Home > Tango Resources > Tangology 101 Blog

Tag Name: cruzada (cross)


Exploring the Cruzada Part 2: Vals

In this class, we explore creative ideas for using the cruzada in the rhythm of vals.

The Double Cruzada
Here we look at combining the one step cross in parallel systme with the one step cross in cross system. So we get two crosses in a row. The leader is walking in regular time, stepping on the 1 with each step, while leading the follower to step in double time. The leader steps forward with his left while leading her to cross and change weight. Then he steps forward with his right while leading her to cross and change weight. This creates a nice rhythm which fits very well into vals.

The Forced Cruzada
With this technique, we lead the followers to cross their right foot in front of their left feet. This can be a strange feeling for the followers until they practice. The women should resist the temptation to twist their hips and pivot. They should have a very relaxed leg and simply let the leg, not the hip, go in the direction of the move. The clearest way for the men to lead this is to mirror the women. If we are doing the same move, but in reverse, then we should be moving in the correct direction. Also, for the women, do not cross too deeply so that your weight change can be smooth.

For the leaders, don't get too caught up on the idea of forcing the cross. We do not even need to make contact with her for this step. It is more about direction and removing other possiblities such as walking straight back.

Back Cruzadas
If we think about the cross as a technique rather than as a step then we should be able to get them on any step going forward or backwards. Here we are stepping forward and then changing direction to move back diagonally. Again, the followers should simply take their free leg in the direction that we are moving. As with the previous move, if the leaders mirror the followers then we will be assured of moving in the correct direction.

Exploring the Cruzada Part 1: Tango

In this class, we looked at different ways of using the cruzada (cross) to make our dance more interesting.

Slowing Down the Cruzada
Normally when we go to the cruzada we cross on a beat and change weight on a beat, or double time the cruzada. Here we were looking at slowing it down and taking several beats to complete the cruzada, especially in slower or dramatic music such as Pugliese or di Sarli. The important thing here is that the moment of the cruzada is being led. She is not putting her weight down until the leader is settling his weight down.

Unwrapping the Cruzada
This is a fun move, but requires a very high level of communication between the couple. Here we are leading her to cross her left foot in front of her right (normal cruzada) and then leading her, while still crossed, to change weight back to her right foot. Then we unwrap the left foot and exit. We can also play with the weight changes while she is crossed.

The One Step Cruzada
Here we are leading the cruzada in just one step in parallel and cross systems. This clearly shows that the cruzada is a technique rather than part of a more complex pattern. The secret here is the followers should take their free leg in the direction that she is being led.

Overarching Concepts

  • Timing - For the leaders, we must always begin leading cruzadas at the exact moment that her free leg begins moving. We want to move in the direction that we want her free leg to move in. If we wait until she is half-collected then getting the cross will be very difficult.
  • Balance - For the followers, take your free leg in the direction that you are moving in. If you do that then you should stay balanced. If he moves diagonally, but you send your leg straight back then you will find yourself tilted and off-balance.
  • Let every step have a beginning, middle, and end. Don't rush your steps and don't take super small steps.

Steps for the Social Dance Floor

This series of classes focuses on popular steps for use on the social dance floor. We have compiled a list of popular moves that we have seen used by some of the very best Argentine Tango Dancers. If you travel to Argentina and visit some of the milongas, you will see these moves being used by the Milongueros. Here are some of the criteria we used for putting together these steps:

  • They keep you moving in the line of dance without disrupting others.
  • They are musical and express the rhythm of Argentine Tango.
  • They are full of expression without being flashy or dangerous to others.
  • They feel great to the leaders and the followers.

While these moves are great for tight spaces and crowded dance floors, they also require a high degree of skill, balance and communication between partners.

Loading the player...

The Rhythm of Vals I

Vals is one of the rhythms that we dance to at Milongas (Tango Dance Parties). This class will focus on understanding the rhythm of Vals, how to incorporate your existing steps into Vals and new steps that fit nicely into Vals.

Synopsis: This class focuses on using Cross Steps in the rhythm of Vals.

Teachers: Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks

Video Demonstration:

Figures:

Dual Molinete or Giro
20 Second Mark of Video Demo
Description: All in Cross System, MBC & WBC + MOS & WOS + MFC & WFC + MOS & WOS
Tip 1: This move is usually repeated twice and works best with a quick quick (Double Time) on the MBC & WBC + MOS & MOS then slow slow on MFC & WFC + MOS & MOS.
Tip 2: After the Back Crosses and Forward Crosses both the Man and Woman collect their feet and Change Weight instead of taking real Side steps.
Tip 3: This is a very circular move, so the Man and Woman should very much step AROUND the other never stepping away from one another.
Tip 4: Do Not skimp on the Forward Crosses, take real forward steps around each other.. not tiny ones. The Man’s Forward Cross can also go deep to get a Sacada.

33 Second Mark of Video Demo
Description: MFC & WBC in Parallel System + MOS & WBC in Cross System: Man performs a MFC and the Woman a WBC and the Man collects and changes weight to his Left and pivots the Woman clockwise and perform a MOS & WBC in Cross System, The Man then collects and changes weight to his Left and REPEATS from beginning.
TIP 1: The Man always collects and changes weight to his Left on every step. He is always stepping with his Right.
TIP 2: The Man always steps with his Right on the downbeat and is double timing every step. The Woman is not changing weight with him, she is just stepping on every downbeat.

Drunken Ochos
12 Second Mark of Video Demo
Description: In all Cross System, MOS & WBC + MOS & WBC + MOS & WBC: From Back Ochos in Cross System, as the Man leads the Woman in a WBC to the Open Side of the Embrace, he takes a tiny step forward with his left turning counter clockwise 90 degrees. Then he takes a large Open Side Step (MOS) with his Right as he leads her to a WBC to the Close Side of the Embrace. REPEAT
Tip 1: This is all in Cross System and the Man and Woman are both stepping on the downbeat of the music.
Tip 2: The turn happens with the Man’s Left foot, his Right foot only goes side ways.
Tip 3: The Leader must lead ochos which require the Woman to pivot, not walking or non-pivoting ochos.

Arrepentida with a Cross Over Step. This is a very musical move and is very helpful for changing directions if you need to in order to avoid a collision with another couple.

Figures:

Figure 1: Arrepentida with a Cross Over Step
In Demo at :28 of Video Demo
In Slow motion at 2:36 of Video Demo

Step 1: The man takes a Side Step with his left and does a quick weight change to his right (double time). The woman takes a Side Step with her right. They are now in cross system.

Step 2: The man then takes a Forward Open Step with his left to the open side of the embrace and leads the woman to take a Back Cross Step with her left. His upper body is turned slightly clockwise to her.

Step 3: The man then takes a Forward Cross Step with his right to the open side of the embrace but does not complete that step, rather he rebounds off of his right as he steps back and counter-clockwise with his left. This results in a change of direction of about 180 degrees. Then he crosses his Right foot in front of his left. The woman takes a Back Open Step and then rebounds off of her right foot and takes an Open Side Step around the man with her right foot.

Step 4: The man changes weight to his right foot which is now crossed in front of his left. Both the man and woman collect.

Step 5: Repeat Step 2

Step 6: Repeat Step 3

Step 7: Repeat Step 4

Step 8: Repeat Step 2

Step 9: The man takes a Forward Cross Step with his Right and leads the woman to take a Back Open Step with her right and to perform a Forward Cruzada and to change weight to her left. The couple is back in Parallel System.

Tip: There are double times (quick-quick-slow) for the man on steps 1, 3 and 5. There is a double time for the woman at step 9.

Tip: On step 3, the man needs to contain the woman and give a lot of energy to the rebound and to bring her around in the change of direction. He does going slightly down in his right leg to get more energy from the floor for the rebound. He also makes sure not to collapse his embrace. he needs to keep his embrace solid so that she does not get behind him.

Tip: On step 3, the woman should feel the man lower in the rebound and that should be an indication of a large step coming. She will need to take a large side step around the man in order to stay in front of him.

Turn (Giro) to the Open Side of the Embrace from Cross System

Synopsis: This class focuses on a Turn to the Open Side of the Embrace starting from Cross System on the Close Side of the Embrace. As embellishments, we looked at a forward circular boleo for the woman and back cruzadas for the man when getting into and out of cross system.

Teachers: Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks

Video Demonstration:

 

Figures:

Figure 1: Turn to the open side of embrace from cross system on the close side of the embrace with back cruzadas for the man and a forward circular boleo for the woman
In Slow motion at 2:44 of Video Demo

Step 1: The man takes an open step to the side with his left leg and the woman takes an open step with her right leg. She collects while he crosses his right foot behind his left (cruzada) and changes weight. At this point, he is on his right and she is on her right so they are in cross system.

Step 2: He then takes a forward cross step to the close side of the embrace and she takes an open back step.

Step 3: He takes an open side step while she takes a back cross step. On this step, the leader relaxes the embrace and brings her perpendicular to him. The man's right shoulder and her left shoulder are connected but they do not have contact on the open side of the embrace and are at a 90 degree angle to one another. At this point, he can make slight contact with his upper right thigh to her upper right thigh and lead her to perform a boleo.

Step 4: He steps back with his left but keeps weight on both feet as he begins to turn his embrace counter-clockwise.

Step 5: As he pivots around counter-clockwise, the woman will feel slightly left behind at this point and so will take large steps around him to try to get back in front of him. To start she will take a long forward step around him with her left and he will end with his weight on his left foot.

Step 6: The woman will continue to try and get back in front of him by taking a large open side step with her right. The leader will bring his right foot behind his left and change weight.

Step 7: Same as Step 2 above.

Step 8: Same as step 3 above, but now he brings her back in front of him. They are still in cross sytem so he can exit in cross system or switch weight to return to parallel.

Tip: On step 2, the man should pivot his upper body slightly counter-clockwise to make room for stepping to the close-side of the embrace.
Tip: On step 3, the man needs to open the embrace and bring her to a 90 degree angle to him and contain her in front of him by blocking her with his right arm. He is not applying pressure with that arm but merely creating a stopping place for her so that she stays slightly in front of him.
Tip:
On Step 4, he should stay very forward in his upper body and bring her around with his embrace. Since she wants to return to the embrace and get back in front of him she will take a nice large step around him. She will not step away from him. Look at how close her left foot is to his at 2:51 of the video.
Tip: On Step 5, at the beginning of step 5 she is still not 100% back in front of him so she continues to take a large open side step. MEN: If she takes small steps on 4 and 5 and is slightly to your right then you might want to stay on your left and exit to the open side of the embrace in parallel system.

Variations:

SIMPLEST VERSION OF THIS MOVE
At 23 second mark of Video
Figure 2: Same as Figure 1 only the leader does not perform the back cruzadas and they exit simply in parallel system.

Figure 3: Same as Figure 1 only the leader does not perform the back cruzadas, he simply changes weight.
At 16 second mark of Video

Barrida to Cruzada with Different Exits

A Barrida (a sweep, a drag) is the dragging of a partner’s free leg during a Caminata (walk) or Giro (turn).

Teachers: Clint Rauscher & Shelley Brooks

In this class, we looked at executing a barrida (Sweep) to a front cruzada (Cross) with different exists.

Step 1: Barrida to Cruzada with giro (turn) to the Open Side of the Embrace

  1. We take a side open step to the open side of the embrace. As the man transfers his weight to his left leg, he initiates a barrida with is right foot. To initiate the barrida, he applies a little pressure to her left foot with his right foot and she returns that pressure which allows her to follow his foot past the collection point and to the other side of her foot creating the front cruzada.
  2. Now he transfers his weight slightly to his right foot which leads her to put weight onto her left foot.
  3. Then he transfers his weight slightly to his left and begins turning counter clockwish which leads her to begin a side step around him. As she begins her open side step around him, he performs a low forward sacada with his right leg.
  4. As fully commits to his right and continues the counter clock wise turn which results in a basic giro for her (back side cross).

Step 2: Barrida to Cruzada with Foot Lift during Barrida and Exit in Cross System to Front Cruzada

  1. During the Barrida, the woman's foot should be symbolically glued to the man's foot, so if he lifts his foot she should go with his foot.
  2. After the Sacada, we are in cross system, so we simply exit to a basic cruzada in cross system.

Step 3: Barrida to Cruzada to Volcada with Gancho

This move seems so simply, but it actually includes many advanced ideas of Tango. It actually includes (in order): Barrida, Front Cruzada, Colgada,  Volcada, Gancho, Colgada, Back Cruzada, Volcada.

  1. The first two steps are the same as above, a barrida to a front cruzada
  2. But as I lead the front cruzada, I actually invade her space very slightly to send her into a very very slight colgada (Off-Axis Hang) as I bring her bring her around in a circular counter clockwise motion back forward into a Volcada. I keep the circular motion going until I get a gancho.
  3. After the gancho, I reverse the circular motion to go clockwise and send her back past her axis to a very slight colgada. Again I keep the circular motion going and then bring her forward again to get a back cruzada.
  4. I keep bringing her forward after the back cruzada into another slight volcada... just enough to free her left foot.