confuses some dancers (it confused me at first) because it means that the first pass has a forward rock in it somewhere (first half for the lead, second half for the follow).  All of the subsequent passes are done with a one-hand hold, and are all back rocks. 

The instructor pointed out that none of us were doing the forward-and-back aspect of the grapevine; we were all doing it straight to the side.  I wondered why it was that I seemed to be unable to do it without rotating my shoulders and upper torso.   Shocked  Doing the proper direction means that your body doesn't have to twist nearly as much, and it's a lot more comfortable. 

I had a coaching last week with a coach who is trained in international style, and her idea of how to initiate the grapevine differs from the group instructor.  The coach wants the follow, after the pullback, to be led to take two steps straight forward while the lead executes a straight back rock.  She wants the partners to pivot to closed after the second step, at the angle to start the grapevine.  It's more than a 90-degree turn for the follow, and I found it awkward to lead.  The group instructor wants the partners to turn to closed on the second step, and then angle to start the grapevine. 
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