Dancemax Letter #28, Thursday, Dec 7, 2000
In my last letter, I said that a champ teacher can make things look "good"
with their personal technique and touch and whether this is good for our
students or not?.. I had a response from a reader. The comment was,
..."what's so wrong with that, actually it is good". What I really meant was
that making it look so "hot" and so "good" that a figure looses its identity
and deviates from standard technique to the point of confusion, that is not
very good. For example in Cucaracha a full weight transfer on step 1 and
releasing the heel of the other foot all the way, in an attempt to exaggerate
the hip movement, well that might create a wrong picture of this step in a
beginner student's mind. I hope you understand what I am saying. Well, let's
read and proceed!
As we discussed in the last letter, the first step of cucaracha can be taken either to side, forward, back or diagonal. Thus we have different variations and uses for this movement.
Press Line: A cucaracha step taken forward or diagonally forward is the basis for Press Line used in many Latin dances. Usually this line is created by Man taking left foot forward or diagonally forward. There is firm pressure into the floor (toe), Knee is bent and heel is released from the floor. Press line can be used mostly in place of cucaracha movement such as step 7 of sliding door for the man and step 7 of Three Threes. I think we should be able to use it also as the first step of Hip Twists and Spiral movement when leading lady to open to right. Try it and see. Do not confuse Press Line with Spanish Line which is really not Cucaracha movement. Actually a Spanish line is created after a backward step, leaving the other leg bent, foot high on toe and no weight. This description of Press Line and Spanish line was based on Walter Laird (IDTA) technique which further points out that a Press line is more "masculine" and Spanish line more "feminine." However this difference should not be interpreted as absolute. I think Man can put masculinity in a Spanish line just as a Lady can put femininity into a Press Line.
Again Press Line as opposed to a Spanish Line, is a longer step forward or diag forward with 80 to 90% weight, A Spanish Line is usually created by taking a step back with no weight on the bent front leg. In both cases the bent leg is high on Toes.
It is interesting to note that Mr. Espen Salberg discussed Basic Movement and Cucarachas in Rumba at BDF International Congress, 2000 at Blackpool. This was shown by Hanse Gilke and Bianca Shriver, which simply says again, Dont loose sight of Basics.
Any other discussion is welcome, with best wishes, Max
Questions and comments to Dancemax@aol.com, thank you.