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Category: Tango Classes

Basic Ganchos and Linked "El Pulpo Style" Ganchos

In this class, we look at basic gancho technique and more advanced concepts such as linked "El Pulpo Style" ganchos.

Norberto "El Pulpo" Esbrez was a true maverick of tango. His linked ganchos are what gave him the nickname "El Pulpo / The Octopus." This class is an homage to him and his influence on our dance and our approach to tango. 

Barridas with Variations - June 2014

July 2014
Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks

In this class, our theme was executing barridas (to sweep or drag), including many creative variations.

Leg Wraps and Ganchos - Class Demo - Charleston, SC

May 2014


In this demo, we start with the most basic of leg wraps (ganchos), leading her to a side open and stepping into her step to receive the wrap (:14). The primary leg wrap from the class can be seen clearly at :22 and 1:55. It starts with a rebound step and lead her around/over my right leg, creating an opportunity for her to wrap. One thing that we discussed in the class was the technique for the women, to make these safe for the dance floor, is to not extend the leg out after the wrap.. notice at :25, Shelley's knee is bent and goes up instead of out.

Then we proceed to demonstrate more complex wraps showing how they can be used to express the music, such as at 1:17. Two of my favorites are the double wrap at 1:44 and the inside the embrace gancho at 2:00. We also did a piernazo (high leg wrap, above the man's waist) at :45.

The Mirror Step

April 2014
Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks

This is a fun step for use with more rhythmic tango such as Donato, D'Arienzo and Biagi. We also show some variations of the step.

Dancing to Donato - Part 2 - Rebote to Back Cross or Ocho Cortado w Adornos

 Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks

Music: Mis Pesares by Edgardo Donato with Horacio Lagos (1941)
This is part 2 in our series on dancing to the music of Edgardo Donato. Donato's music is very rhythmic and playful, so we try to express that in the dance. The music has a driving rhythm, so we don't usually take long dramatic pauses as much as we would in other music.
Also, Shelley shows many embellishments (adornos) in this video and I would encourage women to watch her feet very closely. Often we encourage men to wait and allow women time to do their embellishments, but in this class we were looking at embellishments where the women are working them into the music and rhythm of the dance. In the demo, I am not waiting on her to do her embellishments, she is working them in and not at all interrupting the flow of the dance.
We always encourage followers to be active and not passive, but especially when dancing to more rhythmic music. The followers need to be responsible keeping the rhythm, not making the leaders do all the work. As we often say, "The leader can only get you close to the beat, but you (the follower) must put your foot down on the beat."
The steps that we looked at both start with a rebound (rebote) from stepping outside partner in parallel system. In the first step, after the rebound, I step to the side and enter back crosses. In the second step, after the rebound, I turn and lead a very compact ocho cortado. This ocho cortado takes up almost no space and is sometimes called a "milonguero ocho cortado."

Dancing to Donato Part 1: Crossover Step and Empujadita

Teachers: Shelley Brooks and Clint Rauscher
Song: "Sinfonia de Arrabal" by Edgardo Donato (1940)

In this class, we focused on dancing to Edgardo Donato. Donato's music is very rhythmic and playful, so we try to express that in the dance. The explored several concepts, but the primary step we worked on starts with a crossover step, the leader going to the open side of the embrace and then switching to the close side with an empujadita. An empujadita (little push) is when the leader makes slight contact with their upper thigh to the follower's upper thigh, very gently pushing the follower's free leg around their supporting leg. In a way, it is a high sacada and results in what is effectively a forward boleo for the follower. This is the first step we do in the video.

We also do several variations of this step, through the video. At :18, we do one which includes a little adorno for the leader at :21. In the first step, we go the close side of the embrace, but in the second version we exit to the open side in parallel system.