Friday, October 31, 2014

Basic training for November - December

This will be the last period of training for 2014!

My Pilates will be the workout from the very beginning. I just love her knowledge and talk!

For the other days I have picked one more Fitnessblender workouts. She uses small weights which is maybe too much. I maybe test with some small bottles to try out the moves.

November you are Welcome! I am prepared!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Basic training for September - October

My training has been going on 12 months so this program starts a NEW YEAR

I started last September but first in February I updated this blog with the links to the training videos. I think the best result has been that my strength is now enough to keep me dancing for several hours. The most valuable result is still the spontaneous comment from my sisters grown up daughter - She could see the muscles around my shoulders!

Actually that is a small problem for me! I do not want big muscles, just lean ones with strength for dancing long hours. I am monitoring this and asking people advice. I need these morning workouts to push up my low blood pressure and start the day

I will use this Pilates series. It is totally about one hour with two separate half-hour workshops. I will keep my 30 minutes limit and do the first part on Monday and the second later on the week.

The easy cardio will land on Tuesday and Friday.

Follow up for September - 2014.10.03
I think these cardio sessions are the best thing happening for my dance now. The balance training in March-April did wake up the tiny muscles in the ankles and they are growing slowly as recommended for me. Pilates is good for the core but leaves the ankles and the rest of the legs with insufficient training.

Earlier I had a strong wobbling solo caminata but today I can walk alone in much more controlled way. For me this is a great progress and it will make the life easier for my followers too. I can also do 360 degree stable turn on one leg and it is ok for left and right leg.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

You can control the SPEED in youtube

One of the most valuable option in youtube of today is the speed control: You can decide if it goes slower than normal or speed it up. 

Here you have the control button:

If this option is not available at your youtube window you maybe are missing the add-on called HTML . All things remain the same on your youtube window but you just get the control button!

Place your cursor on the youtube window and RIGHT click. This click brings up a list of options and you take the HTML line.

(this information goes out to all may channels - Sorry if repeated for you)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

SACADAS Mauricio's theoretical approach

Mauricio Castro has a quite different approach to sacadas showing just fragments of explanations and presenting most of the information as lists of steps, footprints and arrows leading our steps through the process.

He agrees with the other authors and his opinion is that the visual expression is an illusion so no one is kicking or nocking off the leg of the partner. He explains that the effect is based on synchronization of different movements.

The easiest way to find the flow for sacadas is to focus on the exchange of places during the performance of sacada. He finds this far better than searching a way to send the partners leg away.

He divides the sacadas in two bigger groups:
  • Back sacadas: The sacada step is a back cross
  • Forward sacadas: The sacada step can be an opening or a forward cross.
This theoretical presentation of sacadas gives an easy way to count the number of possible sacada variations, a possibility attracting my brain a lot! We have now 3 kinds of sacada steps for a leader, these steps can target 3 kinds of follower steps, which can be performed to left or right, giving us 2 more possibilities. Totally 18 sacadas for a leader. If the leader decides to let the follower do all these sacadas we get 18 additional variations. So with these steps you can perform 36 different sacadas!

The basic three steps to start with: Front cross, Side step, Back cross
(more about this in the very end of this posting)

In these tables you find the first 18 sacadas for the leader.

(Mauricio starts the second group with an Opening followed by a Front cross.)

All these variations are presented in short descriptions with visual addition of footprints, arrows and lines as the case for number 5 and 6. (I have the book in German :))

5. Front cross, to right  -  Sacada Front cross
  6. Front cross, to right  -  Sacada Back sacada

The name of the book is as below and the German publisher is ABRAZO books

Castro, M. (2003). TANGO Die Struktur des Tanzes II, 67 -78

My addition:
To understand the actual movements when looking at the sketches is as challenging as to sing while you are looking at the dots of sheet music. If you take that challenge your will boost your inner world of movements but for us others: Please find some help via the pictures below!

The types of steps Mauricio is talking about are as follows:

In these three pictures I am moving to the left and you see the movements from leader angle. In this way we get the Counter Clock wise giro steps. The blue ribon is a symbol for the follower step.

I. I take a front cross with the left leg
II. A side step with the right leg.
III. The left leg takes a back cross

The sacadas are entered on or beyond the right the blue ribbon which is symbolizing the follower step. The follower is moving to left.
Front cross    -    Opening    -    Back cross

When the follower is moving to the right the option to place the sacada is from the departuring spot on the left nearly up to the right end of the blue ribbon, the length of the followers step.

Front cross    -    Opening    -    Back cross

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

SACADAS David's forward

In his book David Turner gives us his personal development story and reflections on suitable ways to do a sacada. He is a very talkative Englishman and my dyslexic eye had sometimes difficulties to get the idea - some of my friends on contrary love this kind of descriptions. The following will be a short excerpt of the twelve pages in the sacada section. We start with the leader's forward sacada!

The basic idea for sacada is the interruption, which is preventing the other dancer to collect the feet because of the sacada foot, which is blocking the way. An educated, skilled partner's foot is taking a detour around that foot before completing the step. According to David a slight contact with the two legs makes the sacada possible.
As my follower steps, she creates a space between her feet that starts small, widens to about 50 cm (more or less), then closes as she collects her legs. This is the gap into which I must intrude my leg. In the journey her leg will take, I want it to encounter my leg softly and be deflected, maybe not much, but enough to feel different to her and look different to an observer. (p. 165)
The initial instruction he got was to place the sacada foot near the partner's departing foot and directly change his own weight on that foot. The problem was that the sacada space was hard to find, he bend down for a better look and destroyed the balance. He was anxious too of hitting/injuring the delicate foot in an open shoe.

The sacadas started to flow when he understood the timing and start to place the sacada foot as soon as the follower had landed on her side step. When the follower is stepping evenly the sacada space will open and close predictably and the leader can feel the actual state of a step by feeling it through her upper body. With other words you feel from her upper body where and when a possibly gap for a sacada is.

The outcome of intrusion can be a smaller detour, a bigger planeo or a gancho. All this depends more or less on following choices:

Placement of sacada btwn the feet; near the standing (Ga) or departing feet (Sa)

Point of contact; higher on the leg (Ga) or lower on the leg (Sa)

Form of leader leg; like S with the heel up (Ga) or more stright (Sa)

The leader thigh: more horizontal (Ga) or more vertical (Sa)

Weight recommendations for sacada foot: less weight gives more soft leg, possibility to lift the heel (Ga) or more weight (Sa)

The dynamics of this movement is created by the rotation when the follower's hips are moved away to give space for leader to take that spot. Here you have David's description:
The rotation is essential not just to maintain the frame, as usual, but also to provide the impetus for the sacada. This impetus means that my follower's left leg quite naturally swings out, away from my leg, almost as if it has been kicked away. (p. 168)
According to David the follower (receiving partner) can facilitate the sacada by stepping evenly and predictably. If she is well balanced on her weight-bearing leg and permitting her free leg full freedom of movement will make it all easier. During the dynamic part of movement the leg should swing away from the hip and the movement should in the whole feel quite natural.

Turner, D. (2006). A Passion for TANGO, 164 -169

For me the idea of a line between the receivers feet and the sacadas intention to bend that line became the most valuable idea during the reading.

Monday, July 14, 2014

SACADAS at Golden Age - Backward

According to Christina Denniston they actually did use back sacadas at Golden Age even if it violates one of the most fundamental rules for these tango dancers - the rule of keeping a direct contact/line between the leader's and follower's hearts. To be able to complete the back sacada the leader needs to turn his body and have his backside hips parallel with the line between the follower's feet. To reach this postion he even turns his upper body slightly from the follower. The line between the hearts is broken or bend.

When the leader's hips are in right position, he will extend his left leg backwards, towards the the shadow of the follower's heart on the floor and behind that spot. This sacada, as the forward sacada, is done during the follower's side step with the right foot. At once when the leader's foot has crossed the imaginary string between the follower's feet he starts to move the weight to his new position and rising up to his full length.
During this weight transition the couple is turning, so the follower's hips will be moving away from the place leader is aiming to take.

As you see the process is quite the same as for the forward sacada with the difference of that the leader is advancing backwards during this sacada.

Christine Denniston: the meaning of TANGO, The Story of the Argentinian Dance  (p. 153-155)

In her book Christine Denniston presents the tango at Golden Age. This posting is a short excerpt from sacada section in the book. She is happy to describe how complex the variety of movements was at that time and how these old moves are coming up as new ones today.

FYI I am using the words
about the leader: leader, he and his
about the follower: follower, she and her

Saturday, July 12, 2014

SACADAS at Golden Age - Forward

We have summer now and I had planned to take it easy. Read some novels and magazines on the balcony when the warm weather has at last arrived. But no! For some reason thoughts about sacadas have been coming up as well as memories from old training sessions are flashing through my head. I gave in and started to read some of the books having lines about this known move.

The first book is written by Christine Denniston and it is presenting the tango at Golden Age. This posting is a short excerpt from sacada section in the book. She is happy to describe how complex the variety of movements was at that time and how these old moves are coming up as new ones today.

The word *sacar* means to take out or remove and in this context it can be seen as removing the partner's foot from a place you want to occupy. This class of steps is mostly an illusion where the reason for follower's movement is far above the floor. It is NOT caused by a kick on follower's leg but by the cooperation of the upper bodies.

One of the usual, easy steps to target a sacada to is the follower's right foot side step. The leader will extend his right leg forward to initiate the exchange of places. Sometimes even the follower's backward step was used while the leader did the sacada forward.

When we explore the side step sacada the process is initiated and completed during the weight transfer.

One of the basic rules for Golden Age leader was to keep the feet under or behind you; never let your foot pass forward beyond your chest. During the sacada you violate this rule and the foot is following the line to the followers heart and even passing it when your toes are landing behind the follower's back. With other words both the heart and foot are following the direction to follower's heart. 

The leader is taking the follower's former place during a turning movement for both. The outcome of planeo or gancho is caused by the dynamics of the movement.

In this otherwise so clear description I am missing more detailed information about the turn, when follower's hips are moved away so the leader can take the space. You get some information about the timing in this Oscar Casas video with Mary Ann.

The preparing figure is an Americana giving a good start for her sidestep. They show us both a light and a deep sacada.

The sacada part starts about at 2.00

This is the starting position after she has turned around after an Americana. In the down left corner you find the exact time for this moment. Oscars right foot has passed behind the place of Mary Ann's heart.

Here you find the three phases of the turn.

Christine Denniston: the meaning of TANGO, The Story of the Argentinian Dance
(p. 153-155)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Basic training for July - August

With this July-August period I will close a whole year training! In September we will open a totally new training year.

For this period I have switched the fitness and pilates parts so there will be only two pilates days per week. I really need more fitness part

Pilates with Rene on Mondays and Saturdays!

Cardio will happen Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays!

If you don't find these two hard enough there is lot of alternatives take some of them!  :))

Comment 2014.08.30

This morning was the last day for these exercises and on Monday I will test a new set of movements. It has been a good period and I have done the training nearly every morning - traveling days excluded.

I totally love the FitnesBlenders serie - the lady in yellow T-shirt - it is so well done and my body is stretched and stronger after the training. I will pick one of their work-outs for next period too!

The pilates workout has been ok but quite boring. I have skipped the back plank - you are sitting on the floor and then lifting your hips up having your weight on hands and heels. I got some back pain during the period and it disappeared when I skipped this movement.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Basic training for May - June

There has been a 3 week vacation with no other motion but walking and dancing. Two weeks abroad with sighthseeing and dancing. The lazy start after coming home took me to last monday!

There will be my loved pilates and a cardio section for the basic training. No changes there!

For pilates I have searched and found a 30 mins workshop in spanish! I notised earlier that I learned to recognize a lot of words from my Russian Callanetics video and now I am hoping same kind of effect while working my body in Spanish!

For some reason I could not link the Pilates videos here but please check the picture below and if interesting click the video playlist below. Part 1 and Part 2 about 30 mins together!

Método Pilates - Entrenamiento en Colchoneta

If the playlist above is not working try these separate links!

The cardio part is still in Enlish!  :)

 The Pilates part will be run Monday-Wednesday and the cardio Friday-Saturday as usual!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I started this balance trip just to control that everything was ok. Now I am aware of several areas I need to improve and the priorities will be reorganized. I will continue to do the excercises for muscles, but I will NOT increase the number of repetitions instead I will go down to ten. It will take only a few minutes when I run them after my basic training session. The muscles may grow slowly.

Last week I have send a message to a facebook friend, Mari K. Johnson,  who is certified trainer with feet as her speciality and got some web addresses in return. On her website I learned about other ways to train my feet and among them the need of development of the sensory feedback. If my brain gets just rough information about surface I am standing on the adaptation will allso be roughly correct. In complicated figures my brain needs detailed  information about the position of different parts of my body. When there is lot of sensory feedback from my feet, joints and so on, then my brain can send most accurate orders to muscles.

To develop my Proprioceptive system, the feedback system, will be a long term goal with a tiny start of walking barefoot at home.

This will be done every training day (1, 2, 3 and 5, 6) but only with 10 reps.

It has turned out that this video will not work as a training video for me at this level of balance development. Instead I use it as instrument to monitor how my balance coordination is developing. How many repetitions I manage to run without wobbling or putting my feet down after this weeks training?

Saturday, April 5, 2014


It goes irritating slowly but I don't want to do too much and risk my training during the coming weeks. So I will go on with the earlier balance training only once this week and add a video for the ankles for the days in between. I will have only a moderate ambitions level! :)

This will be my companion for days 1/2/3 and 5 

This will be my companion for day 6

2014.04.06   Weekly summary:
This week I was following the regime quite well and adding the number of repetitions to the ankle prosess up to 30 repetitions for the ankle training.

I did the first part of green man's program and noticed to my great pleasure that on the left I needed only one break and when I was standing on the right the touch down came just before the last reperition of these feet circles. Great progress!

I got a feeling that some of the improvement was not because my muscles were growing ,but because my body understood better what to do!

Friday, March 28, 2014


Because my ankles are in need of extra support and because my knees still complain I will go on with the earlier balance training only once this week and keep up with the video for the ankles for the other days. I  noticed that without any planing I find myself doing the rising/lowering the heels movements. Some extra training that too!

This will be my companion for days 1/2/3 and 5 

This will be my companion for day 6

This training is for my body and yours is maybe different needing something else.

Listen to your body!    

Monday, March 17, 2014


This training is for my body and yours is maybe different needing something else.

Listen to your body!

Because my ankles turned out to be in need of extra support and because my knees were complaining I will go on with the earlier balance training only two times this week and add a video for the ankles for the days in between. I will have only a moderate ambitions level!

This will be my companion for days 1/2 and 5 

This will be my companion for days 3 and 6

But I will be doing  only the ones before the ball comes in.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


When I was wondering what to focus on during coming weeks the answer was BALANCE.
I have had bad balance down to very bad balance for all my dancing years. One teacher told me that if I could stop using my feet as Charlie Chaplin my dance would be actually beautiful. BUT i could not; I needed that extra support.

This article about the three different systems administering the balance process is short and gives you a picture  how fantastic orchestra is needed to keep you standing!

Your muscles needs to be trained too, they are anyhow doing the rough job. If  there is 12 mins available we could invest those minutes on our muscles to create balance! (I skip the training with ball, I do not have any.) I wonder if my Proprioceptive system will be developed now, maybe I get some new cells or the old ones will be trimmed to top level!

Happy training for March!    


Comments on the training Week 1.

I managed to run this through three times during the week and I am happy about that; seven days would have ruined my body. During last night's milonga something happened with my knee, I can not tell what but there was something and I think the strain to catch up the whole body, when my ankles were not doing their job properly, was too much for all the small stuff in the knee.

My left and right leg were in totally different shape. Standing on my left leg I managed to do only 2/3 repetitions before I needed to make a fresh start. On the right side my repetitions were doubled or more before I did a touch down.

My core was ok and it is logical after all that pilates training and I will not continue with that part of the video. My weakest points are the ankles and there the left one needs extra help to get in shape. It is not about a bad ankle but about my bad training habits!

The most surprising during the week was how fast my muscles started to cooperate. The  ankles are still trembling, but they keep up for a rising number of repetitions.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Basic Training for March - April

I strongly recommend you to have some kind of training routine for basic cardio and strength. It helps you to use your muscles more precise and that is really needed for this dance!
I remember some followers talking about how the dance experience was changed when the leader started to visit the gym regularly. I have though stopped those visits and do all my training at home - the saved money is used for traveling.
An easy guess?   :)

If you want to do something at home check this channel: FitnessBlender  to find your favorit!

I have surfed a lot and for this period I will use these two workouts:

I have been on Pilates classes for 5-6 years so by now I know the most important instructions by heart and can understand the new ones clearly enough. This video from YouTube will be on my schedule on Monday-Wednesday.

I have one day rest and on Friday I will go on with Callanetics. I have been working on it quite a long time in the past but it has been difficult to find anything on the web. This is with a Russian instructor who is following the Callanetics principles quite well. I think the original has some more stretches included, but this is totally ok. The workouts in Chinese are more like fitness training with too strong/large repetitions. This will be my companion for two days!   (starts about 6.25)

I you prefere something else check the  FitnessBlender channel to find your favorit!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Basic training for January - February

It has been a long pause. I have done some basic training but not the detailed planed one for tango since March 2013.

I have been dancing and need that stable core. I use tango to boost training for my body - it is so good reason and I belive it, I do the training! To start 2014 I have choosed to continue with pilates and some thougher training without jumps.

For me the best time for training is the morning; it has always been so!

Monday to Wednesday:  Pilates with Renee, a half an hour is enough!

Friday and Saturday: Jilian Michaels Abs workout