The luxury of two privates in three days: A more reliable colgada lead

There’s a limit to how much I can take in at one time. With Fede and Julia, 90 minutes is usually about right: an hour can feel a bit rushed, while two hours causes my brain to melt.

But having that private on the Saturday, and another with David on the Monday, meant that we were able to work further on the colgada – and figure out the difference between getting the outward tension 50% of the time and most of the time …

A more reliable colgada lead

What David had me do was add the italicised elements, which is sending the follower’s weight out a little ahead of mine, initially using strength to hold her, before counterbalancing:

  • Side-step to left with parada to inside of follower’s foot, and dissociate to my right
  • Bring my weight forward onto my right foot, sending the follower’s weight out
  • Simultaneously bring my left foot behind me
  • Slide open the embrace as before, to the inner shoulder blade
  • Transfer my weight to my rear foot as I pivot to lead the follower’s steps around me

With this approach, there wasn’t the need for me to ‘sit’ to any notable degree, as most of the outward tension is created by my weight-transfer.

It’s also easier to do, as I can take my time sending the follower’s weight out, then the weight transfer and pivot becomes easy to do as a single motion.

He also had me try not opening the embrace, but holding Wai Fong under her right arm for a smaller weight transfer, but while I could see the point of that – being able to do a smaller version in a crowded milonga – it didn’t have anything like the same feel to me.

Refining my volcada too

David also noticed I was holding Wai Fong too tightly in the volcada. I was essentially working too hard on the lifting sensation, and then maintaining that overly-tight and overly-high embrace.

The lifting sensation can be imparted without moving my hand much on her back, and once that has been done, my right arm plays no further part. I even tried removing it completely, which worked fine.

I’ll work on that during our next practice session. We’re aiming to practice twice a week now instead of once, so plenty of opportunity for that.

And the single/double-time walk

This worked much better than I expected during yesterday’s practice. David suggested adding a lifting sensation when switching to double-time, and a relaxing sensation when switching back.

Coordinating that with the mental preparation for the switch is currently a little like trying to pat my head and rub my belly at the same time, but it’s a great idea in principle, so I’ll work on it!

David also found my walk got a bit jumpy in double-time, so I need to focus on maintaining my level – he suggested using even smaller steps would help.

Finally, revisiting an old turn

David showed me a ‘new’ turn which was, I eventually realised, one I’d done before in the dim-and-distant past – and, indeed, used to be part of my usual milonga vocabulary. But it had fallen out of my brain at some point during the lockdown.

  • Lead back ochos to left and right
  • On the right, pivot myself to face left
  • Then step around the follower in a lapice motion, to the outside of her foot
  • Lead the rest of a giro from there: side-step, forward step, side-step
  • While I pivot around to meet her

Actually, I think the version I had before was a bit more free-form, but seemed to work. This more precise approach will be good to work on before again experimenting with variations.

And, yeah, about that changed blog approach …

I guess the reality is I learn so much during privates that I’m always going to blog those – given that the primary purpose of the blog is a reference source for me. So the only change for now is no blogs for practice sessions.

Image: Shutterstock

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