Home > Tango Resources > Tangology 101 Blog

Category: Tango Classes


....

La Pista y La Ronda

Very nice and simple graphic illustrating some of the key elements of good floorcraft for dancing Argentine Tango. There are more complex illustrations out there and feel free to post them below, but I do like the simplicity of this one.

La Pista translates loosely to "the dance floor." Another commonly used term is La Ronda (The Round) which is more closely related to "the line of dance." In other words, we dance in the line of dance (La Ronda) on the dance floor (La Pista). But these terms can be used interchangeably.

For newer (and not so new) dancers, the main things to notice in this illustration are:

  1. There is an outer lane, an inner lane, and the center of the dance floor. Generally, better dancers dance in the outer lane, but may sometimes use the inner lane as well, but rarely the center of the floor. It should be noted, that not all dance floors are large enough for these 3 areas. For example, at our milongas (Plaka and 57th), there is really only room enough for an outer lane and a center of the dance floor.
  2. The outer lane should be wider than what is represented in the illustration. My opinion is that it should be approximately two body widths. You do need room to move a little sideways to execute ochos and basic turns. So, the inner lane or those dancing in the center, should not crowd the outer lane. Too often, dancers straddle the outer and inner lanes.
  3. Dancers should stay in their lane during an entire song. If you are forced from the outer lane into the middle lane, you should stay there until the song ends and only then move back to the outer lane. It is considered very bad manners to constantly switch lanes during a song.
  4. Dancers should generally enter the dance floor at the corner's, unless it is an oddly shaped dance floor. Leader's entering the floor should attempt to make eye contact with the leader that they are entering the floor in front of. That leader should then nod or indicate approval for the couple to enter the floor in front of them. You do not have to do this if there is plenty of room for you to enter the dance floor without getting in anyone's way, but this is rarely the case on a crowded dance floor. This also means that leader's need to have their heads up when dancing and paying attention, especially when near a corner, so that they can acknowledge couples wanting to enter La Ronda. (Organizers: Do not put tables in the corner, that is where people need to cue up to enter the dance floor.)
  5. Avoid going backwards against the line of dance. A small back step is generally acceptable, but it should be small and preferably after you have first moved forward. What is unacceptable is taking large or multiple back steps against the line of dance. It is especially unacceptable for leaders to be facing against the line of dance and moving forward. I often say that the leader behind me should never be able to focus on my face. The only time he sees my face should be as it is in motion turning. It should never stop and move towards him.
  6. This is not in the illustration, but is one that I see more and more. Do not walk across the dance floor if people have already started dancing. Organizers can help with this by making sure that there is space behind the tables for walking, if at all possible.

Click here for more about Floorcraft and General Milonga Etiquette.

Creative Weight Change Part 1 with Cruzada and Parada

Teachers: Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks
Song: Solamente Ella by Carlos di Sarli with Jorge Durán 1945
More at: Tangology101.com

The main focus of this class is the idea of having the follower change weight in order to enter into cross system rather than the leader and dancing slowly and elegantly with women taking an active role. Then we added a short figure including a cruzada (cross), with a parada (stop) mordida (bite).  

Milonga con Traspié

In this week's class, we focused on milonga con traspié. We had several people stay after class, because they were so excited about milonga... so we ended up running out of time to do the instructional part of the video... we will try to do one next week for this class.. but here are some highlights in text:

 

We started with more milonga basics of keeping the simple, regular time rhythm of 1, 2, 1, 2 by changing weight.

With all of these steps, we focus on:

* keeping the rhythm. Both the man and woman are responsible for holding the rhythm.

* staying relaxed and trying to release any tension in the embrace and especially in our hips and legs. This will help with quickly switching weight.

* precision footwork by bringing our feet completely together when we can.

* mixing dancing to the single, regular time rhythm and dancing double time. In my opinion, lots of people look like they are just running around the dance floor during milonga, because they are trying to dance double time the whole time. I prefer dancing in regular time and using double time more sparringly.

:07 to :16
Then we step outside partner, bringing out feet together and changing weight to the rhythm. Then we step back and change weight to the rhythm and repeat.

:17 to :21
Then we step outside partner, bring our feet together, change weight and immediately step back, change weight and back forward outside partner and repeat.


:25 - Traspié to the Side
There is a lot of confusion over the term traspie. Some think of it as a stumble step or as dancing in double time (quick-quick). While these are partly true, I think a more accurate definition is using the same leg twice. Some say it comes from the term "pie detras" which means "foot behind." I think this is a very accurate description of what happens.

We start the side traspié by stepping outside partner with our right, then we take a step to the side with our left and then forward AGAIN with the our left, leaving the right foot behind. So, we use our left to step to the side and then re-use it again to step forward.

We can also think of traspié as rebotes (rebounds) or arrepentidas (repents). We often do traspiés in double time or as syncopated steps, but that is not what defines a traspié. But do keep in mind that when some teachers talk about traspié they are using it as a synonym for double time or syncopation.

:44 - Here I step back and then perform a side traspie and back to collection. Then I take a forward step and another side traspie and back to collection. Then immediately to a back traspie and continue back.

1:36 - Mix n' Match Traspiés
Here we do a string of traspiés forward, side and back for both the leader and the follower. You can see here that we can mix and match the traspiés. I can do forward while she does back or we can both go forward or both go back etc.