Back to Back Gancho in Back Ocho
DT: Andrew, you are changing your body position in this gancho. Are you changing anything else?
The Leader's body is per-
pendicular to the Lady's...
...then is less so...
...and at the height of the gancho
is nearly parallel back to back.
The lady is standing more
straight than forward at the gancho.
Andrew: Yes, I am changing the leg I am using for the gancho.
DT: The photo to the right shows you rotating her upper body to the right. What is going on there?
Andrew: We both do the gancho there, right? When we execute this gancho we turn somewhat towards the right. Because we are going to the open side of our frames, we do need to accommodate the follower's leg. We need to really extend our left leg through there and turn so we give her enough room to swing her leg through.
DT: Do you have any weight on that left foot when she was ganchoing?
Andrew: Very little, it's basically just there stabilizing me. That's why it's important the follower keeps her own balance, her own axis when she does a gancho.
DT: Did you ever get spun by a strong gancho.
Andrew: I've never been spun, but displaced, surprisingly.
Kana: Maybe it might be worthwhile to mention that gancho happens when ladyís backward move is interfered by gentlemanís leg.
DT: So the lady is always walking backward on the gancho?
Kana: Almost always.
DT: Whatís the singlemost point for the follower to remember when doing ganchos? Does anything leap to mind?
Kana: Donít affect your upper body. Not forward or back. Stay calm with upper body and head and move just the leg. Ladies often arch back or turn shoulders. Keep upper body quiet.
DT: Do you relay on sight at all?
Kana: I don't rely on sight or visual lead or follow. At least I rely on them the least. I often dance with my eyes completely closed, especially in social situation.
Gancho is led by gentleman's torso, its rotation, as well as contact of thighs. I should feel the lead with my eyes closed. I also encourage gentleman to practice with their eyes closed, even for sacadas. There are a lot of exercise we can do with eyes closed -- usually one person at a time, in order to develop the sense of each other's body, leg, foot.
DT: Kana, you don't appear to be doing anything there that you wouldn't be doing in any other gancho. Andrew though would appear to be changing the position of his body...
DT: ...and I have heard women comment that some workshops are nothing more to them than ocho or molinete drills, the complaint being that the gents get the instruction while the ladies are like props.
Kana: (laughs) We always have to do the same?
DT: Yes. Is that an issue in your experience?
Andrew: That is a common complaint, "It's all for the leader". The leaders work is harder, but each week when I teach my class I try to pick figures that will challenge leaders and followers.
Kana: And also try to encourage ladies to pay a lot of attention to their own technique. Close their knees always together, close their feet always together doing even simple ocho and molinete. Just to pay attention to their own legs rather than being annoyed by being a molinete doll.
And we can perfect or polish our technique constantly, doing even simple walk. The musician never stops playing the scale Ė same thing, we have to walk in ocho and molinete thousand miles.
DT: You can give pointers and instruction on technique even concerning simple movements on a one-to-one basis, but how about in a class with a number of leaders and followers?
Kana: Still, yes-- whether your back leg is stretched when you move backward, or whether your upper body is not affected when you do gancho, and so on.
The Keys:The leader allows the lady to transfer her weight onto her left before turning her back to gancho with her left. The lady keeps her upper body unaffected while she ganchos -- no pulling back, jutting forward, etc. -- just as if she were not ganchoing at all.
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