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Single Axis Turns (Week 2) and Leading by the Creation of Space

3/12/2013
Song: No Te Apures Cara Blanca (1942) by Lucio Demare with Juan Carlos Miranda
Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks

This is from our second week of "Single Axis Turns." This week we looked at initiating single axis turns from a colgada, barrida and boleo.

This class also had another theme which was leading through the creation of space. We believe that a large part of leading and following is that the leader creates a space and the woman then fills that space. This allows for a very comfortable dance which does not require force or pushing or pulling or lifting. If the leader clearly creates space and the follower is perceptive and willing to enter the space created then a lot of unnecessary actions can be avoided.

Tip: Women should not let their free leg fly out and up. Women should keep their free leg relaxed, but weighted into the floor.

Tip: Women should notice that Shelley lifts her knee at the beginning of the colgada to the side, but then lowers it as we start turning in the other direction.

Tip: Don't try to hard. Both men and women should practice pivoting 180 degrees and then 360 degrees without throwing themselves around.  They should just take their upper bodies around in the direction they want to turn and then let their hips and feet fall in underneath.

Tip: Single axis turns can be thought of as mini-colgadas. We should have some opposing force in order for a single axis turn to feel stable.

Single Axis Turns (Week 1) with Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks

3/4/2013
Song: Tal Vez Sera Su Voz (1943) by Lucio Demare with Raul Beron singing
Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks of Tangology101 and Tango Evolution

Note: This is a demo for our students and for perspective students to see the type of material that we cover. This demo covers a 1.5 hour class with lots of instruction, exercises and discussions of musicality which are not covered in the video.



We looked at two different single axis turns, both turning clockwise or to the close side of the embrace.

Step 1
At 0:11, we start by switching to cross system and performing a barrida (sweep). Then we execute the single axis turn (180 degrees) and then we step back and turn to return to the line of dance. This step also includes a change of front, discussed in other lessons.

Hint: Keep it calm. Don't try too hard. Just simply turn, don't try to sling yourself around.

Step 2
At 0:42, we start with a rebound step, twisting to get her to step close to my right foot with her right foot. Then we use the unwinding of that  twist to generate the momentum for our turn.

Hint: At the end of the turn, we want to come back straight and make sure we are balanced and that our feet are together before stepping back. We want to avoid falling back. We want that back step to be controlled and deliberate.

Serpentina (Reverse Sacadas)

Teachers: Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks
Song: "Bahía Blanca" by Carlos Di Sarli

Serpentina means snake like, because it looks like two snakes intertwined. This video is for our students to review what we covered in class.

As you can see from the slow motion, I am starting the step from back ochos. I follow her right leg around my right leg, ultimately wrapping my right leg around her left. The important thing is that I need to get her weight shifted to her right before I shift my weight to my right, thus displacing her left.

Alterations from Forward Cross

Date: 02/18/2013
Teachers: Clint and Shelley of Tango Evolution and Tangology101.com
Song: Bahia Blanca by Carlos Di Sarli

The alterations happen at :18 and :22. In the first one I am leading her forward and then she pivots 90 degress (change of front) and she steps backward (change of direction). So, in one step we change fronts and change directions, thus an alteration. In the second one, we change from her moving backwards to her moving forward in one step.

Also, at 2:42 we do a Cerpentina (or reverse sacada). We did a class on this recently, but did not make a video of that class, so we worked it in here because some students had been asking for a demo of it. It can be a dangerous step, so you really should get some instruction in it before attempting it.

Embellishments (adornos)
Of course, we work in many embellishments to our dance, but some worth noting in this demo are:

1. At the very beginning, we do little tucks before taking the first side step
2. At :34, Shelley does a castigada
3. At 1:27, I do an embellishment to her ocho cortado with a a small parada.
4. At 1:36, Shelley does another castigada and then little taps before exiting the parada.

Of course, with all of these embellishments, I am waiting and giving her the time to perform them.

Second Demo

We also did a second demo for this class which shows similar steps done to the more rhythmic "Pénsalo Bién" by Juan D'Arienzo.

We pause during D'Arienzo, but they are brief pauses, not the long stretched out pauses of Di Sarli. So, most of the embellishments are "worked in" to the pace of the music. What I mean by that is that in Di Sarli, I pause and give Shelley plenty of time to embellish, but in D'Arienzo, I do not pause as much so Shelley and I work the embellishments into the rhythm. This is more difficult and requies the embellishments to be sharp and precise. Here are some to look for:

1. At :09, Shelley does a quick tap as she pivots
2. At :13, I do a quick point and tap of my toe
3. At :15, I work in a quick tap while walking
4. At :20, Shelley works in a quick tap
5: At 1:05, we both embellish our forward crosses by tapping our feet together
6: At 1:36, Shelley does multiple taps as she pivots around
7: At 2:04, Shelley embellishes the Ocho Cortado by flexing her foot up.

Rhythmic Alterations with Cross Over Step and Cadencia

Date: 2.11.2013
Class Title: Rhythmic Alterations with Cross Over Step and Cadencia
Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks
Song: Son Cosas del Bandoneón by Enrique Rodriguez with Roberto Flores singing

The primary step that we worked on is at the very beginning of the video. We start by entering cross system and then executing a change of direction with me crossing my right over my left turning 180 degrees. Then I step forward with my left and do two rock steps (Cadencia) turning 90 degrees each to return to the line of dance. This step is very musical and works well with rhythmic orchestras such as Rodriguez, Canaro, Biagi, D'Arienzo, etc.

Another focus here is playing with the rhythm of quick, quick, quick, quick, slow. This happens with the two sets of rock steps.

One tip is to not try too hard with this step. It is small and compact. Stay close to each other. For the rock steps, it is important to stay in the middle of the step and a touch down into the ground as we rock, so that we don't feel the need to collect our feet. Also, we are both pivoting a great deal during this step.

Alterations - Rebounds, Changes of Direction and Changes of Fronts

Alterations are concept steps which includes Arrepentidas, Cambios de Frente (Changes of Front) and Cambios de Dirección (Changes of Direction).

The lessons below are focused on one or more of these types of Alterations. Often they are combined to create very dynamic steps.

Cambios de Dirección (Changes of Direction)
A change of direction is pretty straight forward, we are altering our direction. The tango couple is moving in one direction and then begins moving in another direction. This can happen on any foot and in any direction. This could be as simple as stepping forward and then stepping back.

Cambios de Frente (Changes of Front)
Imagine your body has 4 sides straight, to your left, to your right and behind you.  You are always facing in one direction and if you change your direction to face one of the 3 remaining directions then you have changed your front (frente).

Arrepentida (Repent) or Rebote (Rebound)
With an arrepentida, we step with one foot and then immediately take it back suddenly without resolving the initial step. For example, I could step forward with my left, bounce off of the left and then step to the side with the left. So, I started to go forward, changed my mind mid-step and then decided to go to the side instead. These steps are often sudden and use a quick, quick, slow rhythm.

Cadencia or Balenceo (Rock Step)
This is a simple change of direction where the leader interrupts the couple in the middle of a step and rocks back and forth either in place or in a cirlce. The key to this step is keeping the axis in the middle of the step.

Clarification: As you can see, in each of these we are either altering our direction or altering our front OR often both at the same time. We can change our direction without changing our front, but we cannot change our front without changing direction.

Ochitos (Tiny Ochos) in Milonga

1/21/2013
"Milonga de Mis Amores" by Francisco Canaro (1937)
One great thing to notice about this milonga is the use of a musical saw.  At 2:20, it is the instrument making a wavering type of sound in the background.

This is a class demo on Ochitos (Tiny Ochos) in Milonga. We looked at how to lead her to take tiny ochos, moving both linearly and circularly.
 

Linear Volcadas from Back Crosses

This class primarily focused on linear volcadas initiated from back crosses.

12/03/2012
Melodía Porteña (1937) by Juan D’Arienzo

As always, this demo is provided as a reminder to our students about the material we covered in class. In the actual class, we discuss both women and men’s technique, musicality, and navigation.?

Linear Volcada from Back Crosses?
At 0:06, we start by entering into cross system and leading the the woman to back crosses (ochos). When I step forward with my left, I send a small impulse forward sending her free leg (right) back, past neutral. I then take a small diagonal step back with my right, she should bring her free leg in the direction we are moving in and thus we get a back cross from her. The larger step I take back the larger the volcada, so it can be very small or large. I collect my feet and continue in cross system to a forward cross. At 1:06, we do the same step to the other side.

Tip: There is no pivoting involved in this step. When we initiate these from back ochos (back crosses) they are walking back crosses and not pivoting back crosses. I am keeping my chest flat and not using any contra-body movement.

Tip: For the men, it is very important to collect your feet after each step. When I step forward with my left, I collect BEFORE stepping back with my right.. then during the volcada, I collect my left. You can also see that I am sometimes doing an embellishment once i have collected during the volcada.

Tip: the woman’s free leg needs to be super relaxed, as always, so that it can react and move in the direction my intention/impulse sends it.

Alternating Back Volcadas?
At 0:19, we do alternating small back volcadas. The main tip here is that I am going slightly down and back up to free up her leg each time.

Back Cross and Volcada from Rebote?
At 0:28, we are in cross system and I step into her back open step with my forward cross step and then rebound (rebote) back and to the right (diagonally) causing her to do a back cross and then volcada.

Tip: With this step, I have a little contra-body happening since I am stepping outside partner. I keep that contra-body position as I step back and straighten after the back cross.

Back Cross and Volcada from High Sacada?
At 0:40, we enter cross system and I step inside with my left performing a high sacada to her right leg. At 1:22, we do the same high sacada but in parallel system.

Tip: For a high sacada, we perform a sacada above the knee so that our upper thighs touch. It is not a push, we barely make contact.

Simple Back Crosses
At 2:07, we do some simple back crosses in parallel system, but here they are pretty much all on axis and not so much volcadas.

Sacada to Giro to Back Cross and Volcada
At 2:18, we did not go over this in class.. I just did it as we were dancing.

Milonguero Dip and Playful Rebotes

11/19/2012
Gato by Edgardo Donato with Horacio Lagos

This demo is provided as a reminder to our students about the material we covered in class. In the actual class, we discuss both women and men’s technique, musicality, and navigation.??

Milonguero Dip with Playful Rebotes (Rebounds)
The “Milonguero Dip” is an embellishment (adorno) to the woman’s forward cross. Whenever a woman is taking a forward cross with her left foot, the man dips down onto his left foot and leads her to a quick counter-clockwise pivot. He then steps back with his right and she steps forward into the close side of the embrace with her right. He then leads her to pivot again to take a forward cross in front of him and leads her playfully to rebotes back and forth.  This step can be seen at the very beginning of the video at 0:06


Origins of this Step?
When I first went to Buenos Aires, I saw many of the older dancers doing this step and loved it. Years later, I took a class with Murat and Michelle Erdemesal and her the term “milonguero dip” for the first time. The term was originally coined by Jennifer Bratt and Ney Melo, two great tango dancers and teachers. On that same trip, I took several lessons with Osvaldo and Coca Cartery and picked up this cute rebound (rebote) step from them (below is a picture from that class).??

Tip for Men: Wait until her left foot has her weight, before you lead the dip and pivot. To lead the pivot, send an impulse through the embrace down and around her left hip. Imagine a big circle around your embrace around your arms and backs, then imagine a smaller circle inside the embrace around her hips. Just like with any other pivot or boleo we want to send our impulse around the inner circle or “inside the embrace” instead of the outer circle.

Tip for Women: At the moment of the Dip, the man lowers his vertical axis and the woman should match him. The couple should return to a normal height with the next step.

Tip for Women: As the woman dips and pivots, she should unhook her feet so that she is ready for the next step. Don’t leave your right foot hooked behind your left. During the dip and pivot, the woman should not try to stay glued to his chest, she should relax her embrace and role on his chest letting her right shoulder come closer to him than her left shoulder.

Tips for Rebotes: In the first one, the man is leading with his upper body while keeping his legs apart in an open side step. This is very important, the rebotes are not points. They should have some weight transfer and feel like real rebounds using the whole body not just the legs. To be even more specific, we begin to switch weight, but rebound before we get 100% to our new leg. So our shifts happen in the middle of our steps.

Musicality?
We looked at executing the step with a smooth, elegant musicality (DiSarli, Fresedo) and with a sharper, more staccato musicality (Donato, D’Arienzo). For the rebotes, women should always be listening to the music, but they really really have to for the rebounds to work. She needs to be hitting the beat with her feet going back and forth. She can also do embellishments to play with the music.

Variations
Milonguero Dip with simple exit (0:20)
Simple back and Forth Rebotes (0:38)
Rebotes in Salida Americana (0:40)
Milonguero Dip from Giro (1:32)
Milonguero Dip from Ocho Cortado (2:07)

Milonguero Dip examples from Sunderland Milonga in Buenos Aires. You can see the Milonguero dip at 4:20, 10:27, 13:50 and 16:44 (couple in background, green dress):

Volcadas Part 1: Basic Circular and Linear Volcadas

12/09/2013

As always, this demo is provided as a reminder to our students about the material we covered in class. In the actual class, we discuss both women and men’s technique, musicality, and navigation.

Volcada

A volcada (tilt, to tip over) is when the leader and follower both lean forward, off-axis, into one another. This is also referred to as in carpa (tent).

Forward Circular Volcada

We started off with a volcada to a forward cruzada (cross). Volcadas can be done linearly, but I prefer to begin teaching with a more circular Volcada. We start with a small back circular boleo with her left leg, to free up her free leg. Then I step back and around her with my left leg, bringing her off-axis towards me (volcada). She lets her left leg “float” forward. I collect my feet and then step forward with my right to the open side of the embrace, thus leading her to a cruzada and back onto our axis.

TIP for Both:
The connection (weight) in the volcada should be distributed through the upper torso, not just in his right shoulder and her left shoulder. He should keep his torso flat throughout the movement, if he tilts to his right all her weight will go to his shoulder. She should send her weight to his center (spine) not to his shoulder, this will create maximum balance. She also needs to pivot her supporting leg/foot to stay pointing towards him.

TIPS for Men:
After the leader steps back with his left, initiating the volcada, he should then collect his feet before stepping forward with his right.

At the end of the volcada, he should step forward with his right and return her to her axis. But he should not step too close to her, as this will knock her off her axis in the other direction. He needs to leave a little space between their feet so that both can return to their own axis before taking another step.

TIPS for Women: At the moment of the volcada, the woman should let her free leg float forward. The foot of her free leg should be at minimum under her knee, but can extend completely straight depending on her styling. The foot should follow the direction of the movement.

Don't collapse, keep your core strong and straight. The hinge for leaning forward should happen at the ankles. Don't let your hips break forward or back.

Don’t bring your free leg back into the cruzada until he begins bringing you back onto your axis. By the time you are completely, back onto your axis your feet should be crossed.

Linear Volcada from Back Crosses

We start by entering into cross system and leading the the woman to back crosses (ochos). When I step forward with my left, I send a small impulse forward sending her free leg (right) back, past neutral. I then take a small diagonal step back with my right, she should bring her free leg in the direction we are moving in and thus we get a back cross from her. The larger step I take back the larger the volcada, so it can be very small or large. I collect my feet and continue in cross system to a forward cross.

 

Tip: There is no pivoting involved in this step. When we initiate these from back ochos (back crosses) they are walking back crosses and not pivoting back crosses. I am keeping my chest flat and not using any contra-body movement.

Tip: For the men, it is very important to collect your feet after each step. When I step forward with my left, I collect BEFORE stepping back with my right.. then during the volcada, I collect my left. You can also see that I am sometimes doing an embellishment once i have collected during the volcada.

Tip: the woman’s free leg needs to be super relaxed, as always, so that it can react and move in the direction my intention/impulse sends it.

Demo of Circular Volcadas with Music


Forward Volcada to Both Sides

At 0:45, we demonstrated a volcada to both sides of the embrace.
TIP for Men: Notice that my left only moves slightly, my right foot is leading the volcadas to both sides. Men also, attempt to collect your feet in the middle of each volcada, it makes it look neater and is a clearer lead for her.

360 Volcada from Rebote
At 1:00, we demonstrate getting a full 360 turn with a volcada from a rebote (rebound).??TIP: This is really a single-axis turn. After the rebound, I want to get my right foot very close to her right foot, so that I can get a lot of momentum for the single-axis turn.

Double Volcada with Split Weight Turn

This is one of my signature steps. At 1:25, I lead her to a volcada, but instead of returning her to a “tight” cruzada, I lead her a little more to my left so that her feet are separated by a few inches. As she puts her free leg down, I stop her so that her weight is evenly split. She is on axis at this point and I walk around her with her weight split. As I get all the way around, I move her weight back to her right and lead another volcada. You need the space between her feet, mentioned above, so that she can have room to pivot.

Forward Volcada from Back Cruzada

At 2.21, I lead a back cruzada and then initiate a forward Volcada.

Demo of Linear Volcadas to Music
12/03/2012
Melodía Porteña (1937) by Juan D’Arienzo

Alternating Back Volcadas
At 0:19, we do alternating small back volcadas. The main tip here is that I am going slightly down and back up to free up her leg each time.

Back Cross and Volcada from Rebote
At 0:28, we are in cross system and I step into her back open step with my forward cross step and then rebound (rebote) back and to the right (diagonally) causing her to do a back cross and then volcada.

Tip: With this step, I have a little contra-body happening since I am stepping outside partner. I keep that contra-body position as I step back and straighten after the back cross.

Back Cross and Volcada from High Sacada
At 0:40, we enter cross system and I step inside with my left performing a high sacada to her right leg. At 1:22, we do the same high sacada but in parallel system.

Tip: For a high sacada, we perform a sacada above the knee so that our upper thighs touch. It is not a push, we barely make contact.

Simple Back Crosses
At 2:07, we do some simple back crosses in parallel system, but here they are pretty much all on axis and not so much volcadas.

Sacada to Giro to Back Cross and Volcada
At 2:18, we did not go over this in class.. I just did it as we were dancing.